Pronunciation

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Pronunciation

Post by cachirro » Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:36 pm

Hello everyone.

I'm in the Netherlands for about 3 months, trying to get the basics on my brain, but i'm having difficulties with some pronunciations, because people tell me it's one way, but then i ear everyday in a different way.

#1
For example the IJ sound, like in kijk, i was told it should sound like in "hey", with a strong E (i even found a youtube video with a teacher saying this), can't remember a word with that sound, but what i clearly ear is a pure I sound, like in "iceland", "rice", etc..

#2
what english word could better describe the UI sound? i think i got it, but i would like to find a word that i could associate with the sound for ease to remember it.

#3
since there are tons of sources to learn the language, what would you recommend me to choose for a online choice? i've tried roseta stone, but they start with phrases and words and all that, but i want to start by the basic, like if you were a child, you start with numbers, alphabet, vowels, pronunciation, grammar, etc.. what online site or software would get me that experience?

Thanks for all your help and great site and forum.

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by BrutallyFrank » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:44 am

cachirro wrote:Hello everyone.

I'm in the Netherlands for about 3 months, trying to get the basics on my brain, but i'm having difficulties with some pronunciations, because people tell me it's one way, but then i ear everyday in a different way.

#1
For example the IJ sound, like in kijk, i was told it should sound like in "hey", with a strong E (i even found a youtube video with a teacher saying this), can't remember a word with that sound, but what i clearly ear is a pure I sound, like in "iceland", "rice", etc..
Problem with the pronounciation is that Dutch is much influenced by the regional language/dialect where it is spoken. I don't know exactly what you mean by your examples, but I can imagine the first one being the standard and the latter one more the posh one (sorry for the racial slur, but with the last one it sounds more like 'kike' than 'kijk').
Check out the soundbites here


#2
what english word could better describe the UI sound? i think i got it, but i would like to find a word that i could associate with the sound for ease to remember it.
Same answer as the soundbite in question one ... at the bottom of the page.

#3
since there are tons of sources to learn the language, what would you recommend me to choose for a online choice? i've tried roseta stone, but they start with phrases and words and all that, but i want to start by the basic, like if you were a child, you start with numbers, alphabet, vowels, pronunciation, grammar, etc.. what online site or software would get me that experience?
My best advice would be: Dutch Grammar Forum. If you look at the Grammar section, you can find a lot of the information you ask for. And you can always ask here ...

Thanks for all your help and great site and forum.
"Moenie worrie nie, alles sal reg kom" (maar hy het nie gesê wanneer nie!)

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by cachirro » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:01 pm

Thanks for your reply.

#1
the sounds you showed me for IJ it's and EI sound, like in english word "hay", but what i ear on daily basis, even on tv, channel like babytv you can ear pretty well the words, they say kijk with an AI sound like in english words "hi", "ice", "life", etc.., or is this word different from the rule? (Found an example: http://www.forvo.com/word/kijk/ , you can clearly ear the AI sound, not the EI like in your link) (and it's not only in this word, altijd also for example http://www.forvo.com/word/altijd/)

#2
yep, that is a weird sound

#3
thanks :P

i have some new questions:

#4
About the word "keer", like in one more time, i have two questions, the first is that i ear everyone say it "geer", but the G sound is an actual G, not the normal dutch R. and the second is that i think the rule of two E previous to an R, changes the sound to IE, like in english "here", but that's not what i ear, i ear a closed E. is this a word that isn't in the rules? (the same applies, i ear ir on the street, and on tv like this)

#5
about words ending with "en", like morgen, most of the times i ear "morga", but sometimes i ear it with the "n" pronounced in the end. what's the rule here?

#6
why in "honD" pronounced "honT". all words ending with D we should say an T?

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by Quetzal » Sat Jan 25, 2014 2:57 pm

Obviously you can't match every Dutch sound exactly to an English sound (or any other language), you can just try to find the closest equivalent - but that is a subjective thing, two people can hear the same Dutch sound and come up with different English sounds which they think are the closest equivalent.

To make things more complicated, there are of course different accents in any language, including Dutch, so your link does indeed sound a bit different from the audiofiles on our grammar pages that Frank linked to. I (as a native speaker, and a Flemish one) would say the main difference is that Frank's link has a fairly straightforward vowel sound, whereas yours adds a stronger semi-consonant sound at the end (this is especially clear if you compare the "tijd" from Frank's link with your "altijd", since you have the same syllable there). The semi-consonant thing is something that you'll hear in lesser or stronger forms in many Netherlands Dutch accents, but not or only a very little bit in Flemish accents - but among Dutch speakers, all those different pronunciations are accepted and recognized as being the same sound (or if you know linguistic terminology, they are allophones).

4) No doubt "ee" in front of an R does sound slightly different from "ee" in front of something else, but I would certainly not say that it changes the sound to "ie" like in "here", no. I don't know where you got this rule? Again, there are differences in how people pronounce "-eer", but no Dutch speaker would agree with you that what they say sounds like "-ier".

