Pronouncing the English V Sound

Posted by on April 20, 2015

Pronouncing V

Is it Varanasi or Waranasi? If you come from the Indian sub-continent then you will know that the distinction is not always clear. However, in English we make a very clear distinction between our V and W sound. In this tutorial we will tack how to properly make a /V/ sound.

Mouth Position

Interestingly, the V sound uses the same mouth position as the F sound. The primary difference is that with the V sound we activate our vocal chords while making the sound.

So, as you begin you want to open your mouth slightly and draw your lower lip back until it touches the button of your top teeth. It's really important that your lips don't pucker, or stick out, at all. This should also be a somewhat natural mouth position so if your cheeks are getting tired it means you are working to hard.

Now that your mouth is in position you should be able to release air while vibrating your vocal chords and sustain this sound for 10 or 15 seconds. Grab a mirror and see if you can do it now. Watch the video below so you can see what this should look like as well as what this should not look like:


Make sure you take some time to practice in front of a mirror or you can use your cell phone to make a video of yourself doing the same exercises and then compare your video with the one above.

Using the same techniques practice these pairs of words. Its important to remember that with the V sound your lip will not come forward, pucker forward or fling forward when make the sound. If it does, then it will sound like a W. Try recording yourself making these sounds as well and then when you play it back try and listen for the difference between the V and W sounds.

V sounds W Sounds
1. Vine 1. Wine
2. Vile 2. While
3. Van 3. Wan
4. Very 4. Wary

Take a look at the infograph below to double check you are using the correct mouth position.



Below is a 10 minute audio lesson that you can download or listen to online. In this audio track you can listen and repeat words that start and end with the V sound. There are also practice sentences and a practice paragraph using mixed V sounds. There is also an accompanying document and pdf file so you can read along.

We hop you enjoy this help with your pronunciation. If you need more focused attention check out our institute and how we can help you meet your goals.

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