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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: The Schwa Sound in Daily British Pronunciation

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the schwa sound arguably the most

important sound to British English

some say it's 30 to 35 percent of

British pronunciation in southern RP or

modern contemporary RP which is what I

teach so today I'm giving you some of

the most common words the words we use

the most in daily English involving the

schwa sound oh that's the sound by the

way I'm not just making strange noises


hello everybody it's me Elliot from ETJ

English I hope you've been doing well so

as I said the schwa sound it's really

really important to British English and

we use it in many different situations

at the end of words the beginning of

words in the middle of words and we use

it to replace vowels weak forms or

function words so it's probably the most

important part of my job to teach my

students how to use the schwa sound so

I'm going to give you a little bit of

information today if you need more

information and you want to master the

British accent then obviously there is

an online course of mine which you can

join and talk to me directly with

voice-messaging on whatsapp but in this

lesson we're going to do a brief

overview and learn some of the most

important words in British English

involving the schwa so firstly how do we

pronounce the schwa sound well it's very

very simple actually it's the most

relaxed sound in British English all we

do is open the mouth in a very relaxed

way like this tongue in the middle of

the mouth not really doing anything just

forget about your tongue it should be

just relaxed in the middle of your mouth

not too far forwards not too far back

not too high not too low relaxed be

relaxed like the schwa and the sound is

a copy after me so let's try it at the

beginning of words first just so that we

can understand how to join from the

sound into consonants for example

about about so as you can imagine this

is a very common word in British English

we say it quite a lot and we're starting

with the schwa sound now the first thing

to remember a syllable with the schwa

sound is not stressed so because this

word is two syllables

about that means that the second

syllable is going to be stressed because

the schwa is at the beginning about

about about the British accent we're

learning we never pronounce the letter R

at the end of words so that means we're

going to just pronounce a at the end now

anytime you have an e at the end of a

word for example doctor teacher

adventure there's always an up at the

end in North American English you would

hear her most of the time so teacher

let's try some more words where the

schwa is at the end and don't forget

we're not pronouncing the are at the end

of the word there's no it's just a

whatever whatever whatever or never

sometimes we say never ever never ever

what I like to call my evening meal so

the big meal I have in the evening

dinner dear no dinner but we also have

the schwa sound in the name of the meal

that we have in the morning what's that

called it's called breakfast Breck first

foot foot first

now this is difficult because we have a

consonant cluster at the end which comes

after the schwa and then we have so

what's happening here is we're going

from an s into a T what you need to do

is create yes and then cut the S out

with a quick T

breakfast breakfast uh first breakfast

my favorite meals of the day are

breakfast and dinner how about the word

understand can you guess where the schwa

sound is in this word and stand

understand oh is it the schwa sound so

it must be in the middle of the word

understand now we could add another

schwa sound into this word and say

understandably doubly understandably

understandably and this is a great tip

when you say the schwa faster it sounds

better now the reason why is because the

schwa is not stressed it's a very very

relaxed vowel and it only appears in

unstressed syllables so it's good to say

it fast understandably okay when you say

it nice and fast it sounds better now

please don't get the schwa confused with

the sound at the beginning of this word

under so we have up and we have up for

the up sound we're opening the mouth a

little bit more and the tongue is

curling slightly so it's becoming an a

instead of than under under ah okay

slight difference there

how about the word definitely definitely

definitely so oh definitely

now I'm not producing the T after the

schwa sound so I'm saying definitely but

it's okay to say definitely if you

prefer to pronounce the T either or is

okay but when we're talking fast

generally that T might be dropped in

this word and it will become definitely

rather than definitely but you can do

either and remember the schwa sound oh


oh but now the most important part and

for me this is where this 30 to 35

percent of the schwa sound appears in

weak forms so how do we pronounce this


- but if the word is not important in

our sentence if it's what we would call

a function word we would pronounce it as

- for example I went to school to school

we don't say to school usually we will

pronounce the - is - because it's not

stressed in our sentence so we're going

to relax it it's just a grammar word

it's not really important so instead of

saying I went to school we might say I

went to school to school what about this

word so we might say now usually it's

pronounced as for in its strong form but

we could pronounce it as fer with the

schwa sound so F and then just a schwa


so let's try the schwa a few times in

this sentence I had pasta uh at the end

of pasta I had pasta for dinner

fer schwa sound dinner we've already

learned that I had pasta for dinner I

had pasta for dinner so what about the

word here V right that's how we would

pronounce it before a vowel so if the

next word begins with a vowel the earth

the Apple for example but if we have

this word before a consonant we

pronounce it as the again th and then

schwa so this is tricky

get your tongue between your teeth and

then just open your mouth and relax your

tongue push your back slightly


the dog the cat actually where is my cat

the word you yes that's right the word

you can be pronounced as yeah where do

you want to go later where do you even

Do's being pronounced with the schwa

sound here where do you want to go later

so where do ya do you want to go later

four times four four four times we're

having the schwa sound there where do

you want to go later

so the schweiz everywhere okay and that

is my final point the schwa is

everywhere this lesson has only touched

the tip of the iceberg right so if you

need to learn more about the schwa you

definitely need some training because as

I said we need to understand when we do

and when we don't pronounce it there are

specific rules which you can learn and

those are all available in my course and

of course you can ask me questions

whenever you want if you join my course

through voice messaging and text

messaging on WeChat or whatsapp whenever

you want it's a British pronunciation

accent course that's what I am a

specialist in that field and it will

train you to reduce your accent and

replace it with an accent basically the

same as mine a contemporary Southern RP

British accent so if you're interested

you can click the link in the

description below and join my course and

I'm really looking forward to meeting

some of you who joined other than that

I've make videos here for free on


they're here to help you with your

pronunciation as much as I can outside

of my real teaching time with my

students in my course so thank you

everyone who has been supporting this

channel and giving me feedback now I

have a question for you how many words

can you list in the comments below which

include the schwa sound I want to see I

want us to have the best list ever in

this comment section of words involving

the schwa sound give me as many as you

can and we will see if we can make one

big list which perhaps I'll give you in

a future lesson there you go perhaps

it's everywhere per perhaps I need to


just remember the schwa is always

chilled out it's always relaxed it's

laid-back so if you are struggling with

pronouncing it just remember you just

need to have no stress chill out

be cool like the schwa and idea that

sounded really cheesy thanks very much

for watching guys I will see you next

time take care bye


The Description of The Schwa Sound in Daily British Pronunciation