English Schwa Sound [ə] – What It Is & How To Get It Right!

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

Improve Spoken English

There was a time when I didn’t have a clue what the “schwa” [ə] sound was.

I’d heard people say this strange word – “SCHWA” – and it got me thinking “What the hell are they talking about?! It must be something quite complicated because it sounds smart…”

As is often the case though, the seemingly complicated matter turned out to be a very simple thing – the “schwa” [ə] sound is nothing more than an unstressed vowel sound which occurs in A LOT of English words:

  • About [əˈbaut]
  • Bank account [bæŋk əkaunt]
  • I don’t know what to do! [ˈaɪ ˈdount ˈnou ˈhwat tə duː]
  • Can you help me? [kən ju ˈhelp ˈmiː]

So far so good, right?

Well, turns out it’s not all that simple! 😉

There are a lot of languages in the world, and it’s not that easy for everyone to get the schwa sound just right.

Recently, for example, I received a comment by one of my blog commentators Juhapekka in which he raises concerns over pronouncing the English schwa sound while being a Finnish speaker himself.

Here’s what Juhapekka has to say:

Generally speaking, I have always problems to pronounce schwa correctly. I read your article about equating English sounds to one’s native language sounds but I didn’t get the schwa right.

The problem is that we don’t have schwa-sound in my native language Finnish but we have similar ö-sound in Finnish. Ö is somewhat schwa-like but the problem is that ö is strongly stressed and I have big problems to pronounce ö as unstressed.

If I managed to pronounce ö as unstressed, then unstressed ö would be perhaps at least sufficiently similar to schwa for my ears. So theoretically my problem is quite solved but practically I have big problems. I know that I could omit schwa in some cases altogether because schwa is so weak sound but can you help me to get the schwa right?

Well, needless to say, I recorded a video where I’m addressing Juhapekka’s issue with getting the “schwa” [ə] sound right ❗

Also, when watching the video above (alternatively you can listen to the podcast in case you can’t access YouTube video content for some reason) you’ll find out the following:

  • What’s the BEST way of pronouncing the “schwa” sound;
  • Why you should only EVER look at the “schwa” [ə] sound as part of the entire sentence!

So, don’t delay – start watching the video above this article right now and ask me any questions you may have!



P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!

P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

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