Analysis of two favourite tweets

G’day, bloke and Shiela

Today, I should like to touch upon my two favourite tweets. I’ve resumed taking advantage of Twitter since the beginning of 2020, thanks to the fairly successful progression of my own small English & consulting business. Anyway, the first one I’d like to talk about is this piece of my tweet:

This one is a bit of my confession as to how I’ve been studying English as of today. Although I haven’t continuously studied English itself over the past two decades or so, I’ve gone through some degrees of hardship, or wax and wane periods. And, of course, I’ve earned three separate Master’s degree here in Australia. So, not just focussing on English study per se, but also learning new things such as International Relations, Military strategy as well as Information Technology. That was all fun!

Let me go back to the tweet, just looking back on my teenage era, I haven’t strenuously studied anything at all. However, when I turned 21 year-old I’ve become infatuated with English language and started learning it pretty seriously. The chief reason why is that I’ve met one guy who was extremely famous for writing ‘Akabon’ (or University Entrance Examination text in Japan). Ever since I met him, we used to have a frequent catch-up at cafes. Quite simply, I liked him very much indeed. For instance, he knew nearly 100,000 English words, which is a jaw-dropping accomplishment of his English career. I wasn’t really sure how he memorised. But, now I realised it is very straightforward. Learning words from word roots!!

Next up, please have a look at this tweet:

This tweet was about how IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) works for refining your pronunciation. This chart has some flaws in vowels. One of my Twitter followers suggested:

ə sound (=Schwa) is closely associated with ɜː sound. And, in fact, I think they are almost the same. But, this phonetic chart indicates that they are different pronunciation. Also, he pointed out that an example for ə sound isn’t good one. I know why he said that. This is because this er for teacher comes from r-sound, so why this example is here, not consonants. Yeah it makes sense to me as well. Bird and teacher are the same pronunciation at the end.

Secondly, ə sound and ʌ are also the same. This one is a bit sceptical for me as ʌ sound is more like Japanese vowel ‘A あ’, not ‘r’ sound. Usually, Japanese people studying English tend to be stuck in the difference between soft A sound æ and ʌ sound. As for æ sound, we Japanese call it as ambiguous or unclear vowel between あ and え, whereas ʌ sound is akin to あ, where you are opening your mouth. Overall, I don’t really think they are the same pronunciation.

Last and but not least, soft A sound αː and ɒ sound is the same, he said. Despite these having deceptively the same a: sound, I don’t think they are exactly the same sound, to be honest. Again, an example for ɒ sound is ‘on’, but this o sounds more like ə sound rather than αː sound, precisely because this phonetic symbol should be sounded like あー (=Ah in English). This means that you should open your mouth when you are pronouncing this symbol, not a relaxing way of using your tongue like ɒ sound.

In conclusion, thanks for his very esoteric or niche suggestions, but I agreed with one thing, which is the difference between ə sound (=Schwa) and ɜː sound. They should be controversial amongst linguists. I should like to demystify these kinda phonetic things.

Thanks for reading today!

Have a lovely one, ta!

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: