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Pronunciation of r after n.

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:01 pm
by Learner21

Sorry this is in English (I hope that's OK?). I have only been studying Dutch for 2 weeks, and so far I am finding it very enjoyable and not too difficult apart from pronunciation. I was wondering how an r is pronounced after an n, such as in the phrase "mijn reis". I generally pronounce r as an alveolar trill, but after an n (also alveolar) I don't know what to do. The problem seems to arise because my tongue is already on the roof of my mouth, so if I try to go straight into an alveolar trill It ends up sounding like "ndr" with a stop inserted. It seems that using a uvular trill instead might make sense (though I can't do it yet)? How is this generally pronounced by a native?

Thanks in advance for all your answers!

Re: Pronunciation of r after n.

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:25 pm
by Quetzal
Hi there!

Most of the posts here are in English honestly, it's not as if this site is intended only for those learners who are already advanced enough to ask this sort of question in Dutch. Though of course we do encourage people to try asking their questions in Dutch, even if they make some mistakes in the process. And communicating in Dutch does have the advantage that it doesn't exclude those members who are learning Dutch without necessarily knowing any English.

Anyway, as for your question, it's interesting that you say you generally pronounce r as an alveolar trill... Dutch pronunciation certainly is hard for most native speakers of English, and one of the reasons why, in my experience, is that native speakers of English have a hard time with alveolar trills (excepting those who have the North-English or Scottish accents that actually have alveolar trills). I can't say I follow you about how that makes the "n r" in "mijn reis" turn into "ndr", though... like most Flemings and some Dutch, I use an alveolar trill myself (some Dutch do indeed use uvular trills instead), and I can't seem to make it turn into "ndr". It's true you can't easily segue from the one consonant into the other, but then you'll never find them following each other in the same syllable for exactly that reason, so there's no need to.

Re: Pronunciation of r after n.

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:17 pm
by Learner21
I appreciate the prompt reply. I think perhaps I just need more practice making the transition from n to r. I've been reading from Dutch books (even though I don't understand much) in order to improve my accent and I just noticed that that particular series of sounds always gets me tongue-tied (along with some of the diphthongs). But I'm glad to here that it doesn't strike a native speaker as a particularly easy transition.

I also wonder, in your dialect, do you always use the alveolar trill? Or do you sometimes use an approximant or a uvular trill? I think I've heard many people use an approximant syllable-finally, and I find this much easier than a trill.