Currently working on my pronunciation and am trying to get it right from the get-go because I know how hard it is to overwrite bad pronunciation habits.
My question revolves around the "ai," "ais," "ait," and "aient" letter combinations and if it's pronounced as è or é (or ɛ vs e using IPA). I found this great article on Lawless French (link below) talking about how the distinction is strongest in Parisian French and not so much otherwise (I'm assuming its very regional and depends on ones upbringing). I get the difference between the verb tenses the article talks about (the difference between future, passé simple, conditional, and imperfect).
What I still hear most of the time in words like lait, anglais, frais is speakers preferring the "e" sound, not ɛ. I've even noticed that in verbs ending in ais, ait, aient, (ie. était, avaient) that they tend to lean towards an "e" sound. Both of these cases should be ɛ according to my dictionaries with IPA and the article.
Should i just go ahead and get into the habit of leaning towards the "e" sound in these cases? I'm totally fine with that and I like the sound a little better, but I just want to get into what sounds the most French (again, I understand there is going to be a whole scale of variability here). Just want to build those good habits.
Appreciate any and all feedback!
Here is the link to the article. https://www.lawlessfrench.com/pronunciation/ai/