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Well, I don't know why but when people pronounce certain words with the "-tion" at the end. It does not sound like "shun" at all. It sounds more like "shin"
Why do dictionaries list the SCHWA sound like:
(upside down "e") = "a" in about, "e" in agent, "i" in pencil, "o" in atom, "u" in circus. Do all of these sounds are the same. I can't really tell.
P.S. Schwa is a neautral sound in unstressed syllables. But can I find a schwa sound in a stressed syllable? What word?
Thank you for your help,

outlier89
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TAKEN FROM wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwa

In English, the SCHWA sound is considered the equivalent, or
ALLOPHONE (SEE BELOW), of "no vowel at all."

ALLOPHONE
In phonetics, an allophone is one of several similar phones or speech sounds, that belong to the same phoneme. Each allophone is used in a specific phonetic context.

For example, p as in pin and p as in spin are allophones in the English language. English speakers generally treat these as the same sound, but they are different. The latter is unaspirated: it sounds a little more like the b of English. The preceding s is the usual context for the unaspirated allophone.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, it seems the ever elusive SCHWA sound can vary slightly depending on the
specific phonetic context in which it is used. Hmmm... I personally do not believe
in the SCHWA sound. It's a myth like Santa or the Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy.
Just because we can say it's name does not mean it exists - well, other than on
the edge of our tongue & vibration of our chords - D SCHWA H!!!
For a schwa sound in a stressed syllable - how about uncle? Up? Underwear? It may not be exactly the same as the short "u," but it's pretty close, and that occurs in stressed syllables in many words.
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Whether you believe it or not, the schwa does exist and it is the "a" in "about", "e" in "agent" etc., which are all the same sound. The reason you doubt they are all the same sound is probably because the sound is unstressed, so you'll barely hear it.

When you hear people pronounce words that end in "-tion", you hear the schwa correctly, but you're right that it doesn't sound like "shun". The "u" in "shun", "uncle", "up" etc. is a different vowel. As you say, the schwa sounds more like "shin", since it is in fact in between "shun" and "shin". These two vowels have opposite characteristics ("shun" has an open back vowel and "shin" has a closed front vowel), so right in the middle of those two is the vowel with no characteristics: the schwa.

Unfortunately, English (like many other languages) doesn't allow for a schwa in stressed syllables, but you'll produce one when you're at a loss of words and say "uuuh", or if you completely relax your tongue and all you do is let your vocal chords trill.

The schwa itself does not vary based on context, but the reason allophones are mentioned in the wikipedia article is because the schwa is a variation of other vowels in English. For instance, the article "a" is, when stressed, pronounced "ay", but in most cases it is not stressed and becomes a schwa. Same goes for the article "the", except it is pronounced "thee" when stressed. They are two distinct vowels ("ay" and "ee"), but when unstressed they both become a schwa.
To me, "schwa" is an abstraction, which could be more concrete than other concepts. Schwa, schwi, and schwu, along with their stressed variants are all allophones of that phoneme schwa.
raindoctorTo me, "schwa" is an abstraction, which could be more concrete than other concepts. Schwa, schwi, and schwu, along with their stressed variants are all allophones of that phoneme schwa.
And what do you base that on? Realize that what you are saying goes entirely against scientific consensus: the schwa is a vowel sound produced with your tongue in a resting position, consisting of a first and second formant with frequencies of resp. ± 650 Hz and ± 1300 Hz. That's pretty far from an 'abstraction'.
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AnonymousAnd what do you base that on? Realize that what you are saying goes entirely against scientific consensus: the schwa is a vowel sound produced with your tongue in a resting position, consisting of a first and second formant with frequencies of resp. ± 650 Hz and ± 1300 Hz. That's pretty far from an 'abstraction'.
I think he meant to say that the schwa phoneme has also a lot of allophones in English, so the schwa isn't really a sound in this case, but it's a kind of abstraction (which probably has a technical name though: is it "underlying representation"? I'm not sure).

Also take a look at this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwa

One of the possible definitions at the beginning of that article is: An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in some languages, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel. Such vowels are often transcribed with the symbol <ə>, regardless of their actual phonetic value.
Anonymous
raindoctorTo me, "schwa" is an abstraction, which could be more concrete than other concepts. Schwa, schwi, and schwu, along with their stressed variants are all allophones of that phoneme schwa.
And what do you base that on? Realize that what you are saying goes entirely against scientific consensus: the schwa is a vowel sound produced with your tongue in a resting position, consisting of a first and second formant with frequencies of resp. ± 650 Hz and ± 1300 Hz. That's pretty far from an 'abstraction'.
Depends on how accurately you want to describe. IPA is worthless in this aspect. Check Luciano Canepari's canIPA vowel rectangle, and see mid central vowels and their qualities.

http://venus.unive.it/canipa/pdf/HPh_08_Vowels.pdf
I am very confused... every phonetics passage I have ever read about the schwa agrees on its existence yes, but then proceed to give us different SOUNDS for it.

private --- the last vowel sound is a schwa but we are told it's proounced like a small it
Then we are told that the schwa in trouble, is more of a ull
and legible, redable etc are said to end more in a uhble sound

So why have the same symbol? And if it is indeed always the same sound then why is everyone I asked coming up with the three different sounds. ( everyone being native speakers.)

PLease enlighten me?
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