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Consider the word 'future.' Cambridge Dictionary shows the transcriptions /ˈfjuːtʃəʳ/ and /ˈfjuːtʃɚ/. Are they different?

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1 Answer 1

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One is the Standard British English pronunciation, and the other is the General American English pronunciation.

In the British pronunciation, you don't pronounce the /r/ after /ə/ unless the next word starts with a vowel. (The superscript /r/ is saying add an /r/ after it if the next word starts with a vowel. Compare the words store /stɔːʳ/ and star /stɑːʳ/.)

In American pronunciation, you combine the vowel /ə/ and the /r/ into a single r-colored vowel represented by /ɚ/.

They're the same phoneme; it's just pronounced differently in British and American English.

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  • Isn't that recorded somewhere for everyone to access and learn (known formerly as GR)?
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 8:23
  • Some of the accents in the UK are still rhotic.... see the Wikipedia link in my comment to OP.
    – Spencer
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 17:55
  • @Spencer: And some accents in the US are non-rhotic. And there are different pronunciations of /r/ in the U.S, even among the rhotic speakers. I should probably say Standard British Pronunciation and General American Pronunciation, to make it clearer. Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 20:00
  • And Ireland is mostly rhotic where Australia is mostly non-rhotic (but apparently changing). I'd have just presented it as rhotic vs. nonrhotic and then parenthetically mentioned the general tendencies in British versus American English, but what the heck, it's your answer.
    – Spencer
    Commented Dec 12, 2018 at 20:39
  • @Spencer: I don't think it's just rhotic vs. non-rhotic. Scotland is rhotic, but supposedly pronounces future as /ˈfjuːtʃər/ rather than /ˈˈfjuːtʃɚ/. See Wikipedia. Commented Dec 15, 2018 at 18:35

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