English Pronunciation for Indian and South-Asian Speakers: ‘v’ vs. ‘w’
Listen carefully to Americans/British speakers when they say words with the letter ‘V’ and ‘W’. Notice how the ‘V’ sounds very different from the ‘W’; there is a clear difference between ‘w’ and ‘v’ sounds. Even though most of Indians understand the difference, the distinction is often not carried out in spoken English.
In Hindi, Punjabi and many other native languages from India, we do use ‘V’ sound. The absence of ‘W’ sound in our mother-tongue may be the reason that we often confuse/mix-up the two sounds in English language.
The ‘V’ sound: To pronounce the ‘V’ sound correctly, place lower lip gently against the upper front teeth and make the sound. Don’t press it hard, you should be able to exhale through, while making the sound. You will need lots of practice if you are not used to it.
Remember, ‘V’ is a “hard” sound; make a tone, don’t just breathe out. Just breathing out makes the ‘F’ sound.
The ‘w’ sound: The ‘W’ sound is entirely different than the ‘V’ sound. In this case, the lips are supposed to be slightly rounded and puckered, like when we say ‘u’, and with no contact between the teeth and tongue. Move your lips in the forward direction (starting in forward direction and moving out) as you vocalize the sound.
Unlike ‘V’, ‘W’ is a “soft” sound.
For spoken examples and more details on this topic, the video English Pronunciation for Indian and Pakistan Speakers: “v” vs. “w’ from Lori Edwards, a Speech-Language Pathologist, is very helpful.
Related articles on communication skills and pronunciation improvement tips:
- 10 Tips on English pronunciation and accent improvement!
- A self-help guide to lose your accent!
- Accent improvement for Indian speakers – the rolling ‘R’
- Hinglish of India – Indian idioms and phrases
- 30 tips on the art of small talk
- common tips on English pronunciation for Indians
- The art of elocution
- Importance of Communication Skills
- How to improve your communication skills