One of the distinctive aspects of the English language is the use of the "neutral vowel". In phonetic language is is seen as the upside down 'e' (which incidentally I cannot find on my keyboard!). It gives English speech is flow and it links the sounds of the language together.
There are a couple of particular uses of the neutral vowel that seem to be dropping away and it is my opinion this is just another nail in the coffin of our beautiful language.
One rule worth noting is the pronunciation of the word "the". There are two ways to say this...."the" and "thee"..and there is a rule and it's easy.
Say "the" when the word it is before starts with a consonant sound.
Say "thee" when the word it is before starts with a vowel sound.
So "thee apple" and "the banana".
WHY? It makes sense......saying "the apple" creates two jerky type sounds "ah" and 'a" which sound...well, just ugly....."thee apple" flows...try it......you will see (it's not going to make your speech posh or snooty, just easier to listen to).
On another note.....
Did you know there are no "s" sounds in the Maori language? When Europeans first arrived to NZ, the Maori were reputed to have called them the "hissing people".