I had an idea on speech: "f fronting" and "v fronting" (its voiced counterpart). The idea is to make these sounds into labial fricatives. This is "th fronting to the next level". Could a speaker notice that I was talking differently?

Sound change in IPA notation:

/f/ -> /ɸ/ and /v/ -> /β/

Note: this is not (usually) someone trying to pronounce it because this is like a native language. It is generally a thought experiment.

  • 1
    To make sure I understand: your question is whether people could notice the difference between [f v] and [ɸ β]?
    – Draconis
    Apr 23, 2020 at 17:21
  • Yes, that is what I was thinking. If I were to talk about stuff with those sounds, would people notice those sound pairs being substituted? My guess is they would hear the voiced but not voiceless. Apr 23, 2020 at 17:39
  • I would guess that for speakers of Iberian languages in close proximity to each other, the /v/ vs /β/ (betacism) would be quite salient. Portuguese vs Spanish in the Rioplatense region; all along the Catalan-Valencian speaking regions, e.g. the Balearics.
    – Michaelyus
    Apr 24, 2020 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


People might notice that you sound different, but everybody sounds different from everybody else. Given the phonetic diversity of English, this is unlikely to make people "He talks really differently", or "He has an accent". Assuming that you otherwise talk exactly the same as everybody in the neighborhood, it probably would not stick out above the level of "everybody is a bit different". However, this is an experiment waiting to be conducted, after it is designed.

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