camera (pronunciation of the last phoneme)


Senior Member
Despite phonemes are written as /ˈkæmərə/ the last one is heard as /a/ to me. Is it just my personal illusion or you as native speakers hear it in the same way and I should pronounce it as if it was /a/ instead of /ə/ at the end?
"Camera" (Wordreference dictionary)
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    There is one word, 'cinema', where both pronunciations are common for the last syllable. I have never heard any kind of full /a/ vowel in 'camera' or any other such word.


    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    Despite phonemes are written as /ˈkæmərə/ the last one is heard as /a/ to me.
    I might choose /ʌ/ or /ʊ/ or some other vowel. In my dialect, the last two syllables in the three syllable word "camera" have quite different vowel sounds. Writing them both as /ə/ is wrong. I hear the difference in the audioclip on the linked page.

    The term "schwa" has two different common meanings:

    1. one specific IPA sound (/ə/)

    2. One of a variety of "reduced" vowel sounds. In English, a vowel in an unstressed syllable often changes from the clearly pronounced sound to a "reduced" vowel sound. That is done by not pronouncing it fully. The result is a variety of sounds, not the intentionally pronounced sound /ə/.

    Some modern dictionaries (including the WR dictionary) seem to use /ə/ with both meanings.


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Listening to the eight pronunciations at the WRD link given by the OP, I find most of them don't sound like /ə/. It's not a full-blown /a/ either, but on a sliding scale (as hinted at in dojibear's point 2), I'd say it's a little closer to the /a/ end, or at least half way.