Master Dutch Pronunciation Through the Alphabet

By OptiLingo

Learning a new language is not that easy. It requires relentless effort with regard to learning basic vocabularies and pronunciations. Today, we are going to learn some of the most basics of learning the Dutch language. Learning Dutch might seem difficult to you, but this piece is designed for you. It simplifies and makes it easy for you. We are going to focus on how to learn Dutch pronunciation mainly. Having the right pronunciations will help you to communicate with Dutch speakers effectively. However, it may take quite an amount of time.

In addition to pronunciations, this article will also, at a glance, look on how to learn the Dutch alphabet and progressively help you understand the many diphthongs and combination of consonants in the Dutch language. This content will prove very important especially for beginners. Well, let start this basics lesson!

 

How to learn Dutch alphabet

Like English and other related languages, the Dutch alphabet has 26 letters. Most are similar to those in English. At this point, we will look at each letter and how it is pronounced.

  • A

This letter is pronounced as [ah]. You can either pronounce it as a short or long vowel. If the word has a consonant at the end then, it becomes a short pronounced vowel. On the other hand, it becomes a long vowel when we have 2[a]s following each other in a word, e.g. ‘raam’ or when is not followed by a consonant at the end of the syllable.

  • B

It is pronounced as [bay]. In most cases, the letter is pronounced that way. However, in other instances, the letter is pronounced as p [pay] when it comes at the end of a word. For example, ‘web’ is pronounced as ‘wep’

  • C

It can be pronounced as [say] or [kha] e.g. [say] for civiel and [kha] for castricum.

  • D

It simply pronounced as [day]. However, when it comes at the end of the word it is pronounced as t [tay], e.g. the [d] in woord becomes woort.

  • E

It is pronounced as [ay]. It can either appear as a long or short vowel. The instructions are similar to those of the [A] vowel with regard to this.

  • F

It is easily pronounced as [ef], e.g., ‘fiets’

  • G

Its pronunciation is different from that of English and other languages. It is simply pronounced as [khay] with a rough sound. Say this loud ‘groot’

  • H

It is pronounced as [hah], e.g. ‘hand’

  • I

It is pronounced as [ee]. Like [a] and [e] the vowel can be either feature as a long or short pronounced vowel. However, the long pronunciation comes from the combination of vowels [i] and [e] which becomes [ie]. For example in the word ‘lief’

  • J

It is pronounced as [yay]

  • K

Simply pronounced as [kah], e.g. ‘klomp’

  • L

Pronounced as [el] e.g. ‘laat’

  • M

Pronounced as [em], e.g., man

  • N

You can pronounce it as [en]

  • O

Like vowels [a], [e] and [i], this vowel has a long as short vowel pronunciation. A short pronunciation is heard when we have a single [o]. 2 consecutive [oo]s always features as long vowel pronunciations.

  • P

It is pronounced as [pay], e.g., in ‘potlood.’

  • Q

It is mainly used in borrowed words from other foreign languages. Equally, it usually followed by [u]. It is pronounced as [kuw], e.g., in the word ‘aquarium’

  • R

It is usually pronounced with a strong projection of [er] for example in the word ‘raam’

  • S

You will say is as [es], e.g. ‘stom’

  • T

It is pronounced as [tay], e.g., as ‘taal.’ However, there is an exception. When we have a [t] followed by [i], it is pronounced as [ts], e.g., in the word politie. This does not apply in all cases.

  • U

Like the vowels [a], [e], [i] and [o], this vowel has a short and long vowel pronunciations. For single [u] it is a short a vowel. 2[uu]s always feature as a long vowel.

  • V

In Dutch language [v] is pronounced as [f]. It is usually said as [fay].

  • W

It is pronounced as [way]. However, for words with [w] and [r] following each other, this combination is pronounced as [v].

  • X

Pronounced as [ix], e.g., in the word xylofoon.

  • Y

You can pronounce it as [ehy] or as [j].

  • Z

It is pronounced as [zet] for example in the word ‘zon’

That’s all about Dutch letters in the alphabet!

 

Diphthongs in the Dutch language

Diphthongs are simply vowel combinations in any language. The following are some of the diphthongs used in the Dutch language.

EI

It is pronounced like ‘ay’ it is a combination of vowels [e] and [i]. e.g’weinig.’

IJ

It is pronounced the same as the diphthong [ei]

OU

It is a combination of [o] and [u]. It pronounced as ‘ow.’ E.g.Koud.

AU

It is a combination of vowels [a] and [u]. It is simply pronounced like [ou].

OE

It is formed by a combination of [o] and [e] vowels. It is pronounced as ‘oo.’

UI

It is a tricky diphthong. It is pronounced with a short ‘I’ and ‘w’ like sound.

EU

It is pronounced like ‘ay’ with rounded lips. If you are French, its sound is similar to ‘feu.’

EEUW

It is pronounced with a long ‘e’ and ‘uw’ at the end.

IEUW

You can say it with a long ‘ie’ with a ‘uw’ at the end.

 

Consonant combination

 

CH

This constant combination is pronounced as [g] with rough sound at the end, for example lachen. It can also be said as [sj]

SJ

it is pronounced as ‘sh’ in English sound.

SCH

It is pronounced as s + ch (which has a ‘g’ sound). This is the most used consonant combination in the Dutch language.

NG

It is simply said as ‘ng’ like in ‘ding.’

KN

The combination is formed from the consonants [k] and [n]. In this case, we pronounce both consonants. e.g.,’knie.’

Well, here are some of the most interesting Dutch words. They may seem difficult with the help of an audio guide they become easy. You can say them along with me.

  • Huisgenoten
  • Achtentachtig
  • Koeieuier
  • Ruggengraat

With this information, it is now much easier for you to know how to learn Dutch pronunciation such as Dutch consonants, vowels, combined consonants, and diphthongs. It is impossible to realize 100% accuracy in pronunciations all at once. Hence, it important you regularly revisit this piece and always appreciate and track your progress with regard to understanding the Dutch language.

Additionally, you could also fetch a friend and practices together. It will be much easy to memorize these sounds.

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