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This page ( https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/effect ) lists it as /əˈfekt/ for American English, but when you click on the pronounce button it is pronounced as /ɪˈfekt/. Can you say it both ways in American English? Do you always say /ɪˈfekt/ in British English?

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    There’s probably quite a bit of variation, not only between BrE and AmE, but between individual dialects and individual speakers of those dialects. Personally, I would pronounce effect as either [εˈfεkt] or [ɪˈfεkt], because in my pronunciation, [əˈfεkt] is affect. But I’m sure there are many people who pronounce the two exactly the same and would use one, two, or all three pronunciations for either one. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 6 '15 at 10:34
  • Yeah, I will tend to pronounce the word differently, depending on context. Though I can't readily express what the contextual clues are. – Hot Licks Jun 6 '15 at 11:22
  • Yes, you can say it both ways, and many people do. It doesn't matter. There is not much room in the mouth between the place in the mouth where we pronounce a lax high front /ɪ/ and the place where we pronounce a central /ə/ (probly realized as a high central [ɨ]). We're talking a few millimeters here. In an unstressed syllable, there is always variation, because there is almost no contrast between unstressed vowels. More important is the pronunciation of the stressed lax mid front /ɛ/ in /fɛkt/. – John Lawler Jun 6 '15 at 14:32
  • Oxford Dictionaries Online seems to use schwa /ə/ for all vowels in unstressed syllables in American English. While some Americans actually do this, many don't. – Peter Shor Jun 6 '15 at 21:38
  • Native English speakers pay relatively little attention to vowels in unstressed syllables, both in listening to English and in pronouncing it. You can probably drive yourself crazy worrying about inconsistencies in the pronunciation of vowels in unstressed syllables in dictionaries. Don't! Vowels in stressed syllables, on the other hand, do really matter; you should worry about getting them right. – Peter Shor Jun 6 '15 at 21:43

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