Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • In this American English pronunciation

  • video, were going to learn how to

  • pronounce the schwa vowel sound.

  • This vowel is always unstressed. The

  • mouth position is a lot like the UH as in

  • BUTTER vowel, but that vowel can be

  • and usually is stressed. But just like that

  • vowel, everything in your lips, jaw, and

  • neck should be relaxed for this sound.

  • Just slightly drop your jaw to make this

  • sound. The trick is to keep everything

  • else relaxed.

  • Let’s look at the vowel up close and in

  • slow motion.

  • It’s possible to make this sound on its

  • own with just the slightest jaw drop. But

  • in actual words, you will likely see a bit

  • more jaw drop, like here, on the word

  • sofa’. Lips relaxed, cheeks relaxed,

  • tongue forward and relaxed.

  • As I said, this vowel can only be in an

  • unstressed syllable. All other vowel and

  • diphthong sounds can either be stressed

  • or unstressed. So the schwa will always

  • be really fast and low in pitch. Uh, uh.

  • Sofa, uh. Ability, uh.

  • The schwa goes with the syllabic

  • consonants L, M, N, and R. That means

  • when you have a syllable with a schwa

  • followed by one of these consonants, you

  • don’t need to make the schwa. It gets

  • absorbed by the next sound. For

  • example, the wordfather’: th-rr, th-rr.

  • Just go from the TH sound right into the

  • R sound without trying to make a

  • separate schwa. Father, -ther.

  • The schwa: always unstressed. Uh, sofa,

  • uh, uh, ability, uh.

  • Example words. Repeat with me:

  • Allow, extra, data, again, visa, about.

  • I hope this video helps you understand

  • this sound. That’s it, and thanks so much

  • for using Rachel’s English.

In this American English pronunciation

Subtitles and vocabulary

Click the word to look it up Click the word to find further inforamtion about it