Re: How do you pronounce "General", 2 or 3 syllables?
Both the LPD and the Cambridge EPD give a superscript schwa for the sound after /n/, as Raymott does. EPD also gives a superscript schwa for the sound after /r/; LPD gives an italicised schwa. These indicate that the sound may be pronounced or omitted. If the latter, they give their syllabic character to the following consonant.
This suggests that, for many speakers, general has more than two syllables, but fewer than three. This may sound very strange, but it is often difficult, if not impossible, to decide whether syylabic consonants in such words as general, buttoning, bottling should be described as full syllables or not.
Incidentally, the symbol normally used in phonemic/phonetic transcription for the first sound in 'general' is ʤ.
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