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Neutral vowel

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Neutral vowel the vowel element having an obscure and indefinite quality, such as is commonly taken by the vowel in many unaccented syllables. It is regarded by some as identical with the ŭ in up, and is called also the natural vowel, as unformed by art and effort; it is also called the indefinite vowel. It is symbolized in some phonetic alphabets by the schwaə). See Guide to Pronunciation, § 17.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Neutral vowel the vowel-sound heard in but, firm, her, &c., and commonly in unaccented syllables
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. neutralisneuter, neither.

Usage


In news:

In casual speech, it's common to neutralize the vowels in unstressed syllables, so that "benefit" becomes "ben-uh-fit" and "integrity" becomes "in-teg-ruh-ty".
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