Lots of students ask me if the P should be turned into a B for words like ‘pepper’, ‘spoon’, etc. My answer is NO – find out why!
Playlist that goes over all the sounds of American English: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB043E64B8BE05FB7
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Today I’m answering your questions about the P sound sounding like a B. Every once in a while, I get a question about the P sound sounding like a B. For example, people have asked about the words: spoon, rapport, and pepper, and I know that some teachers teach that these Ps should be a B. I disagree with that. Let’s talk about why.
The thing is, it’s not about this sound being a P or B. It’s about the sound being very light. If you make the P light, it sounds great. If you make the B light, it sounds almost the same. Also good. But if you make the B sound heavy: spoon– it doesn’t sound so good anymore. Spoon.
So it’s not about changing the P to a B. It’s about knowing how to make a light P. If someone makes the P sound by itself, it sounds like this. Pphh— phh— phh— It’s over exaggerated. In a word, that’s not how we actually do it. So if people think that ‘Pphh–‘ is the P sound, then ‘spoon’ would be: spoon. And that’s not how we pronounce that word. It’s not: spoon— spoon— It’s also not: sboon— sboon— The right sound is: spoon— spoon— a light P that releases directly into the vowel.
So how do we get this light P? We need to change the idea. P is not pphh— P is p- p- p- p- much lighter a much smaller release. Spoon. Poon— poon— spoon— spoon— We go right from the release into the vowel without pphh– hh– hh– all of this extra air. Spoon— spoon— pat— pepper— pepper— A light feeling in the P, not too much air.
Right now, try this out loud with me: sp– sp– spoon— spoon— Let’s do some more words. Pe— per— pepper— pepper— Are you practicing out loud? Please do. Pepper— pepper— It’s all my dog growing up was named Pepper. This is a picture of me and pepper.
Pam— spam— spam—
Pen— spin— spin—
Pace— space— space—
Pel— spell— spell—
So don’t try to change the P sound to a B. Just make sure you’re making it a light sound and you’ll sound great. If you’re not sure about the sounds of American English, check out this playlist here. I’ve made a video for each sound.