Tuesday, November 11, 2008
We All Make Mistakes - McCain's Schwa
I never claimed to be perfect though I did commit an error that I am a bit embarrassed about. In my post comparing Obama's name to McCain's I stated that McCain's name has only one vowel sound - WRONG. In fact, McCain's name includes the most common American English vowel sound - the schwa. When verbalizing the "Mc" portion of his name there is clearly a schwa (also called a reduced vowel) between the /m/ and the /k/. The schwa occurs in unstressed syllables because when a syllable is not stressed the vowel sound in that syllable is reduced. Interestingly, because any vowel sound can occur in an unstressed syllable and therefore be reduced there are 43 different spellings for the schwa.