Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Speak Quickly & Naturally with the SCHWA SOUND /ə/

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It's not a word. It's a sound.

And I know what you're thinking.

What the hell is the schwa sound?!?!

First, I'd like to welcome you to our global classroom.

And remind you to subscribe to our channel

if you enjoy learning and practicing English.

And, for additional practice, check us out on social media.

We won't disappoint!

Now let's talk about the schwa sound. It is everywhere.

Look at the sentence I just said.


The schwa sound, which looks like an upside down "e" in

the international phonetic alphabet, is an extremely important sound.

Because it is the most common sound in the English language.

It first came about in the early 19th century

by a German linguist who used this symbol

to represent the way people actually spoke.

So how do English speakers feel about the schwa sound?

We love it!

Before we practice the schwa sound, we need to understand what it is.

The schwa sound is an unstressed vowel sound

that often has the /uh/ sound.

Now it's important to note that you only

hear the schwa sound in unstressed syllables.

You probably hear this sound all the time and you don't even notice.

Here are some examples. Listen to these words that

have the schwa sound at the beginning.

Remember, the first syllable of these words is unstressed.

But the schwa can come at the end of a word as well.


Some words even have it multiple times.

Look at the word "banana."

It has three syllables, and the first

and last syllable have the unstressed schwa sound.

I told you! It is everywhere.

And the schwa sound is not just for the letter "a".

Any unstressed vowel can be pronounced with the schwa sound.


Learning and understanding the schwa can be very useful.

When it comes to listening, you'll be able to better

understand what people say.

This is because native English speakers

often reduce their words and sentences with the schwa.

You wouldn't really hear a native speaker say...

and emphasize each word.

That's maybe how a teacher might say it in the classroom.

Instead, you'd hear a native speaker say...

Did you hear how many time I said the schwa sound?

Listen again. I'll say it a little slower.

You can't say it too slow because the whole idea

about the schwa is you're reducing those unstressed sounds.

The words "Why," "learn," and "English" are easy to hear.

But the words in the middle...

get reduced.

Now the other reason why the schwa sound is important

is because of pronunciation.

When you learn and understand the schwa sound,

you'll be able to speak more fluidly

just as a native speaker would.

And you may even feel like a more confident speaker as well.

You'll be able to speak and have conversations

without focusing on every individual word.

And also when it comes to reading, you'll be able to

read in the same way that people would actually speak.

So what I'd like to do now is practice your pronunciation

with words and sentences that have the schwa sound.

First, let's start with some words.

I'll show you a word and highlight the schwa sound in red.

All you have to do is say it!

Remember, the schwa sound has that /uh/ sound.

I'll show you the word, and then Ioana will give you the pronunciation.

Ready? Here we go!

Alright! Now let's practice with some sentences.

I'll give you a sentence and highlight the schwa sound in red.

Remember, a lot of times articles and prepositions

get reduced with the schwa sound.

So practice saying these sentences as a native speaker would.

Let's begin!

Excellent job today! I'd suggest watching the video

again if you'd like a little more practice.

But hopefully this will help you become a more capable and confident speaker.

Please give the video a thumbs up if you feel like you

learned something new today about the schwa sound.

And remember to subscribe to our channel if you enjoy

practicing and improving your English skills.

We'll see you next time!

The Description of Speak Quickly & Naturally with the SCHWA SOUND /ə/