American English Pronunciation-The Schwa Vowel Sound

Many of you have been searching for information about the schwa vowel sound.

If you are aware of this sound, good for you! It means you already know something very important about American English pronunciation! ☆

Below is a brief description of the schwa vowel sound. ⬇


The schwa sound is the most common vowel sound in American English. The schwa sounds like an “uh”. It is pronounced with the tongue & face very relaxed.

The IPA symbol for the schwa sound is /ə/.

Why is this little “uh” sound so important? Let me explain~

In spoken American English the vowels in stressed syllables have a long clear sound.

In contrast…the vowels in unstressed syllables are usually reduced. They are said quickly with a low pitch.

Often, the vowel sounds in unstressed syllables are so reduced… that they sound like “uh” or schwa /ə/.

The combination of stressed syllables with long clear vowel sounds + reduced syllables with the schwa vowel sound create a distinct pattern in spoken words. ☆

Americans listen for these stress patterns. It enables them to identify words.  ✔

Below, I’ve typed a few words with the schwa sound. The → means to lengthen the stressed vowel sound.

advA→nǝ ʤəz




Did you recognize the words? I’m sure that you did…but just in case… the words are:

  • advantages
  • technological
  • organization


I teach you how to use the schwa vowel sound and speak with the correct stress patterns of spoken English in my iBook titled American Accent Fundamentals.

You can DOWNLOAD a sample chapter of the iBook for no cost at the link here.
American Accent Fundamentals - Susan M. Ryan


The American Accent Fundamentals iBook is available for iPad users in 50 countries in North America, South America & Europe.

Unfortunately Apple does not currently offer iBook store access in Asia!! When it’s available in Asia, I’ll post about that here.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you learned something NEW!


There are MORE TIPS in for you below if you want to keep on learning⬇