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B sound or V sound?


When do you use the "B" sound instead of the "V" sound? For example vamos or bamos? Gracias.

updated FEB 20, 2010
edited by aitchisonpam
posted by aitchisonpam

3 Answers


In Spanish, both letters represent the same sound.

updated FEB 17, 2010
posted by samdie
Agree. In pronounciation, you'll never notice which is which - Benz, FEB 17, 2010

The best way to understand this is by taking a Spanish linguistic class which explains that certain letters are pronounced a certain way in certain environments.

When a "b", which is called "b" grande, or a "v", which is called v chica, appear at the beginning of a word, they are supposed to be pronounced as what we call a simple "b" in English. We actually pronounce it in a very "hard" way, and Spanish, being a romance language, doesn't pronounce it as hard, even when it is in the "b" form. Add a little whisper, or barely touch your lips together. It's not like saying "bat". Say it outloud, it's terribly harsh in English. (The "d" in Spanish is similar)

Say the word, "vato", "burro", they make the same sound at the beginning of a word.

Now say, "conservador". It's really hard to force yourself to say a "b" in place of a "v" in this word. It's because of the location of the "v" and that it is next to at least one vowel, I think.... I can't recall the exact rule, maybe someone else can help me out, but unless you majored in Spanish, it's really rare to run into scholars who know these principles. I took a 300 level Spanish Linguistic class, and it really helped me when listening to native speakers and also when listening to songs.

updated FEB 20, 2010
edited by pilipina
posted by pilipina

Its interchangeable. You can use those sounds whenever you want. People will under stand you either way. For example, Ese bato (vato) todavia vive...or....¿En que varrio (barrio) vives?

updated FEB 17, 2010
posted by Rey_Mysterio
This may be the actual practice, but not the case... see my answer below - pilipina, FEB 17, 2010
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