The vowel sound /ә/ is known as the schwa sound. It is a mid-central vowel sound that is represented by the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbol /ә/. The schwa sound is found in various languages, including English.

In English, the schwa sound is considered a reduced vowel and is the most common vowel sound. It is often found in unstressed syllables and can be heard in words like “about,” “ago,” “sofa,” “banana,” and many others. The schwa sound is generally a relaxed and neutral vowel sound, and its pronunciation can vary depending on regional accents and contexts.

One characteristic of the schwa sound is its tendency to occur in weak syllables, such as unstressed syllables or function words like articles, prepositions, and pronouns. This vowel sound helps in the process of reducing and simplifying the pronunciation of these less prominent syllables in connected speech.

It’s worth noting that the schwa sound can be represented by different vowel letters or combinations, such as “a” in “about,” “e” in “taken,” “o” in “lemon,” or even unstressed “i” in “pencil.”

Remember that the pronunciation of vowels can vary depending on dialects and accents, so the specific realization of the schwa sound may differ slightly based on the speaker’s native language or regional speech patterns.

This sound is a neutral vowel. It is used to represent the weak form of other vowel sounds. It is also used when a sound is a combination of a vowel and a consonant e.g. water /wᴐ:tӘ/.

The vowel is a short version of the /ӡ:/ sound (vowel number eleven). One peculiar feature of this vowel is that it is always found in unstressed syllables. That is, it never has any stress wherever of occurs.

Examples are: – common spelling of /Ә/ sound (i) initial position e.g. agree, about, alone (ii) middle position e.g. comfort, contain, column (iii) final position e.g. measure, Africa, sailor


Transcribe the following words and identify the vowel /Ә/ (i) manner (ii) library (iii) other (iv) Wonder (v) forward


Transcribe the following words and identify the vowel /Ә/ (i) backward (ii) harder (iii) sector (iv) failure (v) potato (vii) captor (viii) quiet.

See also



VOWEL /ᴐ:/ AND /ᴐ/



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