Not sure about the "G" you hear in "keer", either. The only word I can think of where a K-sound (though written as a C) is regularly pronounced as something closer to a G would be in "seconde". I guess the question to ask is whether you also think a K sounds like a G when you hear it as a first letter in other words? Kok, kuiken, kever, kast, kijk (just to give some examples with different vowels following each time)?

5) Now this one I understand. Words ending on -en are indeed sometimes pronounced with the N, and sometimes without. It depends on the speaker in question, on how carefully this speaker is speaking (a Dutch teacher might be more inclined to pronounce the N than someone in an everyday conversation), but also on what the next word is. There are no easy rules though.

6) And yes, when you have voiced consonants at the end of a word (D, but also B, or V or Z though those last two will only really appear at the end of a word in foreign words or names), we tend to pronounce them unvoiced in Dutch, essentially the same as a T (or P, or F). That's something that you'll hear in nearly every accent, I'd say.

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by cachirro » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:31 pm

Hi, thanks for your reply.

about the IJ sound:
it's hard to learn a new language, when you see people telling you it's supposed to do it A way, and they you see in daily life in B way. All words i've eared so far with an IJ, in daily basis and in tv, i always ear it like that http://pt.forvo.com/word/kijk/ , my doubts came from watching this video for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmMxCquA110, where (a teacher i think) says that IJ is supposed to be a different sound from what i ear. So far there's only one word where i don't ear the IJ sound like "Ice" in english, which is "konijn", this one i ear that other sound, which rises my questions, why "konijn" i ear one way, and "kijk" a different way?!?!

about the EE sound before and R:
you can see in http://pt.forvo.com/word/meer/#nl that it sounds like a "me" in english with an "r" after. i ear the same sound in "meneer" for example. What would be the correct pronunciation then?

about "keer":
maybe that K looking (sounding) like an G (pronounced G not R) could be from the speed and no brakes between words, i never eared it as a single word, but in the phrase "noch en keer" it definitely looks like i said. About your question, other words the K is clear, not confusing. Here rises another doubt, again with the EEr, because the sound i ear in "keer" is not the same i ear in "meer" for example.

about the EN:
uff, finally got one that someone gets my doubt :P

about ending D:
didn't follow your explanation, for example, in "hond" i ear "honT", it's a change from D to T, even in here http://pt.forvo.com/word/hond/#nl you can ear in the 3 samples, they all end the word with a T sound. i was just trying to understand what rule is in play in this cases.

new question, single "E"s:
this is also another question that i can't yet make the rule, well, i can memorize that this word is this way and that word is the other way, but i want to understand if there's a rule in here. A single E sounds like an "a" in english alphabet, however, some words it sounds like the english "a", like "negen" (http://pt.forvo.com/word/negen/#nl), (even the second E in here has different sound then first), and words like "melk" (http://pt.forvo.com/word/melk/#nl), where the E sounds like in "wEll" in english, and even other words where the E sounds like the sound "thE" in english.

Thanks for all your patience, i understand that my questions might annoy a dutch speaker, but i want to get the rules clear as possible, so i can create my own help words, but it seems that i might not be able to do it, cause this seems to be a language in freestyle :P

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by Quetzal » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:25 pm

cachirro wrote:Hi, thanks for your reply.

about the IJ sound:
it's hard to learn a new language, when you see people telling you it's supposed to do it A way, and they you see in daily life in B way. All words i've eared so far with an IJ, in daily basis and in tv, i always ear it like that http://pt.forvo.com/word/kijk/ , my doubts came from watching this video for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmMxCquA110, where (a teacher i think) says that IJ is supposed to be a different sound from what i ear. So far there's only one word where i don't ear the IJ sound like "Ice" in english, which is "konijn", this one i ear that other sound, which rises my questions, why "konijn" i ear one way, and "kijk" a different way?!?!
Tricky. Maybe you should try listening to some Flemings - that might get you off the "ice" thing. To go back to your "altijd", try listening to the bottom pronunciation, the one below the map that says "Flemish". That really should be closer to what you hear in "konijn", right?

cachirro wrote:about the EE sound before and R:
you can see in http://pt.forvo.com/word/meer/#nl that it sounds like a "me" in english with an "r" after. i ear the same sound in "meneer" for example. What would be the correct pronunciation then?

about "keer":
maybe that K looking (sounding) like an G (pronounced G not R) could be from the speed and no brakes between words, i never eared it as a single word, but in the phrase "noch en keer" it definitely looks like i said. About your question, other words the K is clear, not confusing. Here rises another doubt, again with the EEr, because the sound i ear in "keer" is not the same i ear in "meer" for example.
Well, first of all, ignore the third of those pronuncations of "meer" - there I hear the English "me" too, but then it doesn't sound like a native speaker at all. If I had to guess I'd say she was speaking Dutch with a Russian accent. The first one is a native speaker, but does have a dialect accent (from somewhere around Ghent, I'd guess). The middle one is the best, focus on that one.

