English pronunciation: V is not the same as W!

This post is about the difference between V and W in English. The reason I am writing about this is because I have been making a lot of comments about the English pronunciation of my international students. I’ve been noticing that many students do not distinguish between V and W when they are speaking English. In fact, lots of my Chinese students pronounce V as W and say things like ‘wolatile’ instead of ‘volatile’. That’s a great pity because using a word like volatile is really good: it’s a great academic word to describe a share price that goes up and down quickly. But then it’s spoilt a bit by not pronouncing it properly.
I could tell you that when you pronounce V you need to touch your bottom lip on your top teeth. That might not be much help. So why not take a look at a resource I’ve been using from the University of Iowa? Follow the link and lick on FRICATIVE from the menu and then click on /v/. You will see an animation of the inside of the mouth to see how the sound is produced, with a video of a real person saying the sound, and audio of some example words with the sound. The link to the resource is here. Thank you to the University of Iowa!