Hello everyone. I'm back and this time we're going to take a look at the letters "b" and "v". The first time you heard a native Spanish speaker say the word vaca, it probably sounded to you like he said "baca". Or, when you heard beso you may have thought she said something more like "veso". The reason for this is that the distinction between "b" and "v" has been largely lost over time and in modern Spanish they both represent the same sound. In fact, many native speakers will make spelling mistakes when it comes to using "v" or "b".
For English speakers, the problem arises when trying to make a distinction between the two letters. The correct pronunciation falls actually somewhere between an English "b" and an English "v", so when English speakers try to make them sound different either like an English "b" or like an English "v", they just end up sounding a little bit off all the time.
So, let's take a closer look at what is happening. The Spanish b/v sound first starts off like an English "b" with both your lips together, but ends like an English "v" with your bottom lip flipping outwards and brushing against the bottom of your top front teeth. This all happens very quickly. The feeling in your mouth could be described as having your lips pressed together and suddenly exploding open with a burst of air (that's the English "b" part). However, as the lips separate during this explosion, the bottom lip brushes against the bottom of your front top teeth (this is the English "v" part).
One way to achieve this sound is to first position your mouth to say the English word "vest". You'll rest your top teeth on your bottom lip. Stay in this position. Now leaving your top teeth in contact with your bottom lip bring your lips together. Effectively, your top lip wraps over your top teeth so that you seal the opening of your mouth. At this point, your lips are together, but you should also feel your top teeth still resting on your bottom lip.
Now say the English word "best".
Make sure to finish with your bottom lip brushing against your teeth like you do for "vest".
Try this exercise several times. Again, begin by positioning your mouth for an English "v", press the lips together sealing the mouth, and say the word with an explosive "b" but finishing with your bottom lip flipping out for the "v".
Now let's try some Spanish words.
Hopefully the beginning of all those words sound the same when you pronounced them!
Here are two trabalenguas for you to try on our own!
Ese bobo vino
nunca beber debe,
vida boba y breve
vivirá si bebe
or this one:
Juan tuvo un tubo,
y el tubo que tuvo se le rompió,
y para recuperar el tubo que tuvo,
tuvo que comprar un tubo
igual al tubo que tuvo.
See you next time!