The Schwa Sound Diagram and Explanation

The Schwa Sound

The schwa is the simplest vowel sound that you can make. Relax your mouth, let air out and that’s it. It is equivalent to the U sound in the word up

The schwa has a special place in phonetics because of its simplicity. If a vowel sound gets reduced, espeically because it is not stressed, it usually becomes a schwa sound. Many common words also have a schwa sound. Basically, people said the words over and over again, and eventually, the original vowel sound changed into the simple schwa sound. Here are some examples.

Common words with a schwa soundfront, come, some, was, does, other, mother, brother, another, country, young, color, among, above, word, work

Examples of the schwa sound on the unstressed syllablejealous, appeal, apply, tradition, contain, correct, effort, recognize

You will notice that the A and O spellings often reduce to a schwa sound. We say “reduce” because the schwa occurs in common words and on unstressed syllables. People speak quickly, and the sound lessens to a schwa as time passes.

The Short U of American English is the schwa sound, so if you see a short word with a simple U sound, it is the schwa.

Schwa with the simple U spelling (no silent vowel nearby)up, under, but, just, such, must, fund, junk

Overall: Remember that the schwa can occur with any spelling, especially on unstressed syllables in longer words.
750 Business WordsSchwa Sound Main Page
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