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  1. #1
    LordJenkins is offline Newbie
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    Default Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Hi guys, just wondering why schwa is used in RP for words such as winner, under, yorkshire etc... instead of [ɜː]?

    [ɜː] makes more sense to me lol

  2. #2
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Quote Originally Posted by LordJenkins View Post
    Hi guys, just wondering why schwa is used in RP for words such as winner, under, yorkshire etc... instead of [ɜː]?

    [ɜː] makes more sense to me lol
    Pronunciation is not a matter of sense - it's just what we do. As a very broad generalisation, English happens to be more of a stress-timed than a syllable-timed language. Many of the vowels in unstressed syllables become schwa. That's the way it is.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Iīd like to add that /ə/ occurs only in unaccented syllables, whereas /ɜ:/ can occur in syllables carrying primary or secondary accent.

    Letīs take "winner" and "worker" as examples:

    /ˈwɪn.ə/

    /ˈwɜː.kə /
    Last edited by mara_ce; 28-Mar-2011 at 02:52.

  4. #4
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    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Quote Originally Posted by LordJenkins View Post
    Hi guys, just wondering why schwa is used in RP for words such as winner, under, yorkshire etc... instead of [ɜː]?

    [ɜː] makes more sense to me lol
    Actually, spoken English has the strangest phenomenon: vowel simplification. We pronounce about 55% of our vowels as "the schwa" in a movement I call the "lazy vowel."

    It is the main reason English speakers tend to do so badly in foreign languages, until they can overcome the habit.

    Compare:
    Spanish: "internacional" : [in ter na sjo 'nal]
    English: "international" : /ˌɪn.təˈnæʃ.ən.əl//-t ̬ɚ-/

    In Spanish, all five vowels receive their full pronunciation with their nominal quality. In English, only two do.

    Another:
    Spanish: "America" : [a me ri ka]
    English: "America" as pronounced by George Bush: /əm 'er ək ə/
    Again, all vowels are fully formed in Spanish, but one of the four is in English.

    Your example is just another instance of vowel simplification, our lazy vowel phenomenon.

  5. #5
    Buddhaheart is offline Member
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    Default Re: Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Quote Originally Posted by LordJenkins View Post
    Hi guys, just wondering why schwa is used in RP for words such as winner, under, yorkshire etc... instead of [ɜː]?

    [ɜː] makes more sense to me lol
    In US & Canada, "worker" is usually pronounced as /Nwɜ+r.kər/ & "winner" as /Nwɪn.ər/. That is, we do pronounce the retroflex /r/.

    The schwa /ə/ is also called the "reduced vowel."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Quote Originally Posted by mara_ce View Post
    Iīd like to add that /ə/ occurs only mostly in unaccented syllables, whereas /ɜ:/ can occur in syllables carrying primary or secondary accent.

    Letīs take "winner" and "worker" as examples:

    /ˈwɪn.ə/

    /ˈwɜː.kə /
    H.

  7. #7
    mara_ce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Hi, riquecohen.

    Personally, I havenīt seen /ə/ in accented syllables. (Iīm not referring to diphthongs)

    Gimsonīs Pronunciation of English uses the word “only” when it compares /ə/ with /ɜ:/.

  8. #8
    riquecohen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Hi Mara-
    I haven't been able to find any citations to support my claim. I'll try checking some other sources tomorrow.

    I haven't found any source that supports my comment. A search has revealed adverbs such as frequently, mostly, typically and usuallly when applying the schwa to unstressed syllables, but no concrete examples of the schwa sound occurring in stressed syllables. So, I concede to always.
    Last edited by riquecohen; 11-Apr-2011 at 13:42. Reason: New paragraph.

  9. #9
    Learner91 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhaheart View Post
    In US & Canada, "worker" is usually pronounced as /Nwɜ+r.kər/ & "winner" as /Nwɪn.ər/. That is, we do pronounce the retroflex /r/.

    The schwa /ə/ is also called the "reduced vowel."
    u beat me to it.in american english,d R sound is always pronounced

  10. #10
    riquecohen's Avatar
    riquecohen is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Why do we use schwa for words like Winner instead of...

    Quote Originally Posted by Learner91 View Post
    u beat me to it.in american english,d R sound is always pronounced Not always. Buddhaheart said usually; he is correct.
    What kind of English is this?
    This is a forum to discuss various aspects of the English language. Please try to use proper punctuation and capitalization and refrain from using computer jargon.
    Last edited by riquecohen; 30-Apr-2011 at 23:52. Reason: added "try to"

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