IPA transcription for project as a verb: /prəˈdʒɛkt/

while the standard pronunciation across different accents is heard as "pruh-ject", in practice I sometimes hear something more like "pro-ject" rather than "pruh-ject" and more of a əʊ sound as in /prəʊˈdʒɛkt/

it's the same sometimes for words with a ə present where there is, or before the beginning of lexical stress:

/əbˈtruːd/ (ob-trude and uhb-trude)

/prəˈtruːsɪv/ (pro-trucive and pruh-trucive)

for words like these (or at least the ones in my question if it's too broad an ask) are the alternative pronunciations I've listed also valid and acceptable ways of pronouncing them?

1 Answer 1


I think this is right but backward.

If spoken slowly with each syllable enunciated then a vowel sound like /əʊ/ is formed. But at normal speed, this vowel tends to be reduced to a schwa.

So it isn't a schwa morphing to a diphthong, but a diphthong reducing to a schwa.

If you pronounce all the vowels that would normally be reduced, your speech would seem unnaturally slow. If you only pronounce some, it would have the effect of adding emphasis to the words that you enunciate.

There is a recent question about schwa on our sister site, Linguistics: https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/45257/is-schwa-a-phoneme-in-english

  • I see. It's only a byproduct of talking slowly, and usually one would aim to pronounce it without the morphing. Very well.
    – Ethicist
    Oct 2, 2022 at 3:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .