Many schwas

Tom Zurinskas truespel at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 24 21:10:04 UTC 2009

Thanks Grant.  Of course from my perspective (starting with present letter-sound relationships) it matters not if there were others before that agreed or disagreed with me.  Pronunciation changes.  It's just a matter of calling them as you hear them.

I'm more than hoppy-horse interested after dedicating myself to rewriting the English language and writing four books analyzing it, and I can witness that schwa represents many sounds as I heard words pronounced in talking dictionaries and hear them now.

In order to stay away from special symbols, I converted schwas into the phonemes they best represent.  Often a close call.  See the converter at for the result.

The databases in the truespel books are available for researchers.

Tom Zurinskas, USA - CT20, TN3, NJ33, FL5+

> Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 09:34:01 -0500
> From: gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
> Subject: Many schwas
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: American Dialect Society
> Poster: Grant Barrett
> Subject: Many schwas
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Feb 16, 2009, at 13:29, Tom Zurinskas wrote:
>> What amazes me is that folks call these two n's different phonemes
>> and yet they think schwa is one phoneme when it is in reality many.
> I hesitate to encourage you, Tom, given your oft-ridden pronunciation,
> hobby horses, but I feel compelled to say that, having spent some time
> recently with the Century Dictionary, I find that the pronunciation
> editors there also believed that there were many schwa sounds.
> The Century Dictionary (first published in 1889, last revised in 1911,
> and last published in 1914) pronunciations are given using a system of
> the editor's own devising. The key contains the following types of
> schwa sounds:
> a with a macron above and a dot below: prelate, captain, courage, adage
> e with a macron above and a dot below: episcopal, abnegate, aggregate
> o with a macron above and a dot below: abrogate, eulogy, democrat
> u with a macron above and a dot below: singular, education.
> accumulate, accentuate
> a with two dots below: aback, abandon, errant, republican
> e with two dots below: absent, abstinent, absorbent, prudent, difference
> i with two dots below: charity, density
> o with two dots below: abandon, ablution, valor, actor, idiot
> a with dieresis and two dots below: Persia, peninsula
> e with macron and two dots below: ("as in _the_ [/thuh/] book") jack-
> in-the-box, nevertheless, stick-in-the-mud
> u with macron and two dots below: acupressure, adventure, nature,
> feature
> Grant Barrett
> gbarrett at
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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