HomeQ&APronunciation of "V" in words....is it a "B" sound or is it a "V" sound???

Pronunciation of "V" in words....is it a "B" sound or is it a "V" sound???

0
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This is very confusing for me. I hear people saying both. Can anyone shed any light on this subject''''

11929 views
updated JUL 30, 2009
posted by Sheree

21 Answers

2
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For the pronunciation of individual sounds (and animated diagrams that indicate the manner of articulation) you might want to visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/#. (Lazarus has provided the link to this site on various occasions.)
The main drawback is that individual sounds are identified by their IPA symbols and categorized by their method of production (fricativas/oclusivas/aspriantes/etc.) If you wish to carry on any kind of serious discussion about phonetics, it is certainly advisable to learn some of the terminology but if your problem is, simply, "How do I pronounce/produce this sound'", you may find the technical terminology intimidating.

For words (rather than specific sounds), you can "double click" on the word. This will take you to the dictionary function where (by clicking on the "speaker" icon), you can hear the word (in isolation) pronounced by "generic" Latin American. The above mentioned site also provides the pronunciation of words but they provide you with a pre-selected list (so you can't, for example, find out how do I pronounce X (where X is some particular word that you're interested in). On the other hand, given the consistency of Spanish pronunciation, if you can pronounce any given word correctly, you should be able to pronounce any other word that has a similar arrangement of letters).

Another interesting site is http://www.oddcast.com/home/demos/tts/tts_example.php'sitepal where, after choosing "Spanish" you can type a word/phrase and hear it rendered with a variety of regional accents. The primary advantage is that it treats phrases (a word may be pronounced differently in the middle of a phrase from the way it is pronounced in isolation. Another advantage is that you can choose from a variety of "speakers" (representing different geographic regions). The choices are not as fine-grained as one might wish but are better than a one-size-fits-all approach.

updated ABR 19, 2010
posted by samdie
2
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And now that I'm here, let me give you all a little IPA introduction (IPA pronunciation is enclosed in slashes //):

a) Close consonants (after pause, m or n): b (/b/), d(/d/)², g (/g/)³
b) Fricative consonants (all other cases): b (/'/), d(/ð/), g (/'/)

2 the symbol for /d/ actually has a little diacritic mark below ( ? ) indicating that the tongue must touch the teeth, but it is difficult to type here.
3 The letter g sounds like the Spanish j before the vowels e and i. In this case, the pronunciation is represented as /x/.

As you can see, phonetically they are different sounds. The symbols /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/ in the IPA match exactly the five vowels in Spanish. In American English you have, on top of the other ones, the following vowels: /'/, /'/,/'/ /'/, /'/, /'/, /'/, /'/, /æ/, /'/, /'/, /'/, plus you differentiate between short and long vowels, whereas in Spanish we don'.t In the IPA, long vowels are followed by a /'/ (e.g /u'/).

The primary stress is represented with the symbol /'/ before the stressed syllable.

Examples:

Dedo */'deðo/ (after a pause or at the beginning of a sentence)
*Me duele el dedo
/me 'ðuelel 'ðeðo/.
*Baba ***/'ba'a/**
*Se me cae la baba ***/se me kae la ''a'a/**
*Me gusta la banda ***/me ''usta la ''anda/**
*beben vino ***/'Be'en 'bino/**
*El viaje ***/el 'j'axe/**
*Un buen viaje ***/un bwen bj'axe/**
*Un mal viaje ***/un mal 'j'axe/**
*Ganar*** /ga'nar/**
*Voy a ganar*** /'boia 'a'nar/**
*Engañar*** /e'ga''ar/**

updated ABR 19, 2010
posted by lazarus1907
2
votes

I would like to hear more about this also. Thank you for your help on this Lazarus.

I'm going to kill three birds with one stone here:

After a pause, or after m or n, the consontants b (or v), d and g are pronounced stopping momentarily the passage of air totally before releasing it. The b (or v) stops the air with the lips, the d with the front part of the tongue against the teeth (in English against the alveolar ridge), and the g with the back of the tongue against the soft palate. These sounds, except for the typical explosion, or the fact that the Spanish d is articulated touching the teeth, and not the alveolar ridge, like in English, are pretty much like in English. The proper term for this articulation in phonetics is "stop", "occlusive", or "plosive".

But in all other cases (ie. where there is no pause, or the sounds m or n do not precede them), the letters b (or v), d and g are pronounced without stopping the air at all at any point. The tongue or lips approach the point where they'd normally touch to block the air stream, but without touching the other side, allowing the air to escape through a very thin gap, producing a natural vibration while doing so. The only of these "softer" sounds that has a counterpart in English is d one, in words like "the". The softer version of the b (or v) and the g do not exist in English. The proper term for this articulation in phonetics is "fricative".

