What is the Schwa Sound?

schwaWhat is the Schwa Sound?

If you are asking this question you already know something about the rules of spoken English. Good for YOU!!  ☆

Let’s talk for a moment about this VERY COMMON sound.

Spoken British & American English have a little vowel sound that most people have never heard of.

This little sound is called the schwa sound.


The Schwa Symbol

The schwa SYMBOL looks like this /ə/. You’ll see this symbol when you look up a word in the dictionary.

The schwa symbol is used to represent vowels that have a reduced sound.


The Schwa Sound

The schwa SOUND is a relaxed “uh”. We call schwa a reduced vowel sound.

You can listen to the schwa sound at  this excellent website  from the BBC.

The schwa vowel sound.


Why Do I Need to Know About the Schwa Sound?

Why do I need to know about the schwa sound. Especially since no one ever talks about it?

This is why~

When native English speakers talk, they stress some vowel sounds and reduce others.

This STRESSreduceSTRESSreduce pattern helps create the rhythm of English words & sentences. ♬


Avoid Choppy Speech

If you DON’t use the schwa sound to help you reduce some vowels, your spoken English will sound choppy and over-pronounced.

This type of choppy, over-pronounced speech creates a “foreign accent” that can be troublesome for native speakers to understand!


Learn More

I teach you how to use the schwa vowel sound in my iBook, American Accent Fundamentals.  You can see that (and get a sample chapter) at the iBookstore.

American Accent Fundamentals - Susan M. Ryan

Remember…the schwa vowel sound is the most common spoken sound in English.✔

You absolutely must use this sound if you want to speak American English more clearly.