Unstressed Syllables – #79380

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Unstressed Syllables – #79380



english pronunciation practicePRACTICE

Important Points to Remember:

Unstressed syllables must be lower pitched, shorter and weaker than the stressed syllables. Even if you stress the correct syllable, but you put too much stress on the unstressed syllable, people will have a hard time understand you.

It is very common for the vowels in unstressed syllables to be so weak that they lose their original sound and become the /ə/ sound.

  • The “a” in company sounds like /ə/.
  • The “i” in president sounds like /ə/.
  • The “io” in relationship sounds like /ə/.

There are also some 1-syllable words in English that are stressed when spoken alone, but when they are in a sentence they are not stressed.

  • The “e” in “the” is usually pronounced /ə/.
  • The letter “a” is usually pronounced /ə/.
  • The “o” in “of” is pronounced /ə/.
  • The “a” in “and” and the “o” in “or” are usually pronounced pronounced /ə/.
  • The “a” in “can” is pronounced /ə/.

Some unstressed vowels become the /I/ sound, as in the words lid and bit.

For example:

  • The “i” in habit sounds like /I/.
  • The “i” in service sounds like /I/.
  • The “e” in business sounds like /I/.

Syllables that contain /ər/ are also NEVER stressed. It is very common to see the /ə/ before r’s. This makes the sound like “ur”.

For example:

  • Never
  • underestimate
  • power

It’s really hard to hear the unstressed vowels in words because they are spoken so quickly. But with practice, you’ll be able to hear them and pronounce them correctly.

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