Home / English Lessons / [v] vs. [b] | English Pronunciation Lesson for Spanish Speakers | La Pronunciación de Inglés: Lección

[v] vs. [b] | English Pronunciation Lesson for Spanish Speakers | La Pronunciación de Inglés: Lección

Listen to the audio while reading the text:

Because Spanish doesn’t distinguish the [v] vs. [b], many Spanish speakers fail to distinguish the two sounds when speaking English. However, the sounds are clearly different to a native English speaker and should be accurately produced so not to confuse the listener.

[v] 

The key to saying the [v] sound correctly is to:

  • put the top teeth against the bottom lip (or just behind the bottom lip); and
  • vibrate.

Let’s Practice

  • [v]

Can you feel the top teeth vibrating against the bottom lip?

  • [v]

[b]

To create the [b] sound:

  • press your lips together; and
  • release one strong puff of air.
  • the vocal chords should vibrate.

Let’s Practice

  • [b]
  • [b]

Notice that you can hold the [v] sound for a long time, as opposed the [b], which is produced with one strong puff of air.

Let’s Practice 

  • [v]…[v]…[v]…[v] (<– hold)
  • [b] (<–just one puff of air; can’t be held)
  • [v]…[v]…[v]…[v]
  • [b]

Listen and repeat

Notice what how your lips and top teeth are interacting when producing the [b] and [v].

  • very  [Vɛ riy]
  • berry  [Bɛ riy]
  • volt  [VOWLT]
  • bolt  [BOWLT]
  • vest  [VɛST]
  • best  [BɛST]
  • have it  [V  vɪt]
  • habit  [B  bɪt]
  • vowel  [VÆUW  wəɫ]
  • bowel  [BÆUW  wəɫ]
  • vote  [VOWT]
  • boat  [BOWT]
  • van  [VÆN]
  • ban  [BÆN]

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2 comments

  1. First of thx for the lessons i find them quite helpful and sorry, i normally don’t do this kind of stuff but i feel like i should let you know that in Spanish or at least proper Spanish its the same, the v and b sounds are different and they do make the same sounds as in English, even Spanish speakers that speak without making use of the different sounds knows they are different and when they tell pronounce just the b or v make the different sounds, like for example tell any Spanish speaker to say vino (whine) and you will notice him saying the v sound.

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