Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    marcodraper is offline Newbie
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Italian
      • Home Country:
      • Italy
      • Current Location:
      • Italy
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    8
    Post Thanks / Like

    I can pronounce the "schwa" individually but not in a word

    Ok, let's start saying I have "studied" phonetic for the last two or three months, until then I always focused on grammar, vocabulary, idioms, etc.; I knew that my pronunciation was bad, but people just made fun of me or they used to say something like "take it easy, I can understand you anyway" and nobody ever taught me or helped me to speak better, so I started exerting the pronunciation on my own with the support of videos on Yotube, etc.
    I'm Italian and we have just 7 vowel sounds and some diphthongs; I was shocked when I found out that English has twelve or even more of them and I figured out where my accent comes from, I've always been speaking English with a half of its vowels sounds (I should also mention the th sound, but let's focus on vowels).
    Anyway, I started to pronounce the vowel sounds singularly and the words in which they are present...ok I know that's always easy to pronounce a single sound than a word and a single word than a sentence....
    The fact is, whereas I had some problems (and I still have) at recognizing (or should I say in recognizing?) and pronouncing the sound 3: (which is in words like word, earth, work, etc.) I easily recognized and I can pronounce individually the "schwa" sound (teacher, about, etc) , maybe because it's used in some Italian dialects or just because it's simple since it doesn't require the use of the tongue... anyway if I try to say "teacher", "about" or any other word that comprises the sound I pronounce it more like an "e"...
    Is there someone else who has faced this problem? How did you cope with that?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    44,174
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I can pronounce the "schwa" individually but not in a word

    Could you record it?

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,827
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I can pronounce the "schwa" individually but not in a word

    Quote Originally Posted by marcodraper View Post
    ...anyway if I try to say "teacher", "about" or any other word that comprises includes the sound I pronounce it more like an "e"...
    Is there someone else who has faced this problem? How did you cope with that?
    If you know it's wrong... just don't do it. I recognize that will be difficult for you, as you've been making the same mistake for ages.

    b

  4. #4
    Calis's Avatar
    Calis is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Interested in Language
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    160
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I can pronounce the "schwa" individually but not in a word

    It isn't strictly necessary to be able to pronounce perfectly all of the phonemes of a given language (but it's good that you are making the effort to); if I were to learn Italian I would struggle to distinguish o /ɔ/ from /o/ and would most likely pronounce them the same; but you could still understand me. It would be fine, therefore, if you were to pronounce a full vowel in those place or better if you said a short "e" sound.

    As for helping you, try exaggerating the schwa in these places; properly go for it and don't be afraid of sounding silly (but you may want to practise in private) and it might become more natural to you, to the point where you can do it normally in words. I don't know whether this would work, but it's worth giving a go. :)

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,827
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: I can pronounce the "schwa" individually but not in a word

    One other thing, marcodraper. What may be persuading you to pronounce a full /e/ in words ending in '-er' is the dictionaries' addition of a bracketed /r/. This means NOT that 'you can add a hint of an /r/ and it'll never be wrong', but that there is an /r/ sound ONLY when there's a following vowel: /ǝ ti:ʧǝr a:skt/ but /ǝ ti:ʧǝ sed/.

    In some dialects of English (the so-called 'rhotic' ones), there is always an /r/ sound, but it's not standard.

    b

Similar Threads

  1. How do you pronounce the word "Diamond" in English?
    By EngFan in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 26-Jul-2012, 19:26
  2. [General] How do you pronounce the word "Galaxy"?
    By EngFan in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 07-Jan-2012, 05:30
  3. [Vocabulary] How do you pronounce "Cotton", "Button", "Britain", "Manhattan"...
    By Williamyh in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 24-Dec-2009, 09:36
  4. how to pronounce the word "a"
    By km8890 in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-Dec-2009, 08:28
  5. How to pronounce the word "the"
    By 4kidsmom in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 01-Jul-2006, 10:54

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •