I have a quick question regarding pronunciation (and more).
Problem: Czech students often struggle to pronounce the /v/ and /w/ sounds correctly. More precisely, they tend to use them interchangeably, i.e. sometimes they pronounce village as [ˈwɪlɪdʒ] and window as [ˈvɪndəʊ].
Background: It’s not really surprising as in Czech, the /w/ sound is not present at all – at least at the beginning of a word. Although we do have words beginning with w, those are vocabulary items borrowed from other languages, such as English or German (Windows > [ˈvɪndous], BMW > [be:emˈve:]), which, as you can judge by my phonetic transcription, are pronounced with the /v/ sound rather than the /w/ sound.
By no means do I think the problem above is unique to speakers of my mother tongue. Naturally, most L2 struggle to get all the novel sounds right. However, earlier today, something happened which made me ponder this issue in more depth. I was talking to my students so fast that at one point, I failed to round my lips to make the correct /w/ sound and I produced the /v/ sound instead. I realized it immediately and managed to correct myself before the word actually came out of my mouth, but it happened in my head (?) anyway.
Interpretation: My train of thought is this: 1) We don’t have the /w/ sound in Czech and there’s no distinction between w and v in terms of pronunciation, that’s why /v/ sometimes gets in the way. 2) As someone who started learning English back in the late 1980s, as late as at the age of 14, I *saw* most words before I *heard* them. Thus, perhaps, when speaking, I still use my inner sight to some extent. So, when I say window, I probably visualize the word for a fleeting moment before I make a conscious effort to produce the correct sound. In other words, what I have to say is not consistent with ‘what I see’. By the same token, as native speakers of English usually *hear* the language before they *see* it written down, there’s no such collision between the spoken and the written form of a word. So village is simply [ˈvɪlɪdʒ] and window is plain [ˈwɪndəʊ] because that’s how the sounds are ingrained in their aural minds. They might face a problem when writing the words down, but that’s another issue….
Question: What I’d like to ask now is not whether non-native speakers of English face a similar problem (I suspect they do), but I’m curious to know if native speakers ever experience the discrepancy I described (in very layman’s terms).