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Jüngst stoße ich in Beiträgen zu diesem Forum vermehrt auf den Begriff Tiefschwa für den fast offenen Zentralvokal ​ɐ​ - also etwa wie das er in Brüderchen.

Der Name Tiefschwa ist zwar von den Aussprachegewohnheiten her einleuchtend. Aber wenn es ein Tiefschwa gibt (oder die Notwendigkeit einer solchen Abgrenzung von einem nicht weiter spezifizierten Schwa), gibt es dann auch ein Hochschwa?

Die Eingabe der Suchtermini "Tiefschwa Hochschwa" in eine Internet-Suchmaschine ergab bei mir genau Null Treff​ɐ​. Eine Maschinensuche nach "Hochschwa" führte mich in den Hochschwarzwald.

Wissen Forum-Les​ɐ​ me​ɐ​?

Warum sagt man zum e-Schwa (danke an den Kommentator CarstenS!) nicht Hochschwa?

  • Du kannst nach dem e-Schwa im Gegensatz zum a-Schwa suchen. – Carsten S Oct 31 '18 at 18:08
  • @CarstenS Danke, damit kommen wir der Antwort eine Spur häher, aber eigenartigerweise sagt man nicht "Hochschwa" dazu, oder? – Christian Geiselmann Oct 31 '18 at 19:01
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    Keine Ahnung, aber ich nehme an, dass das andere Schwa einfach das „normale“ ist und daher keinen besonderen Namen hat. – Carsten S Oct 31 '18 at 19:02
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My answer is only a personal opinion and reflects how I understand the IPA terminology. If you take a look at the formal chart of IPA, you can see how and where each vowel is represented:

enter image description here

They are represented in a polygonal shape that depicts the oral cavity. Each vowel is described by terms that indicate its position in the oral cavity such as front, centeral, back on the anterior-posterior axis, and close, mid, open on the superior-inferior axis of the oral cavity. Each vowel is described according to its position in the oral cavity. Vowels are not described according to their relative positions to each others.

E-schwa is defined as:

  • Its vowel height is mid, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a close vowel and an open vowel.

  • Its vowel backness is central, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel.

  • It is unrounded, which means that the lips are not rounded.

This schwa can not be described as *highschwa or *Hochschwa because it does not occur in the upper half of the oral cavity.

A-schwa is defined:

  • Its vowel height is near-open, also known as near-low, which means the tongue is positioned similarly to an open vowel, but is slightly more constricted – that is, the tongue is positioned similarly to a low vowel, but slightly higher.

  • Its vowel backness is central, which means the tongue is positioned halfway between a front vowel and a back vowel.

  • It is rounded, which means that the lips are rounded rather than spread or relaxed.

This schwa occurs in the lower half of the oral cavity, so describing it as a low schwa (Tiefschwa) is legitimate.

In conclusion, there is a schwa, there is a Tiefschwa, but there can not be a *Hochschwa.

  • Some variants of English distinguish between the unstressed vowels in Rosa's and roses. The latter is sometimes called a high schwa, or even schwi. – Marc Schütz Nov 1 '18 at 8:13
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    @MarcSchütz That is no doubt possible. The previous chart is only about the standard language. If we want to consider dialects, I have seen more than 10 other different charts that represent the major dialects in US. Each dialect has its own chart and its own set of phonemes and vowels. – Abdullah Nov 1 '18 at 8:24

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