I've wondered this for a while now but never thought to ask it until now. With regards to the い sound in Japanese, I understand that it's pronounced like a sort of shorter version of the e sound in "eat" or "free". Despite this, in words where there's an い sound somewhere in the word, and then another at the end, I pronounce the first like the i sound in "pit", and then the following as previously mentioned.
To give an example, I pronounce しち as "shih-chee", rather than "shee-chee", and something like き as just "kee". I don't know anything about phonetic symbols unfortunately, so this is as close as I can get it.
My question is, is this normal, or should I be pronouncing the sound more consistently with the "ea" or "ee" sound in English?
Edit: After posting this I kept thinking of discrepancies in my pronunciation of the sound, like not being decided on how to pronounce words like 気分 (either "kee-bun" or "ki-bun" ), how I'd pronounce elongated い sounds as the "ee" sound, regardless of where it is in the word, or how I pronounce 人 as "hee-toh", despite the sound not being at the end.