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Home: English Pronunciation Mini-Course for Japanese Learners, Page 3

English Pronunciation Mini-Course
for Japanese Learners
Page 3 of 4

Lesson 3: B/V sounds


Because there's no V sound in the Japanese language, most English words with a V get pronounced with an B sound. For example, the English word "video" is pronounced "BEE-day-oh" (ビデオ) in Japanese. Also, the letter V itself in Japanese is pronounced like the English word "buoy. So all the numerous acronyms that contain a V like UV, IPv6, V8, VA, etc. are pronounced in a hilarious, but virtually incomprehensible manner for any ears unaccustomed to hearing Japanese English.

Without question, one of the most comical examples I've ever seen of this Japanese "buoy" pronunciation of the letter V was the Arnold Schwarzenegger TV commercial back in the early 90s for the Alinamin V (アリナミンV) energy drink. One reason the TVCM was such a hit was because of the wordplay on the Japanese word "daijōbu" (大丈夫, だいじょうぶ), meaning "all right" or "OK".



Schwarzenegger Alinamin V energy drink TVCM
(If player above is not visible, you can view video @ YouTube here.)

So there you have it! Just remember that if you shoot the peace (or victory) sign to a Japanese person, don't forget to say "BUOY'"! smiley

Making the English V sound is very easy and not nearly as complicated as all those online videos make it out to be. Just touch your bottom lip to your top teeth. That's IT!

How to make the V sound
How to make the V sound
(photo credit: memrise.com)


B/V sounds speaking practice

As in the 2 previous lessons, in this video the teacher will first read a B word from the left column, and then its similar sounding V word in the right column. Please repeat the word pairs after the teacher, one by one, for your pronunciation practice. Remember to touch your bottom lip to your top teeth for the V sound. Also, be sure to keep your top lip up and away.....otherwise, if your 2 lips touch each other, you'll be making the B sound!


  B/V sounds speaking practice
(click link above to view a larger-size video on separate page)

Ok, very good. Please replay this video as necessary until you feel comfortable correctly pronouncing the B & V sounds. In the next exercise you’ll practice listening to the B/V sounds. 頑張ってください (Gambatte)!

B/V sounds listening practice

Now we will give you some listening practice with the B/V sounds. The teacher will read 10 words from either the left column or the right column. Please write down your answers on a piece of paper. He will say each word twice.


B/V sounds listening practice
(click link above to view a larger-size video on separate page)

Ok, well done! Now you can check your answers by clicking below on the “Show/Hide answers” link, which will reveal the 10 words which the teacher just said. If you got more than 3 or 4 answers wrong, you might want to do this listening exercise again for more practice.

Show/Hide answers


B/V sounds dictation practice

Our final Lesson 3 exercise is the B/V sounds sentence dictation practice. The teacher will read 2 sentences using the B & V sounds and you should write down the sentences on a piece of paper as best you can. The teacher will say each sentence 3 times, the 2nd time more slowly than native speed.


B/V sounds dictation practice
(click link above to view a larger-size video on separate page)

Ok, good job! You can now check your answers by clicking below on the “Show/Hide answers” link, which will reveal the 2 sentences which the teacher just said. If you found this difficult, you might want to try this dictation exercise again for more practice.

Show/Hide answers


じゃあ, おめでとうございます (Jaa, omedetou gozaimasu)! You’re now done with Lesson 3. If you're ready to start Lesson 4, F/H sounds, you can proceed now to Page 4.

Or if you want more practice with the B/V sounds, you might want to check your listening with an easy B/V quiz on this page. (First read the instructions, then click on the blue "Start" arrow. After each question, click the blue right arrow to continue the quiz on the next page.)





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