Minimal pair pronunciation /ɜː/ and /ə/

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[ɜː] and [ə] are phonetic symbols representing 2 absolutely different sounds.

[ə] is called schwa, which is a very short neutral vowel sound. We hear it at the end of the word “mother“, “father“, “teacher” etc. (if the accent of the speaker is not American because Americans add “r”): [‘mʌðə], [‘fɑːðə], [‘tiːʧə].

[ɜː] can be heard in “bird” [bɜːd], “hurt” [hɜːt], “heard” [hɜːd].

See the phonetic chart below:

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