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2.1.5. ə/ɚ/ɝː

ə 在美式英语中有三个版本,非重读音节央元音 ə(schwa),儿化短元音 ɚ 和儿化长元音 ɝː

In American English, there are three versions of the sound ə, including the schwa ə, which is used in unstressed syllables, the rhotacized short vowel ɚ, and the rhotacized long vowel ɝː.

初学者容易矫枉过正,遇到所有的 ə 都要读成儿化音…… 比如,可能会把 focus ˈfoʊkəs 错读成 ˈfoʊkɚs

Beginners tend to overdo it and add a r whenever they encounter these sounds, for example, mispronouncing focus ˈfoʊkəs as ˈfoʊkɚs.

ɚɝː 这两个儿化音,有两种发声方式,一种是凭直觉卷起舌尖,这也是绝大多数初学者发这个音的唯一选择。

The rhotacized ɚ and ɝː sounds, can be produced in two different ways. Most beginners instinctively curl their tongue tip to produce this sound, as it's generally the only method they're familiar with.

由于这个音发声时的舌头动作是别人看不见的,所以,人们在学这个发音的时候,无法猜到第二种方式:舌尾部分抬起来,使舌的两侧接触到后牙。舌尾的中心部分较低,空气通过这个凹槽产生声音。

articulator-tongue-tip-ɚ

Since the tongue's movements are invisible during speech, it's difficult for learners to guess the second method, which involves lifting the back part of the tongue, and allowing the sides of the tongue to touch the back teeth. The center of the tongue's rear is slightly lowered, creating a groove for the air to pass through and generate the sound.

事实上,其他的儿化音也都可以用这种方式发声。不妨用这种方式重新试试 card kɑːrd, mark mɑːrk;再试试 door dɔːr, short ʃɔːrt, poor pʊr, your jʊr…… 试过之后,再进行比较,你会发现更多的时候,第二种方式比第一种方式更方便。

In fact, you can use this method to pronounce other rhotacized vowels as well. Give it a shot with words like card kɑːrd and mark mɑːrk again; and then try it out with door dɔːr, short ʃɔːrt, poor pʊr, and your jʊr... After giving it a try, you'll notice that more often than not, the second method is more convenient than the first.

另外,辅音 ʃ/ʒtʃ/dʒ 在发音的时候,舌尾也是同样的位置。

Moreover, when pronouncing the consonants ʃ/ʒ (2.2.8) and tʃ/dʒ (2.2.10), the position of the back part of the tongue is the same.

值得注意的是,美式英语的 ɚɝː 在发音时,舌尖从不接触牙或者龈嵴

It should be noted, in American English pronunciation, the tongue tip never touches the teeth or the alveolar ridge when making the rhotacized ɚ or ɝː sound.

注意,在连贯的自然语音中,很多非重音音节的元音,都有被简化成 əschwa)的倾向,尤其是 ɪ。比如,individual, ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒuəl,实际上会被读作 ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒəwəl —— u 也变成了 ə,而后 uə 之间有个加音 w…… 事实上,现在已经有很多词典干脆直接标注成了后者。

Keep in mind that in fluent, natural speech, many unstressed vowel sounds in syllables are often simplified to ə (schwa), especially ɪ. For instance, individual ˌɪndɪˈvɪdʒjʊəl, is often actually pronounced as ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒəwəl - u also becomes ə, and there's a added w sound between u and ə… In fact, many dictionaries now straightforwardly use the latter phonetic annotation.