Pronunciation of the Schwa Sound

Posted on Sep 21 2016 - 4:05am by Zdenda

The schwa sound is the most frequent sound in English. It appears in nearly every word, therefore, it is of paramount importance that students can hear and produce this sound correctly. To help them I have prepared this post. You will find several exercises to help your students produce and hear the schwa sound.

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Schwa Sound – video

At the beginning of the lesson, play the following video by BBC Learning English. The formation of the sound is explained and demonstrated here. Moreover, you can practise the sound too.

Display the following picture and explain the position of the tongue and lips. The lips are opened but not too much and the tongue is relaxed in its natural position.
Give your students a chance to produce the sound.

Schwa sound picture

Schwa – listening

Here you can find a series of exercises to tune your learners´ ears to the sound. In the first exercise, students listen and count how many schwa sounds they hear.

In the second exercise, students listen and write the sentences they hear.

Schwa sound – speaking

Print the following exercise. Students fold the paper in the middle and they underline the places where they expect the schwa sound. Then play the recording and ask the students to check their answers. In the end, the students open the worksheet and check their answers.

Schwa sound worksheet

The recording of the story is here:

Then ask the students to read the text aloud and check that they use the schwa sound.

I hope you find this post useful. If you would like to see more of our pronunciation posts, go to the voiceless TH sound over here.

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