Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 2 – Episode 18 – Pronunciation Skill – The Schwa!

While teaching yesterday, I stumbled across one of the most interesting things EVER.  The schwa and the importance of it!

I first came across this while teaching a doctor a few months ago, and of course, three months later, I found another interesting feature regarding it, so I had to break this down in micro.

Not sure if I’ve gone over the ə before or not, but it’s time to get back into it!

Vowel sounds in stressed syllables are long and clear, but vowel sounds in unstressed syllables are weak and unclear.  They are usually reduced to the ə.

Ex: AVAILABLE – a vail a ble /ə ve lə bəl/

Here are five words I came across yesterday:

debate /də bate;

today /tə day;

repeat /rə piyt;

assume /ə sume;

assumption /ə sum shin



Look up these words in a dictionary and write the symbol /ə/ over each schwa sound.

  1. Office
  2. Official
  3. Compete
  4. Protection
  5. Successful
  6. Political



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