English Jade Lesson Twenty One: Schwa Noun Suffixes

In this lesson you will learn how to pronounce the schwa sound /ə/ in noun suffixes.

A suffix is a spelling pattern at the end of a word such as -acy, -ial, -ance, -ism.

A suffix is added to the root word. For example:

root word — happy

+ noun suffix — ness

= happiness (n) /ˈhæp.i.nəs/

Noun suffixes are unstressed and include a schwa sound. Non-native speakers often mispronounce noun suffixes by stressing them.

Click the audio player link below to listen to this podcast lesson on how to pronounce the schwa in noun suffixes. Here are a few example words taken from the lesson:


democracy (-acy noun suffix)

criminal (-al noun suffix)

avoidance (-ance noun suffix)

random (-dom noun suffix)

professor (-or noun suffix)

feminism (-ism noun suffix)

personality (-ity noun suffix)

improvement (-ment noun suffix)


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About Jade Joddle Jade Joddle is a speech and voice teacher who gives her non-native speaker clients back the confidence they had in their native language. She teaches high-level professionals to Speak Well in English so that they thrive and succeed.