As I have written in previous posts in this series, one great way to practice pronunciation is to learn tongue twisters – they are fun, challenging to the brain, and can show you which sounds you have a hard time pronouncing. Two sounds that can be especially difficult for native Spanish speakers who are learning English are “b” and “v,” because in Spanish, the two letters are pronounced almost identically.
In English, however, they sound different. To make the “b” sound, your mouth should have the same shape as when you’re saying “p,” but should be voiced. (Place your hand over the front of your neck to feel your vocal chords vibrating while you say “b.”) To make the “v” sound, your mouth should have the same shape as when you’re saying “f,” but again, should be voiced.
Try saying these minimal pairs to perfect your pronunciation of the sounds before practicing the tongue twister below to improve your “b” and “v” pronunciation.
Now that you can pronounce “b” and “v” clearly, try saying the sounds in a tongue twister! Start by reading slowly, word by word. It can be helpful to stand in front of a mirror and watch your mouth form the words. Slowly increase your speed, still making sure to pronounce each word clearly, until you can say the tongue twister quickly without any mistakes.
Listen to the audio recording below and practice saying this tongue twister to help learn the pronunciation of the English sounds “b” and “v”.
Beverly loves the velvet vest best.
Photograph by Austin Pacheco.