Meet Mr. Schwa Sound


Manage episode 301318920 series 2931064
By Ollie says listen up!. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

The most common vowel sound in English is called "schwa". It is the sound we commonly use in unaccented syllables.
In the international phonetic alphabet (IPA), the schwa sound is
written with an upside down letter 'e' like this: /ə/
I think of it as being an 'uh' sound. By coincidence this sound is in the word "syllables":
/ ˈsɪləbəlz/ - in this word the stress is on the first syllable and the next two syllables both contain the schwa sound.
The word "international" contains the schwa sound three times:
It's in the second syllable—er—and in the final two syllables: spelled "tional" but pronounced 'shunul', more or less.
I'm not going to try to teach you the international phonetic alphabet in a podcast, but I suggest you play with it. It can be a very useful tool for learning any foreign language. If you go to this website:
you can put in any English word or sentence, choose whether you want to see a phonetic transcription for American English or British English, study the transcription, and also hear the word or sentence read by a computer voice.
Start with short simple words like "he" and "she" and "day" and "night" and "hello" and "goodbye" and see what symbols are used to represent the sounds. It's fun, interesting, and useful.
[For example, you can use this website to see if the vowels in these words are all pronounced the same: "and, cat, band, man, hat"]
/ænd kæt bænd mæn hæt/
Now you try it with "horse, house, hearse" or "pit, pat, pot"
Okay, now let's practice the schwa sound.
/lɛts kənˈtɪnju ðɪs ˌkɑnvərˈseɪʃən ˈleɪtər/
Let's continue this conversation later.
/maɪ ˈhʌzbənd ɪz ɪmˈpɑsəbəl/
My husband is impossible.
/wir ɪn ðə ˈmɪdəl ʌv ən ɪnˌvɛstəˈgeɪʃən./
We're in the middle of an investigation.
/ðɛrz tu mʌʧ ˌkɑmpəˈtɪʃən ɪn ˈaʊər ˌjunəˈvɜrsəti./
There's too much competition in our university.
5. /aɪ wʊd laɪk tə faɪnd ɛmˈplɔɪmənt ɪn ən ˌɪntərˈnæʃənəl ˌɛʤəˈkeɪʃənəl ˌɪnstəˈtuʃən./
I would like to find employment in an international educational institution.
6. /bɪˈkɔz ʌv ˈaʊər riˈleɪʃənˌʃɪp, aɪ fil sʌm riˌspɑnsəˈbɪləti fɔr jʊər ˌsɪʧuˈeɪʃən./
Because of our relationship, I feel some responsibility for your situation.
Remember deepL is a good site for translations. If you search the internet for "how to pronounce schwa" you'll find lots of youtube videos to watch. Here's one to start with.

Intro & Outro Music: La Pompe Du Trompe by Shane Ivers -

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