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In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa (ɑː/, rarely ɔː/ or ɑː/; sometimes spelled shwa) is the mid central vowel sound (rounded or unrounded) in the middle of the vowel chart, denoted by the IPA symbol ə, or another vowel sound close to that position. An example in English is the vowel sound of the 'a' in the word about. Schwa in English is mainly found in unstressed positions, but in some other languages it occurs more frequently as a stressed vowel.
In relation to certain languages, the name "schwa" and the symbol ə may be used for some other unstressed and tonelessneutral vowel, not necessarily mid-central.