Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    The apprentice is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Dominican Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Dominican Republic
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    164
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Schwa sound in function words.

    Dear members and teachers:


    ''We need a stressed syllable for a Schwa sound, even in function words; otherwise there will be no Schwa''.

    Function words unlike content words are those that do not belong to dictionary words and are less important than content or lexical words in a text or conversation. They are grammatical words connecting with content words.

    Although Schwa sound does not ocurr in monosyllable words, function words are monosyllable words which its vowels are reduced to Schwa for fitting the rhythm in the spoken English.


    QUESTION:

    As my quote estates, a stressed syllable is needed for a Schwa. In spoken English sounds are connected together as one sound, so in that connection of sounds there are interval of stressed and unstressed sounds.

    1) Is there a stressed syllable prior of after the function word that becomes Schwa?

    2) If there are two function words consecutively (of the; for the; of a; for a), is the next syllable to be the stressed one?

    I ask for your cooperation and assistance in this topic.


    My best regards.

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,758
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Schwa sound in function words.

    Quote Originally Posted by The apprentice View Post
    Dear members and teachers:

    ''We need a stressed syllable for a Schwa sound, even in function words; otherwise there will be no Schwa''.
    This rather Zen-like assertion appeared a few weeks ago. I'm sure there's a flaw in it. If we are talking about words, it's wrong. There doesn't have to be a non-schwa sound in a word for it to have a schwa sound. Maybe having the non-schwa sound somewhere else is sufficient?

    Function words unlike content words are those that do not belong to dictionary words and are less important than content or lexical words in a text or conversation. They are grammatical words connecting with content words.
    "Dictionary words" is a new concept to me. I'm pretty sure that these short functional words that often contain a schwa and no other vowel are given their due place in dictionaries. "Function words" is suitable.

    Although Schwa sound does not ocurr in monosyllable words [It does!], function words are monosyllable words which its vowels are reduced to Schwa for fitting the rhythm in the spoken English. Hmm. When is a schwa not a schwa?

    QUESTION:

    As my quote estates (states?, asserts?), a stressed syllable is needed for a Schwa (not necessarily in the same word). In spoken English sounds are connected together as one sound, so in that connection of sounds there are interval of stressed and unstressed sounds.

    1) Is there a stressed syllable prior to or after the (vowel of the) function word that becomes Schwa?
    Just a small quibble - the only word that I can think of that can become a schwa is "a".
    No, it's not necessarily true that a schwa is either preceded or followed by a stressed vowel in the adjacent syllable. Several consecutive schwas are common.


    2) If there are two function words consecutively (of the; for the; of a; for a), is the next syllable to be the stressed one?
    Not necessarily, again. Do you mean two consecutive schwa vowels? If the following word begins with a schwa, it keeps it.
    "I reached for the potato". /f
    ə ə pəteɪtəʊ/
    I think your questions are based on an over-valued notion of stressed syllables being necessary to validate schwas.
    Last edited by Raymott; 24-Feb-2014 at 03:23.

  3. #3
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    14,841
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Schwa sound in function words.

    ...and there is no reason to capitalise 'schwa'.

  4. #4
    The apprentice is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Dominican Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Dominican Republic
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    164
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Schwa sound in function words.

    Thank you Raymott for your answers, but I would like that you, other members or teachers help me in the following comment in bold type letters:


    1) ''We need a stressed syllable for a Schwa sound, even in function words; otherwise there will be no Schwa''.

    This rather Zen-like assertion appeared a few weeks ago. I'm sure there's a flaw in it. If we are talking about words, it's wrong. There doesn't have to be a non-schwa sound in a word for it to have a schwa sound. Maybe having the non-schwa sound somewhere else is sufficient?


    Maybe the flaw you assure is in the case of function words, but can you please, write down multisyllable words with a schwa sound in which there aren't stressed syllables in them?

    2) Function words unlike content words are those that do not belong to dictionary words and are less important than content or lexical words in a text or conversation. They are grammatical words connecting with content words.


    "Dictionary words" is a new concept to me. I'm pretty sure that these short functional words that often contain a schwa and no other vowel are given their due place in dictionaries. "Function words" is suitable.

    I have read in several web sites that content words unlike function words are dictionary words which have meanings on their own, but as you just told me, I'm still confused about it.

