I would really appreciate it if someone explain and provide me with a website link to understand the difference between /ə/ and glottal stop. The main reason for this is though I find a number of videos explaining what is the glottal stop, I couldn't find anything comparing the difference between /ə/ and glottal stop.

dileepaI couldn't find anything comparing the difference between /ə/ and glottal stop.

I am not an expert on phonetics, but to me there doesn't seem a reason to make such a comparison, particularly. As I perceive it, there is no particular connection between these sounds. /ə/ is a vowel (the "laziest" vowel sound you can make), while the glottal stop is classed as a consonant and is formed by suddenly closing the airways in order to "cut off" a vowel sound (any vowel sound).


the difference between /ə/ and glottal stop ( /ʔ/ )

Note the symbol for the glottal stop /ʔ/. It looks like a question mark.

The glottal stop is considered a consonant sound. It's the sound you make when you start to say any vowel. For example if you repeatedly say "A A A A A" or "E E E E E" or "I I I I I", there is a glottal stop (It's a break in the sound) between each repetition. You are really saying

/ʔeɪʔeɪʔeɪʔeɪʔeɪ/ /ʔiʔiʔiʔiʔi/ /ʔaɪʔaɪʔaɪʔaɪʔaɪ/

The schwa ( /ə/ ) is a vowel that sounds like an unstressed "short u" ( /ʌ/ ).

Listen to a few portions of the videos below. Listen at 2:46 - 3:07 for the first one, and at 2:03 - 2:43 for the second one.



You'll hear the words "water", "butter", and "lighter". In the Cockney accent illustrated in those videos, these are pronounced as

/ˈwɔʔə/ /ˈbʌʔə/ and /ˈlaɪʔə/

Note that each of these words ends with a glottal stop followed by a schwa ( /ʔə/ ). If you imitate this repeatedly you will have the same kind of repetition of a vowel that I showed you earlier with A, E, and I.


The break in sound that you hear is the glottal stop. The continuous sound of your voice between the glottal stops is the schwa.

By the way, the standard pronunciation of those words in British English is

/ˈwɔtə/ /ˈbʌtə/ /ˈlaɪtə/.

And here's a site with IPA symbols you can type.



Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?

Thank you very much for the answer.

Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies

Thank you very much for the answer.