Those of you who are not Indian (and I mean Indian from India, not North American Native Indians) will never know the struggle of dealing with words starting with 'v' and 'w'. When I first came to Canada at the age of ten, I had no idea what people were on about. I remember an incident when I was a kid, someone had done something to my forearm (in good fun) and I yelled out "Ahh my veins!". They started laughing at the way I said 'veins', and I could not for the life of me tell why. It wasn't until a few years later when a light bulb turned on in my head and it occurred to me that I had actually pronounced it 'weins'; I finally realized that Indians pronounced 'v's as 'w's, and vice versa!

Over the years I came to discover some nuances of this phenomenon. For example, when there are words with two 'v's or two 'w's, only one of them will be mispronounced; in the case of 'Vancouver', it'll be pronounced either 'Wancouver' or 'Vancouwer' but not 'Wancouwer'. My sister and I spent a long time trying to get my mom to say 'wow' and 'vow' properly, and it was during this time that I realized that Indians cannot tell the difference.

The funny thing is, even though I (for the most part) have a Canadian accent now, every so often I will slip up and mispronounce one of these words, much to the amusement of my friends. It seems to be something that all Indians share, and it is incredibly amusing especially because every one of us slips up at least once.


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