Awesome! The schwa sound can do wonders for your English fluency

 In Blog

Well, I am convinced … The schwa sound is just so underrated by English language teachers. 

The schwa sound is not just your ordinary vowel sound. I have always maintained that a large part of spoken fluency and competence revolves around schwa. 

Yes, one single sound could help you to unlock the door to English fluency! Check this out.

Analyse and listen to this text to see what schwa can do for you:

Well, David took a flight to Warsaw last week. He said that it waa last minute decision, but that’s pretty common for David.

Anyway, he arrived at the airport in Warsaw aaround two pm. He seemed to be a bit disorganised because he’d forgotten his diary which had the address of his hotel in the city centre. It wasn’t the only thing. He forgot his law books, which was rather stupid because he was meant to give a lecture at the university, so, yes, organisation has always been his problem.

Why is "David in Warsaw" a good text to listen to and repeat?

  • It contains numerous examples of the schwa sound (ə) - the most common vowel sound in English. One of the main reasons learners have problems with understanding the English spoken by native speakers is because they do not catch the FUNCTION WORDS, which so often contain a reduced schwa sound. Function words, such as prepositions and auxiliary verbs, do not have a specific meaning and assume a grammatical function. In “David in Warsaw”, the function words (to, for, a, has, and at) - are not pronounced in their full forms because native speakers strive to put emphasis on CONTENT WORDS (nouns, adjectives and verbs). Content words carry the meaning or sense of an utterance. 

  • Listen carefully to the audio. You will hear how words are linked together - there are no pauses between words. For instance, “...organisation has” sounds more like organisationəs  - there is no pause after the last 'n' of organisation, the 'h' of has is dropped, and the 'a' belonging to 'has' becomes a schwa sound

In my eyes, if you can begin to “reduce” function words and use schwa - you will begin to sound more fluent.

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