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PRONUNCIATION: BASIC SOUNDS
The Stressed Schwa-R Sound and the Unstressed Schwa-R Sound
/ɝː/ and /ɚ/

GOAL

I can make the stressed schwa-R sound and the unstressed schwa-R sound.

TRY IT!

Read the sentence below.

The server spilled coffee on my skirt and my shirt too.

SOUNDS

Learn how to pronounce today's sounds.
Sound Profile
Voicing

yes

Mouth

slightly open

Lips

stretched horizontally ➡ pushed forward

Teeth

Tongue

the middle of the tongue slightly rounded up ➡ raised and forward + the sides of the tongue touching the top side teeth

Jaw

Steps
  1. Slightly open your mouth and stretch your lips horizontally.

  2. Arch the middle of your tongue slightly up.

  3. Make a voiced sound.

  4. Push your lips forward.

  5. Raise your tongue up and push it forward. The sides of your tongue should touch your top side teeth.

  6. Make a voiced sound.

  7. The tip of your tongue should not be touching anything.

Katakana Otoshiana

Because there is no perfect match for the stressed schwa-R sound in Japanese, many English words with that sound are written with aa (アー) in katakana.

 

first ➡ faasuto (ファースト)

skirt ➡ sukaato (スカート)

fur  faa (ファー)

 

Be careful to make them the stressed schwa-R sound in English!

Voicing

yes

Mouth

slightly open

Lips

stretched horizontally ➡ pushed forward

Teeth

Tongue

the middle of the tongue slightly rounded up ➡ raised and forward + the sides of the tongue touching the top side teeth

Jaw

Steps
  1. Slightly open your mouth and stretch your lips horizontally.

  2. Arch the middle of your tongue slightly up.

  3. Make a voiced sound.

  4. Push your lips forward.

  5. Raise your tongue up and push it forward. The sides of your tongue should touch your top side teeth.

  6. Make a voiced sound.

  7. The tip of your tongue should not be touching anything.

Katakana Otoshiana

Many English words with the unstressed schwa-R sound are written with a chouonpu (長音符) in katakana.

 

cracker kurakkaa (クラッカー)

butterbataa (バター)

showershawaa (シャワー)

 

Be careful not to hold the sound too long in English.

Steps
  1. Slightly open your mouth and stretch your lips horizontally.

  2. Arch the middle of your tongue slightly up.

  3. Make a voiced sound.

  4. Push your lips forward.

  5. Raise your tongue up and push it forward. The sides of your tongue should touch your top side teeth.

  6. Make a voiced sound.

  7. The tip of your tongue should not be touching anything.

Steps
  1. Slightly open your mouth and stretch your lips horizontally.

  2. Arch the middle of your tongue slightly up.

  3. Make a voiced sound.

  4. Push your lips forward.

  5. Raise your tongue up and push it forward. The sides of your tongue should touch your top side teeth.

  6. Make a voiced sound.

  7. The tip of your tongue should not be touching anything.

Katakana Otoshiana

Because there is no perfect match for the stressed schwa-R sound in Japanese, many English words with that sound are written with aa (アー) in katakana.

 

first ➡ faasuto (ファースト)

skirt ➡ sukaato (スカート)

fur  faa (ファー)

 

Be careful to make them the stressed schwa-R sound in English!

Katakana Otoshiana

Many English words with the unstressed schwa-R sound are written with a chouonpu (長音符) in katakana.

 

cracker kurakkaa (クラッカー)

butterbataa (バター)

showershawaa (シャワー)

 

Be careful not to hold the sound too long in English.

SENTENCES

Practice today’s sounds in the sentences below.

/ɝː/

  1. Mike got his shirt dirty on his birthday.
  2. I’m stirring my third cup of tea.
  3. There’s a church on Third Avenue.
  4. Kurt’s friend hurt her foot at the circus.
  5. Sir Thomas owns thirteen birds.

/ɚ/

  1. Oliver jumped over the flower.
  2. I eat crackers after I take a shower.
  3. The tower is next to the river.
  4. Tyler is the new member of the soccer club.
  5. The paper is under my father‘s chair.

/ɝː/ + /ɚ/

  1. Amber needs a smaller shirt and a larger skirt.
  2. My father bought a butter cake for my brother’s first birthday.
  3. I gave the birds by the church some crackers.
  4. Alexander is going to buy thirteen flowers.
  5. Sir Cooper needs a longer fur coat.

DIALOGUES

Practice today’s sounds in the dialogues below.

/ɝː/

Student:

Why are you early for work today? Jane is usually the first one here.

Tutor:

I came early because I have to leave early too. Today is Emma’s birthday.

Student:

Oh, right! Today’s her thirteenth birthday!

Tutor:

Yeah! We’re going to the circus tonight. It’s her first time to go to the circus!

Student:

That’s great! Watch the magical bird show. It’s the best show in the circus!

/ɚ/

Tutor:

My mother is making peanut butter cupcakes for the team.

Student:

Really? Wow! The members will love them! Especially Tyler!

Tutor:

Yeah! She’s making some chocolate wafers and crackers too!

Student:

Oh, I remember those! Your mother’s chocolate wafers are the best!

/ɝː/ + /ɚ/

Tutor:

What happened to your flower skirt? It’s dirty!

Student:

The server spilled coffee on my skirt and my shirt too.

Tutor:

Oh, no! Were you hurt? Did you tell the manager?

Student:

No. I wasn’t hurt, so I didn’t tell the manager. Thankfully, the server didn’t spill it on my fur coat.

TRY IT AGAIN!

Reread the sentence below.

The server spilled coffee on my skirt and my shirt too.