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What's the correct transcription and pronunciation of the 'un-' prefix in General American English? Cambridge Online dictionary provides the following transcription: /ʌn/

It's the same in words with this prefix: /ʌnˈdu/. Why do they use the /ʌ/ and not the /ə/ (schwa)? It's the /ə/ sound that typically occurs in unstressed syllables. Thank you.

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    Your example undue has stress on both syllables, it seems to me. (Perhaps a secondary stress in the first syllable, but not unstressed.) Indeed, that often occurs... unwashed, unknown, unclean. This may explain Cambridge Online Dictionary. – GEdgar Apr 2 at 13:25
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    The prefix un- usually has secondary stress, so it's not reduced to a schwa: unable is not an exact homophone of enable. (Although since the majority of Americans pronounce schwa and /ʌ/ with the same vowel, the distinction will often be quite subtle. Many, if not all, of the rest of us, me included, use /ʌ/ and not /ə/ in un-.) – Peter Shor Apr 2 at 13:46
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    Phonemically, there's no difference between /ə/ and /ʌ/. They both name the same phoneme, at least in American English. [ʌ] -- the phone, not the phoneme -- is the allophone that occurs with primary stress, while [ə], shading off to [ɨ] or syllabic resonants, occurs most often as the allophone without primary stress. On the basic principle that the most common allophone should be the name of the phoneme, I use /ə/ instead of /ʌ/. Also, people vary considerably in their individual pronunciation of reduced vowels; individual variation usually swamps "official" pronunciations. – John Lawler Apr 2 at 14:48
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    @JohnLawler: so do you pronounce unable and enable in exactly the same way? For me, that's a minimal pair between /ʌ/ and /ə/. – Peter Shor Apr 2 at 16:35
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    The vowel in unable is slightly further back than enable, at least in my teacher voice. Otherwise pen-pin merger fronts enable. – KarlG Apr 2 at 23:55
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Different Americans speak differently. Some have secondary stress on the first syllable of undo, and most other words with the prefix un-, in which case /ʌnˈdu/ is a better transcriptions. See Oxford Dictionary Online. From the comments, some apparently don't. In this case, /ənˈdu/ would be a better transcriptions.

The difference between no stress and secondary stress, and the consequent variation in the quality of the vowel (for those Americans who pronounce /ʌ/ with a different vowel from /ə/) are relatively minor sound changes.

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In a comment, John Lawler wrote:

Phonemically, there's no difference between /ə/ and /ʌ/. They both name the same phoneme, at least in American English. [ʌ] -- the phone, not the phoneme -- is the allophone that occurs with primary stress, while [ə], shading off to [ɨ] or syllabic resonants, occurs most often as the allophone without primary stress. On the basic principle that the most common allophone should be the name of the phoneme, I use /ə/ instead of /ʌ/. Also, people vary considerably in their individual pronunciation of reduced vowels; individual variation usually swamps "official" pronunciations.

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