Although there are many individual sounds as part of North American English, this Web site will focus on sounds created by word reductions, specifically with the schwa sound (ə) that affects stress and rhythm. This will be the focus of this page. I have compiled a helpful table of words that use the schwa sound that you’ll encounter in day-to-day conversations.
Here is a basic list of words that often use this sound, but remember that this sound can be found in many words that have unstressed syllables. This communication practice should be of use to you, whether you are studying the language at home for personal enrichment or seeking out other online learning opportunities. I hope you can learn from it.
|a||ə||I bought ə shirt for my brother.|
|an||ə||There’s ən elephant at the zoo.|
|the||thə||Please talk to thə teacher about thə test.|
|to||tə||I have tə make breakfast təday.
I usetə (used to) write her every morning.
|for||fər||This letter is fər my mom.|
|about||əbout||Tell me əbout your weekend.|
|of||əf or ə||I ate a piece ə pie.|
|and||ən or ‘n||I really like banana ən apples.|
|or||ər||Would you like water ər juice?|
|her||ər||Please tell ər I called.|
|him||əm / im||I need to talk to im today.|
|them||əm||How about calling əm today?|
|you||yə||Did yə like the movie?|
Modals of Advice or Ability:
|ought to||ought tə||We ought tə leave now.|
|have go to||have gottə||You’ve gottə go to bed now.|
|(I/we/they) have to||haftə||I haftə study for a test.|
|(he/she) has to||hastə||She hastə talk with the teacher.|
|want to||wannə||I wannə see a movie.|
|can||kn||She kn speak English very well.|
Modals of Regret of Past Speculation:
|should have||should əf||I should əf called her last night.|
|could have||could əf||He could əf traveled overseas, but he chose to work instead.|
|ought to have||ought tə əf||You ought tə əf checked the used before you bought it.|