Why do people said that the SOFA is in e (upside): schwa symbol?

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sham159

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Jan 28, 2008
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Hello everybody,

My name is Sam. I'am from Malaysia.I'am a
singer.Well, I'am reading and learning about midvowels
and schwa in the IPA chart right now. I'am reading
/learning them on the website named Peter Ladefoged
:vowels and consonants at
:vowels

It's a good website.
i have some question on mid vowels and schwa and
i hope all of you can help me to answer them.

1. Why do people said that the UH sounds as in the
word SOFA is in schwa symbol(the upside e) as we know
that the schwa is sounded as "er'(FOREVER)? I'am quite
confused.Can you explain to me?

There is a symbol a (the upside one) which referring to UH sounds. Why do people said that UH sounds as in the word SOFA is schwa (e upside)?

I hope u can help me.

Thanks.
 

Buddhaheart

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Current Location
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Quite often when a syllable in a multi-syllable word is not stressed, it is reduced to a schwa /b/ (a turned ‘e’, rotated 180E) sound. ‘Sofa’ /0so.fə/ is a 2-syllable noun, where the 1st syllable is stressed and the ‘a’ in the 2nd is reduced to this weak sound. The ’er’ is ordinary transcribed as /f+r/ (f is a reversed epsilon) in AE. It’s not the same as the schwa. I am not sure what you mean when you write ‘There is a symbol a (the upside one) which referring to UH sounds.’
 

sham159

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Jan 28, 2008
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Academic
I am not sure what you mean when you write ‘There is a symbol a (the upside one) which referring to UH sounds.’

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Take a look at this website :

vowels

As you can see, there is a symbol (upside) in the chart. You can click on the left of your mouse to hear the sound. The sound is like an UH . It's same with the word SOFA.

Why don't we say that the SOFA word is in a symbol(upside)?

I wonder why the word of SOFA is being categorized in the schwa symbol?
The schwa sound is er as in the word AWAY.

SOFA and AWAY are different in their sounds. Am i right?? Can you explain to me?
 

Buddhaheart

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Ah, the turned ‘a’ /X/ in the BE ‘sofa’! It’s not used in AE and rare in practice. Take a Look at any of your dictionaries that show pronunciation you’ll find the unstressed ‘a’ in ‘sofa’ is transcribed as a schwa /ə/, not /X/ . Try the CEPD by D. Jones and LPD by JC wells. I’ve indicated one of the reasons for it being a reduced sound. The ‘er’ as in ‘forever’ is /f+r/ or /g/ (a rhotacized, i.e. r-colored version of /f/) in AE.

The ‘a’ in ‘sofa’ and the 1st ‘a’ in ‘away’ (transcribed as /ə.0wew/) are uttered the same. You’re allowed to do that because the 1st syllable of ‘away’ is unstressed. Other examples are ‘ago’, ‘taken’, ‘pencil’, ‘lemon’ & ’circus’.
 
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