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short u sound Options
Quay
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 5:29:49 AM

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Is it just me or does the short u sound sound just like a schwa?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 5:50:03 AM

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It's not just you. (What is your first language, by the way? Sometimes it helps in making examples.)

It is about 20% of Britons (mainly in the south-east of England).

I have had three people remark to me (and I've heard from others) that some English people pronounce 'angry' and 'hungry' the same.

My accent is different. The Northern English pronounce 'u' as 'u', as in "Umberto" in Italian. We may omit the 'h', but "angry" and "'ungry" do not both sound like "əngry" in any accent north of Watford or west of Berkshire/Oxfordshire.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 5:57:22 AM

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To add some.

The people who pronounce 'u' like a schwa are the same ones who pronounce the short 'a' as 'ah' on this map (the pink guys).

Romany
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 6:54:06 AM
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Perhaps I'm an 'anomoly' then.? Of course I pronounce 'bath' correctly (!) with the 'ar' sound. But my 'hungry' and 'angry' aren't capable of being confused. Then again, my accent can go through about 3 different incarnations within the course of a single conversation.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 7:15:08 AM

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I've heard English-speaking people pronounce 'u' in "but" at least five different ways ;-)
NKM
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 11:09:57 PM

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I'm hesitant to say that the short u sounds just like a schwa, but I think to most of us Americans the two sounds are (at least) almost the same.

Then again, almost any unstressed vowel is likely to be pronounced as schwa, at least some of the time by some of the people.

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, November 18, 2016 6:10:39 AM

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I guess it is not in the careful speech of someone listening to himself/herself, but in the quick everyday comment.

If you listen to the sounds of 'angry' and 'hungry' in the dictionary, they are quite distinct.

But listen to a West Sussex resident commenting "Mum, I'm hungry." and you hear "Mǝm, am ǝngry" /Mǝm æm ǝngry/, which is really no different from "Mum, I'm angry".

***************
People in the north of England (and in Scotland) have 'broad' accents - the vowels are more distinct.

Listen to the American and British pronunciations on this page - the first sound is a short 'u' sound.
The British one is a "southern accent" sound (the 'U' and the first 'a' sound almost the same). The American one is the same as a "northern British" accent 'u'.
Quay
Posted: Friday, November 18, 2016 3:34:09 PM

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States
[quote=Drag0nspeaker]It's not just you. (What is your first language, by the way? Sometimes it helps in making examples.)

It is about 20% of Britons (mainly in the south-east of England).

I have had three people remark to me (and I've heard from others) that some English people pronounce 'angry' and 'hungry' the same.

My accent is different. The Northern English pronounce 'u' as 'u', as in "Umberto" in Italian. We may omit the 'h', but "angry" and "'ungry" do not both sound like "əngry" in any accent north of Watford or west of Berkshire/Oxfordshire.
[/quote

My first language is English. Grew up in Kansas, USA.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2016 3:41:08 PM

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HI!
Kansas to NY - I know the 'stereotyped' NY accent, but not really the Kansas one - though I guess there is quite a difference between areas - Pittsburgh and the plains are different worlds.

I've posted this video a few times, but can't find the threads now, so here it is again.
This girl has a very similar accent to the one I grew up with.
In the first minute, she says "He doesn't juggle" and "He likes onions".
"Juggle" and "onions" use the northern 'short u' sound for their first syllables.

***********
It is not just the short 'u' - the long 'oo' sound has a similar difference.

In the south-east, "back" and "buck" are similar, as you say. There is a difference, but it's slight.
"Book" is pronounced with a short 'u' - as I would say 'buck'.

In the north, "book" and "moon" have the same vowel-sound.

********
Romany - whose area of expertise is history of the English language - mentioned in another thread that most of the people who left the British Isles for "the colonies" were from north of London (and Scotland and Ireland) - so the language which became 'American' was more influenced by these accents than by 'court English'.
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