The sound of phonetic symbol upsidedown of - e

by Tanvir

Could you tell me what the sound of the phonetic symbol that looks like upside-down of the letter-e? How should I pronounce this symbol when I get it. I read somewhere that it sounds like a short - "a" sound. How does it sound actually?

Charles will answer your question shortly Tanvir. :)

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Comments for The sound of phonetic symbol upsidedown of - e

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Sep 13, 2010
/ ə/
by: Anonymous

This symbol /ə/ also known as "the schwa" is an extremely common and important sound in English.

It represents the most neutral vowel in the English sound system. When we say /ə/, our tongue is central and relaxed. No muscular contraction is going on.

/ə/ appears in words such as "but" "must" "some" "come" and "young."

As you can see, it is spelled a few different ways but is usually represented by the letter (u).

Furthermore /ə/ is used when a vowel falls on an unstressed syllable. Almost any vowel letter can be reduced to the /ə/ sound.
For example: "about" -Letter (a) is pronounced /ə/.

"Common" - second (o) is pronounced /ə/
"balloon"- (a) is pronounced ə

ə is not /a/!

The words lock /ak/ and luck /lək/ are pronounced differently. They are close in sound but very different to an American speaker!!
Students often confuse /ə/ with /a/.

To correct this problem, and learn more about /ə/ you should try "Best Accent Training mp3s."

I believe it is the best self study course for learning how to pronounce English clearly and correctly with a standard American accent. See what Diana has to say about it here.

It has many good exercises about /ə/ and /a/.

Charles Becker
Accent Reduction Specialist

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