v sound in Japanese

Fumiko Take

Senior Member
Do Japanese actually pronounce the "v" sound? They do have a kana character (ヴ) dedicated to transcribing foreign "v" sounds, but do they actually pronounce them like the English phoneme /v/ (using the upper teeth and the lower lip)? Or is it like a "weak" /b/ in Spanish, which is actually /β/ (using both lips)?
  • wind-sky-wind

    Senior Member
    Katakana "ヴ" is just used to show the original sound is "v," not "b."
    "バイオリン," which is the loanword for "violin," is often written as "ヴァイオリン."
    The pronunciation "ヴァイオリン," however, is the same as "バイオリン."
    Some Japanese people can speak English and pronounce it as "v" precisely, though.


    Senior Member
    Umm, I think when English or other foreign languages are written in katakana as the loanword, it's nothing less than Japanese.
    First, for example, whether "ヴァイオリン" or "バイオリン," "リ" is neither "li" nor "ri," just "リ."
    Then there is no point in pronouncing "ヴ" as "V."
    If it's the English word "violin," then I would pronounce it as "violin."
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