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Which pronunciation is correct? If both, which one is used more commonly?

/ˈhelmɪt/ or /ˈhelmət/

  • Not sure about other regions/dialects, but I'd be more likely to use /ˈhelmɪt/ myself. Though the actual sound I make is sort of in-between ɪ and ə if that makes sense, almost to the point where I'm just saying 'helmt' – John Clifford Apr 15 '16 at 14:20
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    Again, for which pronunciation structure? RP? There's no objectively wrong way to say a word outside of a specific pronunciation structure. – SGR Apr 15 '16 at 14:28
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    /ˈhelmɪt/ is the way to go, then. – John Clifford Apr 15 '16 at 14:30
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    The fact is that native English speakers pay very little attention to the vowels in unstressed syllables. Some people use /ə/ for all of them; some people use /ə/ for some and /ɪ/ for the rest, and some people use three or four different vowels. So it doesn't really matter exactly how you pronounce them. – Peter Shor Apr 15 '16 at 14:46
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    To my (SE UK) ear, the pronunciation with a schwa only identifies Germans such as Helmut Schmidt. All other usages have the short /ɪ/ sound for all speakers that I ever pay attention to. Use of the /e/ vowel here probably only occurs with nns in normal conversational contexts. – FumbleFingers Apr 15 '16 at 15:08
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I'd say the first pronunciation is more common (that's that one I use, anyway).

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