You can play this 3 -minute mp3 file to hear 32 sentences with words of the form
/vVt/ or /bVt/, where V is one of 8 American English vowels. You'll decide if you hear a /b/ or a /v/ at the beginning of the word.

You can download, print, and fill out the Bert answer sheet. Here is an example using the frame that each sentence has:
Please, give me a vote now.
Please, give me a boat now.
Please, give me a birt now.
Please, give me a virt now.
You can download and view the Bert key to see how you did.


Results page for 2014 "Smoke and Mirrors" presentation, tabular format


If you are happy with your score and want more of a challenge, I created a set of 15 pairs of minimal pair English sentences that sound the same except for the b/v distinction. The meanings of the sentences will be different, depending on whether you hear a /v/ or a /b/.

Vigor is better.
Bigger is better.
Anna and Bihn sent love each day.
Anna and Vincent love each day.

You can read the rest of these minimal pair Vigor sentences in a read aloud format to a friend. You can also download and print out the Vigor answer sheet.

Interestingly enough, native speakers of English (NSE) do not each score 100% on the Bert sentence distinction task the first time they try it. I found that the Bert sentence task data were robust enough to predict the native language of the English Language Learner (ELL) as being one with or without a b/v distinction in the phonetic inventory. (N = 12 NSE; 7 ELLs with French as the native or second language; 12 ELLs with Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese as the native language). My goal was to repeat the task three times, using a randomized list. The ELLs performed the task three times and some expressed a desire to try it again; most of the NSEs were unwilling to perform the task more than twice: It was Thanksgiving and they had had enough food and language acquisition research for the day!