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 sound: front, come, some, was, does, other, mother, brother, another, country, young, color, among, above, word, work
Examples of the schwa sound on the unstressed syllable: jealous, 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 Words||Schwa Sound Main Page|
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