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Uh huh. The schwa / ə /. Great starting point for learning accents

Ever watched a film or play where the accent is really good but somehow not quite right? Often it’s the weak syllables that are out of place rather than the strong, obvious sounds.

So what is the ‘schwa’? Anyone who has studied English as a second language or learned a different accent of English as a native speaker has probably heard of it. It is the neutral, weak vowel that only occurs in unstressed syllables (unless the speaker is from New Zealand or South Africa, where it occurs in stressed syllables too in place of the stressed phoneme / ɪ / ).

How not to typecast an accent.

What is typecasting? So you are learning a new accent for a role, audition, or to help with clear communication. The process of picking up an accent is natural to few, and difficult to many. An accent involves a complex jigsaw of voice placement, sounds, rhythm and intonation, and how they are embedded in our subconscious speech reflex which is in turn knitted in with our physiological and emotional selves, as is our own native accent.

The Brazilian Accent of English

Going from the north to the south of the biggest nation in South America, you really can’t quite believe you’re in the same country. Spanning over 4655 miles of coastline, Brazil is the fifth largest country by population and geographical area. Its landscape, architecture and population are so radically different, ranging from European in the south to the exotic, tropical Amazonian north. It is little wonder that you can feel like you’re on the other side of the world in just one tiny trip.