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Why the 'schwa' called 'SCHWA'? and What is 'flap'?

If you know those, could you please help me?

And are there special way to get it more easy?

I'd like to try those.

Thanks in advance :)

Aug 20, 2016 2:16 AM
Comments · 5

The schwa is a completely neutral sound in English - like a little grunt. I use a couple of drill methods in class so the students can get the right sound. There are a number of youtube videos which demonstrate it, so have a look and see what you can work out.

The flap - usually for D/T and very rarely for R - exists in a couple of English accents, but it's not the most important part of pronunciation. Still, it's something you can practise once you know when you can use it. In my regional accent, it doesn't exist at all... even in educated accents.

August 20, 2016
“Schwa” is the name the Masoretes (Hebrew Bible scholars) gave to the reduced vowel over 1000 years ago in Tiberias. I think it originally meant "emptiness" -- you'll find an explanation in the Wikipedia.

“Flap” usually refers to a type of apicoalveolar R that is made by quickly striking (“flapping”) the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth, briefly blocking the air stream completely, and letting the tongue bounce back off. The flow of air is interrupted for the shortest possible time. This is how the single R is pronounced in Spanish, and usually in Japanese, and in Korean between vowels. This is different from a D, where the tongue remains pressed against the roof of the mouth for a little while longer.  In other positions, Korean usually uses a “lateral,” which means that only the middle (not the sides) of the tongue is allowed to rest against the roof of the mouth, while air flows freely along the sides.

An R with multiple flaps is said to be “trilled” or “rolled.”
August 20, 2016
The flapped T is used in American English word finally between vowels, and between vowels within a word if the vowel right after the T (or TT) is unaccented. This is often called a quick D. (Note that the quick D sound like a Korean R more than a Korean D.) Some British (Western England) English accents do this as well, at least word-finally.

The Ts (but not the THs) in the following sentence are all pronounced as flaps in American English. It's sure to come up in conversation, so you may want to practice it ;)

Betty bought a bit of bitter butter that made’r batter bitter, so Betty bought a bit of better butter that made’r batter better.
August 20, 2016

Thank you so much! 

Your correct explanations are really helpful to understand to practice it!

By the way, I think I might do not eat butter, beacuse of flap. lol

August 20, 2016

Flap 't' at the end of words sounds like 'd' in the american english.

August 20, 2016
Language Skills
English, Korean, Latin
Learning Language
English, Latin