Free English Pronunciation and Accent Reduction Lessons
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Saturday November 15th, 2008
In today's podcast, we're going to learn how to pronounce a very important and common vowel in English : the vowel /ə/, also known as the "schwa". The schwa, /ə/, appears in thousands and thousands of words in English. /ə/ is also the sound that Americans often use if the vowels is unstressed. (reduced vowels).
The focus of today's lesson is:
How to articulate / ə / correctly:
tongue: relaxed, central (neutral position). Tip of tongue is gently touching lower front teeth). Don't move or flex your tongue.
lips: relaxed, neutral
jaw: relaxed, neutral
Exercise: Listen and repeat /ə /.
You might recognize this sound as the sound Americans make when they're trying to think of or remember something.
Most languages don't contain this neutral, relaxed sound, so many pronunciation students find this sound very challenging at first. Mastering this sound takes a lot of practice and repetition, but with practice and repettion you will develop the coordination to make this sound while keeping your tongue relaxed.
Exercise: Listen and repeat the following words containing /ə/ :
study... but... luck... love... money... Monday... mother... what... does... young...
As you can see the"schwa", /ə/, can be spelled in a variety of ways. Future podcasts will focus on the most common and exceptional spelling patterns of /ə/ . The focus of this week's podcast is to learn how and practice positioning your tongue correctly to pronounce /ə/.
Exercise: Listen and repeat the following American expressions and idioms
My plans are up in the air. ? (not definite, undecided)
Today's podcast is just an introduction to /ə /. Your goal for now should be to produce the sound accurately, keeping your tongue neutral and relaxed. Most languages don't have this vowel sound so it can be challenging for many students to produce this neutral sound.
Looking for more training materials? I recommend Best Accent Training mp3s!
Any questions, comments or suggestions ? Contact us at: email@example.com
Thank you and see you next time!
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