Practicing the w and v sounds
w and v sound practice in paragraphs
Hi again, and welcome back to Seattle Learning Academy's American English pronunciation podcast. My name is Mandy, and this is our 149th episode.
Since we had such a good response from the paragraph practice for the th sounds in our last episode, I decided to do it again this week to practice the v sound and w sound. The most difficult thing about these sounds is that most non-native speakers don't realize how subtle they are. This subtlety is why it's really easy for native English speakers to think you said the opposite sound.
Before I explain, let me remind you that you can find the transcripts for this show by going to www.pronuncian.com/podcast and clicking "Episode 149." I will also link to the free pronunciation lessons that are associated with this show from this show's transcripts page. For additional pronunciation practice, join Pronuncian.com. Members receive full access to all of our exercises, quizzes, and videos.
Now, let's talk about the v sound and w sound.
Both of these sounds are articulated using the lips, and both sounds are voiced, meaning that the vocal cords vibrate during the sound.
When I create the w sound (w sound), my lips are brought together enough to cause a vibration when the air passes through between them. My lips don't need to be in a really tight circle, just enough to make them tickle a little bit equally on the top and bottom lip. The key is that the lips are both vibrating the same amount.
The v sound, on the other hand, only requires my bottom lip to vibrate. This vibration happens when I tip the bottom lip inward toward the bottom of my top front teeth. Yes, I know, that is a lot of prepositions to describe the position of my bottom lip, so I'll say it again: my bottom lip vibrates when I tip it in toward the bottom of my top front teeth. I don't need to place my lip under my top teeth to create the sound, it is actually the backside my bottom lip that is vibrating. My upper lip needs to stay relaxed during this sound, or the v sound won't be clear.
Say the v sound with me a few times (v sound, v sound, v sound). Practice moving your bottom lip in and out while creating the sound to really feel how slight the movement has to be to cause the vibration. If your top lip is tense and made into a semi-circle, native speakers will have a hard time telling if the sound is a v sound or a w sound, so keep your upper lip relaxed.
Let's practice a few words that contain both a w sound and a v sound. I'll leave time for you to repeat after me:
Now let's practice a paragraph again. I'll read the entire paragraph, and then I'll read it sentence by sentence and give you time to repeat after me.
We were very excited when we received the invitation to the wedding. We hadn't even heard that Victor and Whitney were engaged. The wedding will be in Vermont, in a very small town called Walden on Wednesday, July 27th. It is a bit unusual to have a wedding on a Wednesday, but we'll just plan a vacation around it. Vermont has very nice weather in the summer.
Now I'll say it sentence by sentence, leaving time for you to repeat each sentence after me.
We were very excited when we received the invitation to the wedding.
We hadn't even heard that Victor and Whitney were engaged.
The wedding will be in Vermont, in a very small town called Walden on Wednesday, July 27th.
It is a bit unusual to have a wedding on a Wednesday, but we'll just plan a vacation around it.
Vermont has very nice weather in the summer.
If you like this kind of paragraph practice, there is more of it on the w sound/v sound Paragraph Practice exercise linked from the w sound and the v sound lessons. I'll link to those lessons from this episode's transcript page.
You can also listen to authentic speech in whole sentences and paragraphs by listening to an audiobook read by a native English speaker. You can get a free audio book by signing up for a free 14-day trial of Audible.com. Use our special web address: www.audiblepodcast.com/pronuncian as a way to help support this show and to get your free audio book to keep. If you cancel your subscription with Audible before 14 days, you are charged nothing, but you get to keep your free book.
That's all for today everyone. This has been a Seattle Learning Academy digital publication. SLA is where the world comes to learn.
Thanks for listening.
About the ESL/ELL Teacher
Mandy has been teaching ESL, pronunciation and accent reduction since 2005 at Seattle Learning Academy, an English language school in Seattle, Washington, USA. She uses her experience with intermediate to advanced students to create the topics that most affect students living and working in the United States and can help them communicate better and more clearly.
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