Spanish b and v

Note also that the letters B and V have exactly the same pronunciation, and their names are pronounced exactly alike. Some colorful expressions are used to indicate which letter is being used, such as B de burro and V de vaca (roughly, “B as in burro” and “V as in vaca”). Sometimes B is referred to as be grande (“big B”) and the V as uve or ve chica (“little V”).

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Spanish for Educators
By William C. Harvey
2006

b (‘beh ‘grahn-deh)

v (‘veh ‘chee-kah)

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Spanish for Health Care Professionals
By William C. Harvey
Edition: 3 – 2008

b (beh-‘grahn-deh)

v (beh-‘chee-kah)

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Complete Spanish Grammar Review
By William C. Harvey
2006

Letter: b
Pronunciation: beh

Letter: v
Pronunciation: veh

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Paraphrased conversation with Guedo of Guedo’s Taco Shop
by Clifton Smith
July 29, 2009
Chandler, AZ

Me: Do you speak Spanish?
Guedo: Yes.
Me: Do you say “cer-VAY-suh” or “cer-BAY-suh.”
Guedo: “Cer-VAY-suh.”

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Spanish Demystified
by Jenny Petrow
2007

Letter: b
Name: be (beh)
Sound: b
Example: bola (boh-lah)

Letter: v
Name: ve (beh)
Sound: soft b
Example: Vino (bee-noh)

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Spanish Vocabulary
By Dorothy Richmond
2007

b: bay
v: bay pronounced identically to b (as in “baby”)

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Conversational Spanish in 20 Lessons
By R. Diez De La Cortina
1990

Letter: B b
Name: be
Pronunciation: bay

Letter: V v
Name: ve
Pronunciation: vay

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The complete idiot’s guide to intermediate Spanish
By Steven R. Hawson
2000

The sound of the Spanish b and v is distinctive. It is not the same sound as the Engish b, as in “boy,” which sounds a bit like our p to Spanish-speakers. The correct sound lies somewhere between the English b, v, w, and m: for instance, burro = “vwooroh.” If this is too confusing for you, try pronouncing both b and v like the English v in “Victoria” and “velvet” ( as some Chileans do) until your ear becomes more attuned to the actual sound.

A common spelling error made by some Spanish-speakers is to confuse the letters b and v: “se bende” = se vende; “vurro” = burro. Technically, there is a slight difference in pronunciation between b and v, but it’s only observed in some countries.

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The Everything Learning Spanish Book
By Andrew Thomas, Frank H. Zambrano, Jacqueline Pastor
2002

Letter: b
Pronunciation: beh
Sample Spanish Word: blusa
Pronunciation: BLOO-sah
English Translation: blouse

Letter: v
Pronunciation: veh
Sample Spanish Word: vocal
Pronunciation: voh-CAHL
English Translation: vowel

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The Spanish verb
By Peter Edward Traub, Edward Edgar Wood
1900

Character: b
Name: be
Pronunciation: bay

Character: v
Name: ve
Pronunciation: vay

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A first Spanish book and reader
By William Frederic Giese
1902

B — is pronounced less forcibly than in English, the lips being only slightly pressed together. Especially between vowels it approximates the English v. Spaniards pronounce B and V alike.

V — like the second v in valve. It is less forcibly pronounced than English v, with slighter pressure of the lips.

2 thoughts on “Spanish b and v”

  1. Anthony,

    Varack Ovama told me that, eben though I was vorn in Texas, I am still an American!

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