    3) Although Schwa sound does not ocurr in monosyllable words
    [It does!], function words are monosyllable words which its vowels are reduced to Schwa for fitting the rhythm in the spoken English. Hmm.When is a schwa not a schwa?

    In my opinion monosyllable words only take the schwa sound when they act as function words, can you please, write down monosyllable words with a schwa sound in them?

    QUESTION:

    As my quote estates (states?, asserts?), a stressed syllable is needed for a Schwa (not necessarily in the same word). In spoken English sounds are connected together as one sound, so in that connection of sounds there are interval of stressed and unstressed sounds.

    a) I would like to see words with schwa sounds in which there aren't no stressed syllable in them.

    1) Is there a stressed syllable prior to or after the (vowel of the) function word that becomes Schwa?

    Just a small quibble - the only word that I can think of that can become a schwa is "a".
    No, it's not necessarily true that a schwa is either preceded or followed by a stressed vowel in the adjacent syllable. Several consecutive schwas are common.


    b) As to my knowledge, any vowel can become a schwa sound, not only a specific vowel.

    c) I know that in monosyllable words several consecutive schwas can be followed by the adjacent syllables, as in CONSONANT
    /ˈkɒnnənt/ ; IMAGINABLE /ɪˈmdʒəbəl/
    and much more, but what I would like to know is, if in spoken English a stressed syllable has to be whether prior to the schwa sound or before. for example:

    I reached for the potato
    /riːtʃt ə pəˈteɪtəʊ/

    In this clause there are three consecutive schwa sounds - two from function words and one from a content word -, but after the schwas there is a stressed syllable. It seems to me that the verb REACH is stressed in its syllable, but I do not know whether it is a primary stress or a secondary one.

    I worked for them
    /ˈwɜːkt əm/

    In this clause there are two consecutive schwa sounds - one from a function word and the other from a content word -, but I find that prior to these two schwas there is a stressed syllable in WORK.

    2) If there are two function words consecutively (of the; for the; of a; for a), is the next syllable to be the stressed one?


    Not necessarily, again. Do you mean two consecutive schwa vowels? If the following word begins with a schwa, it keeps it.

    "I reached for the potato". /f
    ə ə pəteɪtəʊ/

    d) Here I'm cleared in what you have explained because function words can be followed of preceded by schwa sounds.


    I think your questions are based on an over-valued notion of stressed syllables being necessary to validate schwas.

    Yes, you're right. I think that it has to be a stressed syllable for a schwa to exist, no matter how many schwa sounds there are consecutively.


    Regards.
    Last edited by The apprentice; 26-Feb-2014 at 00:55. Reason: Misspelling, grammar mistakes and add more.

  5. #5
    The apprentice is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Dominican Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Dominican Republic
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    164
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Schwa sound in function words.

    Thank you Rover_KE for your observation.


    I would also appreciate your opinion regarding the above matter.


    My regards.
    Last edited by The apprentice; 25-Feb-2014 at 12:42.

  6. #6
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is online now VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    19,758
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Schwa sound in function words.

    Quote Originally Posted by The apprentice View Post
    Maybe the flaw you assure is in the case of function words, but can you please, write down multisyllable words with a schwa sound in which there aren't stressed syllables in them?

    No I can't think of one at the moment. All multisyllable words in English would have at least one stressed syllable if pronounced alone. Whether there are multisyllable words that have all their vowels reduced to schwa in connected speech is a different question. It probably happens to some 2-syllable words in some speech contexts. I'll try to think of one.


    I have read in several web sites that content words unlike function words are dictionary words which have meanings on their own, but as you just told me, I'm still confused about it.

    It was just the term “dictionary words” that I have a problem with. Are you now saying that function words don't have “meanings of their own”? It's that sort of conclusion that you might come to by referring to function words as “non-dictionary words”. The fact that a function word doesn't have a physical referent that you can point to doesn't mean that it is meaningless.


    3) Although Schwa sound does not ocurr in monosyllable words [It does!], function words are monosyllable words which its vowels are reduced to Schwa for fitting the rhythm in the spoken English. Hmm. When is a schwa not a schwa?

    In my opinion monosyllable words only take the schwa sound when they act as function words, can you please, write down monosyllable words with a schwa sound in them?
    Do you mean monosyllable non-function words with a schwa sound? No, I can't think of any at the moment. Again, the vowels would be pronounced stressed if they are pronounced alone, but may be reduced to schwa in a conversational context.

