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Tutor profile: Miguel B.

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Miguel B.
Phonetics Tutor
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Questions

Subject: Spanish

TutorMe
Question:

Why do Spanish speakers pronounce both "b" and "v" like a "b"?

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Miguel B.
Answer:

There was a historical variety of Spanish that pronounced the letters "b" and "v" differently, but there was an eventual shift in pronunciation that meant they weren't pronounced differently anymore. This is similar to how in a historical form of English there was a difference between the vowels in "meat" and "meet" which have now merged into one. Although Spanish "b" and "v" are pronounced the same in most varieties of modern Spanish, they are not pronounced like the English letter "b" except in certain situations. It will be pronounced like the English letter "b" when the "b" or "v" is at the beginning of a word when someone begins to talk or when the "b" or "v" comes after an "m" or "n". Otherwise, the "b" and "v" make a sound that isn't normally pronounced in English. The sound is created by bringing your lips together like you are going to pronounce a "b", but you don't let your lips touch. If your lips are close but not touching it will make a buzzing sound that is similar to the English "v" but not by touching your bottom lip to your top teeth. This is much closer to how the Spanish "b"/"v" is pronounced.

Subject: World Geography

TutorMe
Question:

What is a municipality?

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Miguel B.
Answer:

A squishy term. In English, it is usually used for divisions smaller than a nation-state that have self-governing powers granted under a larger political division within the nation. It can be anything from a part of a city to several of them and there isn't always a one-to-one linguistic and cultural translation for the term.

Subject: Linguistics

TutorMe
Question:

Why do we use /ʌ/ to denote the "u" sound in "cup" and not /ɐ/?

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Miguel B.
Answer:

Although the phonetic realization of /ʌ/ is closer to [ɐ] than to [ʌ] in General American and Received Pronunciation, there are still some dialects that pronounce /ʌ/ as [ʌ]. Historically, the vowel in "cup" was pronounced more like [ʌ], and thus the convention has been and continues to be to transcribe it as such even though more widely spoken varieties may not actually pronounce it that way.

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