I've been struggling to notice the difference between these two consonants but as spanish speaker I'm so used to pronounce them as if they were only one sound. If I spoke fast, would it matter?

I know the difference according to what phonetics and phonics books say , for example, the "v" is a labio-dental sound and "b" is bilabial sound but beyond the boundary of what theory indicates, is it true in a real world context the difference existing? I'm refering to this with special emphasis on what happened to me sometime back when a friend from Florida told me that the difference between the long and short "I sound " didn't exist in certain areas of the states.

What do you think?

[Sorry if this question is rather difficult to some who haven't studied phonetics before, I know that the idea is that everyone participates]

Thanks in advance
1 2 3
I know exactly what you're talking about. I've heard people in L.A. say Vuena Bista.

The difference is that the lips never close when you say "vote." But when you say "boat," you begin with the lips closed, so you get a small burst of air when they open.
The lips of a native speaker would touch, regardless of how fast he is talking; and I'd say the difference (if they didn't) would be clear to the native ear.

I have no idea what your friend from Florida is talking about.
Maybe it's a question of ethnic grammar: She bite me. instead of She bit me.
No, I'm refering to the difference between

FEEL and FILL, she says some people pronounce both words in the same way.


Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Got it! Anglos pronounce the long I regardless of where they live. Hispanics don't - even some second generation.
It seems in Spanish, "i" is our long E, and our long I dipthong doesn't exist as a single vowel.

I think "bilabial" is precious, by the way. Emotion: smile
yes, /v/ is labiodental and it's a fricative, and /b/ is a bilabial plosive. The Spanish B/V is different, and it will sound like something in between. I remember hearing a Spanish girl talking about "voice" (but she meant "boys"). So, yeah, you'd better work on that difference. Emotion: smile

As for feel/fill, I think that's a kind of merger before dark L. It's like "feel" sounds very close to "fill", and I think I have heard that.
I think /i/ and /ɪ/ might tend to be merged in some specific cases, in some dialects, but I'm almost sure /ɪ/ is a phoneme in every English variety anyway.
Hi, Kooyeen,
Can you give me an example of bilabial fricative? I guts to know!

My wife just said, "Provavly." She's been here for forty years. (She's bilabial.)
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
the Spanish B/V should be similar to a bilabial fricative, even though I think I've read it's actually a bilabial approximant (I can't be sure, I don't know any Spanish and I'm not an expert, but I like to learn about these things).

Try to use your lips like you're going to say /b/, as in "Bob". You'll be using both of your lips, no teeth or anything else (position = bilabial). Now, don't make the "bust of air" or you'll have a plosive. Instead, try to make your lips "vibrate" continuously, the same kind of vibration you would have while saying /v/ (as in "vase"), for example... but only make it using your lips! That way, you should have a bilabial fricative.
AvangiCan you give me an example of bilabial fricative?
I know you asked Kooyeen, but I'm going to butt in anyway.

Put a few grains of salt in the palm of your hand. Hold your hand up to your mouth. Quickly and forcefully blow the salt off your hand. You've just produced a (voiceless) bilabial fricative. If you keep your lips tense enough you'll get enough sound to approximate our English "f" sound without actually producing "f". This is the "f" (not an English "f") of Fujiyama in Japanese. Don't touch your upper teeth to your lower lip or you'll get an English "f" (labiodental) -- not a bilabial "f".

Voice the bilabial "f" and you've got the Spanish "b/v", which is neither "b" nor "v".

jossxI've been struggling to notice the difference between these two consonants but as spanish speaker I'm so used to pronounce them as if they were only one sound. If I spoke fast, would it matter?
Yes, it would matter. If you speak fast, you'll make it worse. You'll make it even more difficult for an English speaker to understand you. You are going to confuse your listener if you start talking about bervs, for example. Now I'm sure that you understand that word perfectly well, with no difficulty whatsoever, because there is no difference between verbs and bervsfor you, but an English speaker will not know what you are yammering about if you ask him about bervs, no matter how slow or fast you say it. Emotion: smile
jossx is it true in a real world context that there is a difference? the difference existing?
Yes. It is true that there is a difference.

Place a pencil horizontally under your upper lip. Hold your upper lip up with the pencil. Place your upper teeth against your lower lip, still holding your upper lip away from your lower lip with the pencil. Practice saying the English "v" (and "f") like this until you can do it without using the pencil.

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more