Long and short vowels

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ZenoMac
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Long and short vowels

Post by ZenoMac » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:23 pm

Hi. I've only been learning Dutch for a month and am thoroughly enjoying the experience; however, I have a question about pronunciation which I would be grateful for some help with. I thought I understood how syllable division affected vowel length, but obviously I don't - most books I've looked at only devote a paragraph to this anyway. So, why is the 'o' in a word like 'beloven' long, but the first 'e' in a word like 'gisteren' short? I would have thought that the syllable division for each would be as follows: be-lo-ven, gis-te-ren, meaning that both lo and te are open and therefore require a long vowel sound, but on every piece of audio I have listened to, gisteren is pronounced with a short 'e'. (It's exactly the same with wandelen, which I would have thought would be wan-de-len, and a long first 'e') I would be very grateful for any help with this as it is driving me mad!

Thanks

Zeno

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BrutallyFrank
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Re: Long and short vowels

Post by BrutallyFrank » Wed Jan 08, 2014 4:02 pm

Maybe this can help: http://www.dutchgrammar.com/en/?n=Spell ... ciation.01 (Look on the left side for topics on 'vowel lenght', 'long vowels' and 'short vowels'). If that doesn't answer your question, please continue here.
"Moenie worrie nie, alles sal reg kom" (maar hy het nie gesê wanneer nie!)

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ZenoMac
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Re: Long and short vowels

Post by ZenoMac » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:34 pm

I think my problem is solved now. It seems to be a question of whether or not the 'e' is stressed - at least that's how I understand it. Thank you very much for your help - much appreciated!

Zeno

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Joke
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Re: Long and short vowels

Post by Joke » Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:49 am

Yes that's right.
Only a stressed e can be long or short. All unstressed e's are so called mute e's and are pronounced very short and with the sound of the e in the English word the.
In beloven, wandelen and gisteren, all e's are unstressed and therefore mute.
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to know which syllable is stressed, so you'll have to learn that that hard way: by listening to a lot of Dutch.

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