HomeQ&AHow to pronounce the Spanish letter "v"...

How to pronounce the Spanish letter "v"...

2
votes

Take vosotros for example:

I've heard both "bosotros" and "Vosotros"... Which is correct? Or is this a regional thing?

Thanks much,

39452 views
updated Mar 28, 2013
posted by steric

7 Answers

3
votes

The V is pronounced exactly like the B. However, some bilingual native speakers who speak another language with the V sound like in English, tend to sometimes do the same in Spanish, if only slightly. Spanish speakers who also speak English often force the V sound when asked by English speakers, but the V sound is not Spanish. Centuries before Spanish conquistadors invaded the Americas, Spanish speakers were renown in Europe because they were incapable of telling apart the B form the V, and kept mixing them even in writing, and that's because the V sound disappeared long time ago from the language.

One problem that English speakers have is that the letter B has two sounds in Spanish (and only one in English), and this is not mentioned in many books for some strange reason (it is mentioned in all serious ones, of course). The letter V also has the same two sounds as the letter B, but none of those sounds is the English V.

updated Aug 3, 2011
edited by lazarus1907
posted by lazarus1907
i've had many spanish teachers (from south america) who would not agree with this and are adimate that they are different sounds. - toothpastechica, Aug 3, 2011
It is up to them whether they agree or not, but the historical facts remain facts, regardless of their opinion. - lazarus1907, Aug 3, 2011
Besides, the linguistic Academies from all Latin American countries (and even USA) are formed by famous writers and expert in linguistics, and they all say the same: there is no B/V distinction, except when there is interference with a second language. - lazarus1907, Aug 3, 2011
Those Spanish teachers you mention are probably influenced by a second language too. Ask them whether they have studied general and historical linguistics or they are just generalizing from their narrow daily experience as native speakers. - lazarus1907, Aug 3, 2011
Are those Spanish teachers aware that the B alone has two distinct sounds? - lazarus1907, Aug 3, 2011
everything that i have ever heard from both acedemic teachers and people who dont know any english at all says that a v is prounoced like a soft b (or inbetween a v and b) Historic linguistics has it place, but there are distinctions in many places. - toothpastechica, Aug 3, 2011
2
votes

The rules that I learned about "b" and "v" (they make the same sound) are rather simple.

If the letter is at the start of a word or after an "l," "m," "n," or "s," then it makes the "b" (/b/) sound like in English. But there's no puff of air after it in Spanish like there is in English.

If it's anywhere else, the sound is one that doesn't exist in Spanish, /?/. This sound is produced in a manner similar to the English "v" (/v/), but instead of touching the bottom lip to the upper teeth, both lips are in front of the teeth (like when making the "b" sound) and air is blown through them in a voiced manner. You can hear it on this Wikipedia page.

Now, Wikipedia also says (look at the "Phonetic notes" section) that the "v" (/v/) sound can occur where there is an "f" (/f/) before voiced consonants, but that there's some "free variation" with this. grin

updated Aug 3, 2011
edited by freeze10108
posted by freeze10108
2
votes

Good question Steric! In Colombia they always use the 'b' sound. For example 'victory' would be pronounced 'bictory', 'vitamina' is pronounced 'bitamina' Hope this helps. (They RARELY us vosotros down there). I actually just got laughed at for using vosotros in a conversation. grin

updated Aug 3, 2011
posted by royzito
2
votes

very much a regional thing. Ive heard both, technically its somewhere in between, but many people just say one or the other b or v. (if you are trying to learn to say it right, think about saying the v sound, but breifly touch your upper lip quickly as you do it.)

sidenote: I have often seen people spell words that start with V with a B...it used to throw me off a lot, but if you think about how its said, it makes sence!

Baca = vaca etc...

updated Aug 3, 2011
edited by toothpastechica
posted by toothpastechica
1
vote

Thanks much Kiwi Girl!

updated Jun 7, 2015
posted by steric
0
votes

This might help it has an audio file attached too smile spanish v and b

updated Aug 3, 2011
posted by Kiwi-Girl
0
votes

Some countries doesn't make any differences, but, should try to make it. It will help you to prevent mistakes when you are writting.

V It's like when you pronounce Vermont. B It's like when you pronounce Baltimore.

As you can see in the mirror, the lips movement are different, and the sounds that you make is too.

Hope was helpful for you. grin

updated Aug 3, 2011
edited by Animalescus
posted by Animalescus
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