Posted by: janecronin | February 16, 2013

Billón con B

I’ve noticed something curious recently: when news announcers and journalists are talking about vast amounts of money they sometimes say “un billón con b”.  My interest is not about how much a “billion” is, whether it is one thousand million or one million million, as my poor little brain can’t grasp that much anyway.  To me that’s a bit like talking about the distance of stars from the earth.  What interests me is why they add the comment “con b”, as though we might think it’s “villón con v”.  I can only assume that it is due to two things – firstly, the fact that until recently it wasn’t an amount people commonly talked about at all and secondly, because initial consonants in Spanish are sometimes hard to distinguish from one another.  Listen to words like “jueves” “huevos” “vuelvo” “buenos”  “mueve” spoken quickly and you may agree with me.  In this case, the potential confusion must be between “billon” and “millón”.  We would never have this problem in English as our “b” and “m” sounds are much more clearly distinguishable.


  1. No es por eso. es porque nosotros los hispanohablantes confundimos la b y la v porque las pronunciamos igual y por eso decimos por ejemplo: me llamo Victor con v y cosas asi para que la otra persona sepa como escribir el nombre. y que no es Bictor xD

    • Hola Sofía,

      Entiendo eso, pero lo raro es que no existe la palabra “villón”, así que no existe la posibilidad de confusión. Normalmente se diría algo “con b” o “con v” cuando existe esa posibilidad. Incluso tu ejemplo de “Victor con “V” solo se diría, por ejemplo, en una aula del colegio. Nunca se diría “Victor con V” en un Telediario.

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