In our country, we really don’t have the “unstressed schwa”

How do I find this one? is there a technique?

How do I find the unstressed schwa with these word? Thanks

  1. occur
  2. history
  3. curious
  4. actor
  5. frozen
  • 3
    Dictionaries have pronunciation guides, which they explain. Apr 15, 2020 at 14:18
  • 3
    Replace the vowel sounds, one at a time, with an apostrophe: Say the word with the apostrophe. Which word sounds closest to the original word? ++ occur > 'ccur ? occ'r. ++ history > h'story > hist'ry, etc.
    – Greybeard
    Apr 15, 2020 at 14:36
  • An "unstressed schwa" before a resonant (/m, n, ŋ, l, r/) is frequently converted into a syllabic resonant with no schwa vowel at all. (5) is a good example; it's pronounced /'fro:zn/ in American English, with the final /n/ pronounced as a syllable. Apr 15, 2020 at 17:28
  • If it helps you, in Hebrew, there's a moving schwa that is so slight, it's the non-syllable between the F and R of FRozen. So that's a very unstressed schwa. Feb 11, 2021 at 23:59

1 Answer 1


There are dictionaries online that allow input of an English word and it will show the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

IPA — Speech Active

What is /ə/ in the dictionary? The symbol /ə/ (an upside down ‘e’) is used in the dictionary to show the most common weak vowel in English, which is pronounced as a relaxed ‘uh’. /ə/ is called ‘schwa’.


On this site, after inputting the word, one needs to click "Show IPA" to get that result.

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