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  5. B or V, Y or J?


B or V, Y or J?

Hey, so I just started the Spanish course yesterday! So far i'm really liking it, but I've been having some problems with pronunciation!

I've been going for an accent from Spain, if that makes sense. Basically would a spaniard pronounce 'Yo soy' with a y or as 'joe'?

I've also faced some confusion with B and V i've tried searching them up, but i'm still very confused! When i hear the word 'bebo' it sounds like 'bevo'! Which pronounciation would be correct?

If anyone could help that would be great! :)

April 1, 2018



Yes, "y" varies among regions but also among speakers in the same region. Pronouncing it like y in "yes" is better than "j" in Joe for Spain, but both are accepted (the actual sound is something between).

B and V are the same sound written with two letters according to etymology. "Beber" (to drink) and "vivir" (to live) have different letters because they come from Latin words BEBERE and VIVIRE.

However, you are right about "bebo": b and v sound like an English b when they initiate a sentence or when they are after m or n; otherwise, they sound similar to an English v, but not identical. In "Voy a beber un buen vaso de vino" marked letters sound like English b.

Pay attention to that pattern, because it is identical for g ("Gran dragón gordo) and almost identical for d (El dragón de agua no debe dormir). Marked g's and marked d's are like English g and d, unmarked d's are like English th in "then", unmarked g's doesn't exist in English, but maybe you could figure the pronunciation if you get the difference in the other 2 consonants.


I'm not too familiar with the Spanish Spanish accent, but I'd assume it's kind of like "zho". So a combination thereof.

And then for B and V, that's something that you might just have to memorize. In the Spanish alphabet, both B and V are pronounced "be", although v is sometimes called "be chica", or little b. In "veinte", for example, it sounds just like "beinte".


B and v are pronounced exactly the same as one another in Spanish. They are called "b largo" and "v corto" to differentiate them. The closest sound in English is the b sound in boy... however, you'll notice that the English b is much more explosive, especially at the beginning of words. So, the position of the lips is exactly like English b but the flow of air is not stopped as much. So the Spanish b/v sounds less explosive. This is noticed even more when it's between two vowels.

The y sound in 'yo' should be pronounced like y in English. It's true that it can sometimes be heard as a j sound or even somewhere in between these two sounds. These slight variations are due to the positioning of the tongue on the roof of the mouth. The safest way to pronounce it would be like English y sound


Here is a good explanation of how to pronounce B and V


Descitem, I gave you a lingot for asking the question, and also Chilotin for his answer which covers the bases for most folk starting out in Spanish.

And of course listening to native speakers is the true answer!

Hasta manana!

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