Summing up, the consonants b, d and g in English are stop consonants, and the "th" can be pronounced like a fricative 'd' in some words, like "thus". The consonants b, d and g in Spanish can be pronounced as stop or fricative, depending on whether they follow a stop or m or n, or not. The consonants m and n are stop anyway, which is why the stop is unavoidable. Pronouncing any of these fricative consonants as stop ones, like in English, results in a very harsh and shocking sound for a Spanish native speaker, and it should be avoided, if one doesn't want to sound too bad.

Does this help'

updated ABR 19, 2010
posted by lazarus1907
2
votes

Sooo...would vosotros be pronounced "B" or "V"?

The English V sound does not exist in Spanish. Writing a word with V or B makes no difference in the way the word is pronounced: always like a B.

However, we have two B sounds (the same two for the V), and one of them does not exist in English.

updated ABR 19, 2010
posted by lazarus1907
0
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  1. Is it just my computer, or do others have problems reading the characters? I have mentioned this in a couple other posts, but many of the characters appear as simple squares on my screen (including the diacritic mark you footnoted). I assumed that this site was not set up for characters other than Latin.

Check the default character encoding that you browser is using. In Firefox that would be under "View" (on the uppermost tool-bar. The encoding that you want is Unicode (utf-8).

updated JUL 30, 2009
posted by samdie
0
votes

And now that I'm here, let me give you all a little IPA introduction (IPA pronunciation is enclosed in slashes //):I have been meaning to PM you recently and suggest that you instruct people where to go to learn the IPA. You have bettered that by giving them the first lesson.

  1. Is it just my computer, or do others have problems reading the characters? I have mentioned this in a couple other posts, but many of the characters appear as simple squares on my screen (including the diacritic mark you footnoted). I assumed that this site was not set up for characters other than Latin.

  2. What is the best way to be able to type these characters? Is it copy-&-paste one by one, or is there a font that includes them'

updated JUL 30, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
votes
  1. Is it just my computer, or do others have problems reading the characters? I have mentioned this in a couple other posts, but many of the characters appear a simple squares on my screen (including the diacritic mark you footnoted). I assumed that this site was not set up for characters other than Latin.

  2. What is the best way to be able to type these characters? Is it copy-&-paste one by one, or is there a font that includes them?

I'm using the English version of Firefox, with no special updates or upgrades of any kind, and all symbols look fine in this forum for me.

I copy and paste from online dictionaries with IPA pronunciation (e.g. Merriam-Webster for learners, Cambridge, Collins,...), and I just look up a word with the symbol I require. An easier way would be to type IPA in Wikipedia, I suppose.

updated JUL 29, 2009
posted by lazarus1907
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Good and helpful information, Samdie. Thanks.

updated JUL 29, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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Does this help?

YES...thank you for taking the time to explain this!

updated JUL 29, 2009
posted by --Mariana--
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Yes it does. Now I know what you meant by "two B sounds." Thank you for taking the time to lay that out so well.

I had never given any thought to this, but after reading your ample (and very clear, by the way) explanation, I focused on my pronunciation of these consonants in the two scenarios you described. And yes, there is a difference. I never knew this difference had been defined; I just thought these consonants were pronounced "softer" (my term) after vowel sounds or in the middle of a word, due to speed and flow of conversational speech. In other words, a word (or phoneme/letter) will be pronounced/sound differently if you were to excise it from a recording of speech, than it would if the same speaker were asked to pronounce the word/phoneme/letter by itself (except for some English-speaking radio/TV announcers, who fully enunciate every letter of every word, making their sentences sound like cut-and-paste compilations of "talking dictionary" entries). It would seem rather exaggerated, though, to have a plosive D/G/B sound in the middle of a word if it didn't follow a pause or m/n.

This "speed and flow of conversational speech" is what I had attributed it to, I guess subconsciously, having learned this pronunciation by mimicking natives.

This may explain why some non-native Spanish speakers/learners of Spanish say that they sometimes hear a B sound and sometimes hear a V sound (English). Although there is a difference, the fricative B/V sound in Spanish can sound a lot like the English V sound, to the nondiscerning ear.

updated JUL 29, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
0
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The Spanish "B/V" between 2 vowels is very soft. I think I remember Lazarus saying that the lips don't actually touch.

Trabajo
Llevar
Estaba

...but Spanish is not my native language so...

Patch.

updated JUL 29, 2009
posted by patch
0
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However, we have two B sounds (the same two for the V), and one of them does not exist in English.Could you compare and contrast these sounds with their uses? Thanks, Lazarus.

I would like to hear more about this also. Thank you for your help on this Lazarus.

updated JUL 29, 2009
posted by --Mariana--
0
votes

However, we have two B sounds (the same two for the V), and one of them does not exist in English.Could you compare and contrast these sounds with their uses? Thanks, Lazarus.

updated JUL 28, 2009
posted by hhmdirocco
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Would someone listen to learn spanish 1.4 or mabey 1.5 it sounds like Paralee says "Voh-so-tros"

updated JUL 28, 2009
posted by eric_collins
0
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Gracias grin

updated JUL 28, 2009
posted by Sheree
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