    QUESTION:
    a) I would like to see [non-function?] words with schwa sounds in which there aren't no stressed syllable in them.
    I know. I probably agree with most of what you have written. But leaving out important qualifiers such as this (“non-function”) is what is causing the misunderstanding.

    1) Is there a stressed syllable prior to or after the (vowel of the) function word that becomes Schwa?

    Just a small quibble - the only word that I can think of that can become a schwa is "a".

    b) As to my knowledge, any vowel can become a schwa sound, not only a specific vowel.
    This depends on what you mean by any vowel. Do you mean that any of “a, e, i, o, u”
    can become schwa? I agree. If by “any vowel” you mean the second 'a' in 'banana', then that's not true.


    c) I know that in monosyllable words several consecutive schwas can be followed by the adjacent syllables, as in CONSONANT
    [Edit: deleted URL text of png examples]
    and much more, but what I would like to know is, if in spoken English a stressed syllable has to be whether prior to the schwa sound or before (after?). for example:

    I reached for the potato /aɪ riːtʃt fə ə pəˈteɪtəʊ/

    In this clause there are three consecutive schwa sounds - two from function words and one from a content word -, but after the schwas there is a stressed syllable. It seems to me that the verb REACH is stressed in its syllable, but I do not know whether it is a primary stress or a secondary one.

    Yes, I think it's safe to say that in any English sentence in which a schwa or a series of schwas occurs, a stressed vowel will occur somewhere either before or after the schwas. That's not contentious. But I think it's a stretch to say that the stressed syllables validate the schwas.
    “Reached” is a monosyllabic word. Since the only vowel sound is stressed, it must be primary. Are you using a different system?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stress_...ion_in_English


    I worked for them /aɪ ˈwɜːkt fə əm/

    In this clause there are two consecutive schwa sounds - one from a function word and the other from a content word -, but I find that prior to these two schwas there is a stressed syllable in WORK.
    Indeed! So English sentences don't occur with only consonants and schwas. I accept that.

    .
    I agree that sentences don't exist without stressed vowels. Short phrases might in a certain conversational context.
    Last edited by Raymott; 26-Feb-2014 at 08:22.

  7. #7
    The apprentice is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Dominican Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Dominican Republic
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    164
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Schwa sound in function words.

    Thanks a lot Raymott, your final explanation answers almost all of my questions.


    1) In my opinion monosyllable words only take the schwa sound when they act as function words, can you please, write down monosyllable words with a schwa sound in them?

    I mean that monosyllable words when they are alone, they do not have the schwa sound; only those monosyllable words which acting as function words take the schwa.

    2) I have read in several web sites that content words unlike function words are dictionary words which have meanings on their own, but as you just told me, I'm still confused about it.

    I mean that function words do not have such an extended meanings as content words have them.

    3) Now my understanding about the schwa sound is that:

    a) Any multisyllable words on which there is a schwa sound or more than a schwa, it has to be a stressed syllable for the schwa to exist.

    b) In function words, it has to be a stressed syllable prior to or after the schwa sound, no matter if there are consecutive schwa sounds.

    c) There are no schwa sound in monosyllable words unless they are acting as function words.

    4) Finally, my quote would be as follows:

    ''It has to be a stressed syllable prior or after the schwa sound for the schwa to exist, whether there is a schwa or more than one''.

    ''A stressed syllable is needed for a schwa sound to exist whether there is a schwa or more than one, even in function words; otherwise there will be no schwa''.


    Your explanation was excellent.
    Last edited by The apprentice; 27-Feb-2014 at 21:05. Reason: Editing, misspelling and grammar mistake.

Similar Threads

  1. [General] Schwa sound in main verbs that also function as auxiliary verbs.
    By The apprentice in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 13-Feb-2014, 07:41
  2. [General] The Schwa Sound
    By The apprentice in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 13-Sep-2013, 19:52
  3. [General] schwa sound in these words
    By harriet_yang in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-Sep-2012, 09:26
  4. [Grammar] schwa sound
    By Unregistered in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 17-Feb-2009, 12:57
  5. schwa sound
    By Unregistered in forum Pronunciation and Phonetics
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 27-Mar-2005, 10:28

Posting Permissions

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