The Sound of Schwa

The schwa sound is the most frequently occurring vowel sound in English. The good news is that it is also the easiest vowel sound to make.

Tongue position
To make schwa, the tongue does not have to go up or down, or forward, or back. It stays right in the middle.

Tongue tension
The tongue should not be tense for schwa. Keep it completely relaxed in the middle of the mouth.

Try it!
Keeping your tongue relaxed in the center of your mouth, you just need to open your mouth a little bit and make a sound: uh.

Schwa is so easy that you could say it in your sleep. Imagine that you are sleeping, with your mouth open just a little bit, and make a sound – “uh”.

A student once said that it would be the sound you made if you were unexpectedly punched in the stomach. “Uh!” But of course, you wouldn’t be quite so relaxed!

So now you know how to make the most frequently used vowel sound in English.

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About Pronunciation Coach
I am a language teacher, with over 20 years of experience teaching ESL & Spanish.

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