Presentation and Practice: b, d, "hard" g Sounds

About these sounds

In some contexts, these voiced consonants are pronounced as stops1; i.e. as in ball, do, go.

In other cases, they weaken into fricative2 sounds. For b/v and g, this involves producing sounds not found in Engish.

For most speakers, b and v are pronounced the same (involving two lips, but no teeth).

  1. Air flow blocked, then released.
  2. Air flows between steadily between tongue and palate or between lips.
  How These Consonants are Pronounced  
  Pronunciation of d  
  Context Type of Sound Examples  
  beginning of sentence; after pause stop ¿Dónde está?  
  after n or l stop andando; molde; al doctor  
  other fricative ciudades; tarde; a Daniel  

Pronunciation of "Hard" g

(Spelled ga, gue, gui, go, gu, but not ge, gi more)

  Context Type of Sound Examples  
  beginning of sentence; after pause stop ¡Gracias!  
  after n stop lenguas; en Galicia  
  other fricative regular; mucho gusto  
  Pronunciation of b/v*  
  beginning of sentence; after pause stop Buenos días. Vamos a comer.  
  after m, n stop cambiar; Quieren visitarnos.  
  other fricative Habla bien. Quiero verla.  
  *The labiodental [v] sound, as in English vivid, is used in some areas of Latin America. On the recording, only the bilabial (two-lip) sound is used, as this represents the most widespread usage.

Click the►symbol. Following along with the script below, repeat after the speaker, noting the pronunciation of the b, d, and g sounds.

    d (stop) derecho difícil decir
        aprender San Diego son difíciles
      (fricative) adiós nada ciudades
        Estados Unidos gracias a Dios no duermo
      (mixed) ¿Dónde está Daniel? Daniel está detrás de Dolores.
    g (stop) guapo gracias galería
        tengo un guante con Gabriela
      (fricative) amiga regular bolígrafo
        muy guapo mucho gusto me gusta
        averigüé* argüir*
        *güe, güi spellings used for [gwe], [gwi] sounds
      (mixed) Guillermo, ¿te gusta la gran galería?
    b/v (stop) buenos días bien verdad
        Víctor también
      (fricative) abuelo libro muy bien
        nieve la ventana no vivo allí
      (mixed) Yo vivo en Bilbao; mi abuelo vive en Barcelona.
    d/b/g   Miguel y Bruno son abogados agradables.
        Bárbara y Gustavo están agobiados.