“You’ve got to be kidding me!” some might exclaim.
“That’s a lie!” others might say.
Or, there may be some who would remain quiet, save for raised eyebrows.
Please, don’t judge so quickly. Explore and you might discover a thing or two.
So, what do I mean, anyway? Schwa sound. It is the most common sound in the English language, yet, I have noticed, the most ignored. Ironically, though, schwa sound is barely there; this might be the reason why it is oftentimes overlooked.
There are two types of schwa sounds.
One for the stressed syllable;/ ɜ/,
and the other for the unstressed; /ə/,
but they only differ in the IPA; the sound remains the same.
Almost every suffix is pronounced with schwa as well as almost all the unstressed syllables in words or unstressed words in phrases or sentences. In other words, in the word “sophisticated” only one (1) syllable is pronounced based on its IPA; that is the stressed syllable …”-ca /kei/..” and the rest schwa; as in /sə-fəs-tə-kei -təd/. Pronunciation made easy!
When you take a listening practice test for TOIEC, more often than not, you don’t hear the “little” words like “of”, “from”, “with”, the articles “a, an, the”, and many more. Master schwa, then, listen for yourself. Listening made easy!
Now, let’s get a little serious. Please remember that pronunciation is a skill. That means, it is not like memorizing one hundred words in two hours, and after that you can use them. This skill requires intensive practice and long patience. Thus,both the learner and teacher must be very devoted and patient.
This may sound like a hard work, but I can assure you it is a piece of cake for a seasoned teacher!