Episode Transcript

Hey there! It’s a Hadar and this is the Accents way.
And today we’re gonna talk about how to pronounce the b sound and p sound and how to not confuse them.
Now let’s begin at the beginning. These two consonants are a consonant pair where they’re both pronounced the same except for one thing that distinguishes the pronunciation.

Now that one thing is the voice. The P sound is produced with the lips closing the air pressure builds up and then you release the air with a puff: p, p,
Here it’s just the air that comes out for your mouth.
For the B sound, everything happens exactly the same way.

Only this time the vocal cords are vibrating.
Take a look at my lips
p – b
Same thing, right?

The P sound is usually aspirated in American English when it appears at the beginning of the word or at the beginning of a stressed syllable as in the word “pay”. So it feels like you have a little H right after.

p(h)ay, p (h)eople

It’s like you’re whispering before you are pronouncing the vowel that comes after the P.

Okay? So that’s the P sound. For the B you want to activate your vocal cords.
Now to understand how to activate your vocal cords intentionally let’s try it with a different consonant pair.

So let’s start with an F sound where the bottom lip touches the top teeth. f-f
Now put your hands here on your throat now turn it gradually to up you sound a V sound, v-v

We created a different sound but we haven’t changed anything here, right.

let’s do it again
Now did you feel the vibrations here, on your throat? These are the vocal cords vibrating creating a different sound but still while keeping everything the same.
So same thing with a P sound and the B, b-b
To make the B sound you want to activate your vocal cords.
So again let’s start with a f-v sound for others maybe the S verses Z sound, S versus Z might be easier to practice.
So try this. ss-zz
The most important thing is that you recognize when your vocal chords start vibrating
ss-zz, ff-vv

And then the same thing you want to start doing with P sound and the B. p-p Activate the vocal chords p-b

Now what we’ve done here is we learned how to pronounce the B sound for people who already know how to pronounce the P sound and tend to substitute the B with a P.

However, some speakers may do the other thing. They know how to pronounce the B but the P is difficult for them.
So let’s start now from the B and understand how we pronounce a P sound.

So let’s start with a B which might be easier for you.
For example, for Arabic speakers, there’s only B in the language and not a P.

So let’s start b, b.
Now say the word “bay”. Bay, like Baywatch, right.

And now I want you to whisper this word: pay, pay

Now when you’re whispering a B sound you’re actually pronouncing a P sound.

Listen: pay

The beginning is the same the whispered “bay” versus the word “pay” pronounce normally.

So again a whispered B sound is actually a P sound.

So that’s how you can start practicing it.

Let’s say you want to say the word “pack”, “pack”

and what comes out is “back”, “back”.

So let’s start with whispering the word: back, back and then start with a whisper and move on to the word “pack”, “pack”.
And make sure that you control your vocal cords so they don’t vibrate as you pronounce the P sound.

and pack

Okay, that’s it. Thank you so much for watching.

Now I want you to write down in the comments below as many minimal pairs as you can come up with of B and P.

For example, bay-pay, back-pack. Okay?

I’m waiting to see all your comments and also it’s going to be an excellent practice resource for the community.

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where you’ll find a lot of free stuff and you can subscribe, suBscribe not suPscribe.
It’s a B sound, not of a P, Hadar!

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Have a beautiful week and I will see you next week in the next video!