Vowel Schwa is the central vowel. Keep the tongue in a resting, central position for this sound. Vowel Schwa is written as /ə/ when unstressed, and as /ʌ/ when stressed. The pronunciation is the same, but stressed Schwa will generally have a longer duration. Unstressed Schwa will be short in duration.
Common errors on Vowel Er are rolling the r (using the front of the tongue, see Initial R for details), or using vowel schwa /ə/ instead of vowel er /ə˞/. Make sure your tongue is bunched up in the back of the mouth, and tense rather than lax.
If you are having difficulty making the vowel er sound in words, additional practice with the sound in different context may help you. Use the recording below to practice "er" with different consonants.
If your -er at the ends of words isn't strong, you may benefit from the following trick. Say the word with the -er, followed by the word "red." For example, say "paper+red, paperred." Then repeat, but instead of saying "red," whisper it. Last, repeat the -er word, and just think "red." The R in red will "jump back" and strengthen the -er. You can practice this technique with the recording below.
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How to use this page
Find your target sound. Listen to the words. Repeat each word until you are confident in your pronunciation. Use your recording tool to record the sample and your word. Playback and compare. Repeat until your production matches the sample.