I was looking up the word "meditative", and in one dictionary, the fourth letter "i" is pronounced "ə", but in another dictionary it is pronounced "ɪ".

I don't know which phonetic symbol I should follow (for British English). I listened to the voice samples in both dictionaries, and they all sound like "ɪ".

I need some guidelines.

  • 1
    Either one is fine.
    – Alex B.
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 0:05

1 Answer 1


These sounds are almost the same, and really are only different for people who pronounce "Rosa's" and "roses" differently.

Phonetically, ə is lower and more open than ɪ, but they are both pretty centralized unstressed schwa-like vowels.

  • Which one for 'roses'?
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 4, 2012 at 23:56
  • @Mitch For those who make the distinction, "Rosa's" is [ɹo:zəz], "roses" is [ɹo:zɪz] Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 1:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.