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


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.

  • Isn't that recorded somewhere for everyone to access and learn (known formerly as GR)? – Kris Dec 10 '18 at 8:23
  • Some of the accents in the UK are still rhotic.... see the Wikipedia link in my comment to OP. – Spencer Dec 12 '18 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. – Peter Shor Dec 12 '18 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 Dec 12 '18 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. – Peter Shor Dec 15 '18 at 18:35

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