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Unread Feb 23rd, 2014, 09:43 pm
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Default Schwa sound in function words.

Dear members and teachers:

''We need a stressed syllable for a Schwa sound to exist, even in function words; otherwise there will be no Schwa''.

Function words unlike content words are those that do not belong to dictionary words and are less important than content or lexical words in a text or conversation. They are grammatical words connecting with content words.

Although Schwa sound does not ocurr in monosyllable words, function words are monosyllable words in which its vowels are reduced to Schwa for fitting the rhythm in the spoken English.


As my quote states, a stressed syllable is needed for a Schwa. In spoken English sounds are connected together as one sound, so in that connection of sounds there are interval of stressed and unstressed sounds.

1) Is there a stressed syllable prior to or after the syllable that becomes Schwa in function words?

2) When there are consecutive schwa sounds, is the next syllable to be the stressed one? For example:

a) I reached for the potato /aɪ riːtʃt fə ə pəˈteɪtəʊ/

In this clause there are three consecutive schwa sounds - two from function words and one from a content word -, but after the schwas there is a stressed syllable. It seems to me that the verb REACH is stressed in its syllable, but I do not know whether it is a primary stress or a secondary one.

b) I worked for them /aɪ ˈwɜːkt fə əm/

In this clause there are two consecutive schwa sounds - one from a function word and the other from a content word -, but I find that prior to these two schwas there is a stressed syllable in WORK.

c) I know that in monosyllable words several consecutive schwas can be followed by the adjacent syllables, as in CONSONANT /ˈkɒnsənənt/ ; IMAGINABLE /ɪˈmdʒənəbəl/ and much more, but what I would like to know is, if in spoken English a stressed syllable has to be whether prior to the schwa sound or before.

Finally, I think that it has to be a stressed syllable for a schwa to exist, no matter how many schwa sounds there are consecutively.

I ask for your cooperation and assistance in this topic.

My best regards.

Last edited by THE APPRENTICE : Feb 28th, 2014 at 08:10 pm.
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