E in the unstressed syllable


Senior Member

If E is in the stressed syllable, it would be pronounced as the vowel in bed.
But if e is in an unstressed syllable (for instance, the first E in escape), it could be pronounced as the schwa or the vowel in bit.
I can understand that a vowel can be (and is generally) pronounced as the schwa in an unstressed syllable.
But why can it be pronounced as [ɪ], the vowel in bit?
Is it because [ɪ] has something in common with the schwa?

Thanks a lot.
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Different speakers pronounce some vowels with slight differences, stephenlearner. Both the short "i" and the schwa sound possible to me as pronunciations of the first vowel in "escape".


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I don't think there's any point asking why we might use [ɪ] for the unstressed <e>. The fact is that many of us do, and it can be a way of disambiguating between words. For me, for example, the verbs affect and effect are always pronounced differently, and therefore I have no problem with how each is spelt either. On the other hand bases and basis are pronounced the same way for me! There will be accent differences. Australian English, for example, prefers the schwa for the unaccented <e>.
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