As a native French speaker, I used to pronounce the end of all the English words ending in “-ey” as [eɪ] instead of [i]. Most noticeably, such of those words that are directly used in French are almost automatically mispronounced as ending in [eɪ] by even good English French speakers: hockey, jockey, (silicon) valley… or proper nouns: McCartney, Surrey…
I came to realise my mistake here years ago and then proceeded to learn to pronounce those words with an [i] instead consistently.
However, a simple word: “survey”. The recommended pronunciation is [ˈs3ːrveɪ], which holds the previous rule off. I also found “grey” or “prey” to work.
Are there other such words? And more importantly: why are they not pronounced [i]? An etymological reason maybe?
Can a rule be drawn to learn how to pronounce them?
Other words pronounced like ‘survey’ are ‘convey’ and ‘purvey’ (an old-fashioned verb meaning sell). “Drey”, “whey” and “Hey!”, as in “Hey Jude”, also rhyme with grey and prey.
A rule that seems more or less to work is that the “ay” sound is used in single syllable “ey” words or words ending in “ey” in which the stress is on the last syllable, but the ee sound is used if the stress is on a previous syllable. This works for ‘survey’ as a verb but not for ‘survey’ as a noun, and there are doubtless more exceptions. I’ve just thought of one: key.