IPA phoneme /v/

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v

voice /vɔɪs/

In English, both in Received Pronunciation and in General American, the IPA phonetic symbol /v/ corresponds to the initial consonant sound in words like "very", and "visit" and the final one in "five" and "love".

/v/ is a voiced consonant; its unvoiced counterpart is IPA phoneme /f/.

The phoneme /v/ is spelled very reliably with the letter V. The only important exception is the very common word "of", pronounced /əv/, /ɒv/BrE or /ʌv/.AmE See Pronunciation exercises: "of" vs "off".

Common words[edit]

Some common words which practice the pronunciation of /v/ include the following:

  • with initial "/v/": valley - value - van - variable - vary - vast - vegetable - vehicle - verb - version - very - veteran - victim - victory - view - village - virus - vision - visit - voice - vote
  • with final "/v/": above - arrive - believe - drive - expensive - give - have - improve - live - love - move - observe - positive - prove - receive - remove - save - solve - survive - wave
  • with "/v/" in mid position: activity - available - cover - develop - even - ever - evidence - government - however - individual - investment - level - never - over - service - provide - travel
  • /vr/: every - several

Spelling anomalies[edit]

Plurals[edit]

Several plurals of words ending in /f/ are spelled with "ves" and pronounced /vz/.

  • knife – knives; life – lives; loaf – loaves; wife – wives;

Note the following: beliefs, chiefs, gulfs, proofs, roofs. The plural of dwarf can be dwarfs or dwarves.

/v/ devoicing[edit]

/v/ can be changed to /f/ in very common phrases:

  • the modal verb “have to(meaning “must”) can be pronounced /ˈhæv tə/ or /ˈhæf tə/
  • “of course” can be pronounced /əv kɔːrs/ or /əf kɔːrs/

Anticipated pronunciation difficulties depending on L1[edit]

Preconceived ideas and other interferences from L1 obviously interfere in many cases with how students perceive - and pronounce - sounds/words in English. The following section aims to point out some of the most typical difficulties teachers and students may encounter regarding pronunciation.

Spanish[edit]

There is no /v/ in Spanish, and "v" sounds /b/. This means that Spanish speakers will confuse "ban" and "van", "vowel" and "bowel". Also they will normally pronounce "of" like "off".

In Spanish "nv" is pronounced /mb/. This mean they may pronounce ""in view" like "imbue". Also, it is difficult for them to pronounce "circumvent".

See also[edit]

External links[edit]