It might also help to compare kier and keer, especially since it seems to be the same guy pronouncing both. What you are describing would be our "ie" sound like in "kier", while the "ee" sound in "keer" is quite different.

Now that you mention it, you have a point about "nog een keer" (mind the spelling, it's "nog", "noch" is a different word), or really about anything where K follows N. Also within a single word, like "bank" - there is a G sound before the K sound (though I do hear a distinct K sound in there as well). Try listening to "keer" on its own, though, then it should be different.

cachirro wrote:about the EN:
uff, finally got one that someone gets my doubt :P

about ending D:
didn't follow your explanation, for example, in "hond" i ear "honT", it's a change from D to T, even in here http://pt.forvo.com/word/hond/#nl you can ear in the 3 samples, they all end the word with a T sound. i was just trying to understand what rule is in play in this cases.
Do you know what voiced and unvoiced consonants are? If not, looking that up should help. D is voiced, T is unvoiced; you have a similar relationship between V (voiced) and F (unvoiced), Z (voiced) and S (unvoiced), B (voiced) and P (unvoiced), and so on. Maybe by now you're beginning to see the pattern even without looking it up - the first letter is always like a "softer" version of the second. In Dutch, when a word ends on the voiced or "softer" consonant, it is pronounced as the unvoiced or "harder" equivalent. So indeed, D is pronounced as T, but the same is true for the other pairs of consonants (they are more rare at the end of a word, though, so D is the one you'll notice the most).

cachirro wrote:new question, single "E"s:
this is also another question that i can't yet make the rule, well, i can memorize that this word is this way and that word is the other way, but i want to understand if there's a rule in here. A single E sounds like an "a" in english alphabet, however, some words it sounds like the english "a", like "negen" (http://pt.forvo.com/word/negen/#nl), (even the second E in here has different sound then first), and words like "melk" (http://pt.forvo.com/word/melk/#nl), where the E sounds like in "wEll" in english, and even other words where the E sounds like the sound "thE" in english.

Thanks for all your patience, i understand that my questions might annoy a dutch speaker, but i want to get the rules clear as possible, so i can create my own help words, but it seems that i might not be able to do it, cause this seems to be a language in freestyle :P
You are absolutely right, the three single E's in "negen" and "melk" are three different sounds, known respectively as the "long e" (which is the same as the double "ee", it's just that sometimes it is written with a single letter, the same goes for the long "aa", "oo", "ie" and "uu"), the "mute e" and the "short e". You'll find more info on that in our grammar pages (the section specifically about the E starts here, but it may not make much sense unless you read the previous paragraphs first).

You may also want to read the rest of the chapter on spelling and pronunciation - that should help with some of your questions, and help you understand what I just wrote in the previous paragraph. If something isn't clear in there, feel free to ask for help here.

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by Dora » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:04 pm

Voiced consonants are sounds that use your vocal chords. Try putting your fingers on the front of your throat and saying the sound of "D" (the sound not the name of the letter, of course). You should feel a slight vibration. That is a voiced sound. Now try saying the sound of "T". You should not feel the vibration. That is an unvoiced sound. Do the same with B/P, Z/S, V/F and see which ones are voiced and which are unvoiced. Dutch words will not end with a voiced consonant sound, so always speak the related unvoiced sound, even if it is spelled with "d" or "b" at the end.

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by Dora » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:14 pm

I am convinced that different people hear the same sound differently. I have noticed that vowels sound different before an r. Many will downplay this difference as small but it is quite huge to my ears. This confused me for a long time.

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by cachirro » Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:24 pm

yep, it's hard for you to try to learn on your own when you ear something, you think you got the rule set, and then you ear a similar thing in a different way, there goes your rule :D

I have a recent doubt, it's about the pronunciation of G, not the RRRRRRRRR thing, but why is it sometimes pronounced as a regular G and not an R, for example, "weg" you say "weR" like in "vogel" or "geen", and in "koning" or "koningin" i don't ear the RRRR sound on the G's, but there are other words that i've seen that happen.

i'm thinking of maybe register in some real school to learn ducth for real, do you guys know if there are any government programs for that? what do you recommend?

thanks once again.

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by ngonyama » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 am

cachirro wrote:yep, it's hard for you to try to learn on your own when you ear something, you think you got the rule set, and then you ear a similar thing in a different way, there goes your rule :D

I have a recent doubt, it's about the pronunciation of G, not the RRRRRRRRR thing, but why is it sometimes pronounced as a regular G and not an R, for example, "weg" you say "weR" like in "vogel" or "geen", and in "koning" or "koningin" i don't ear the RRRR sound on the G's, but there are other words that i've seen that happen.

In koning(in) it sounds like [ƞ], because the combination ng sounds like it does in English sing. I don't know what you mean by 'regular G' . I you mean the [g] as in English 'good', Dutch does not really have that sound, except in loans from English or so. All native written g's are gutteral spirants. At the end of a word voiceless, a bit like Spanish jota, although a bit harsher in the North. In the middle of a word like 'vogel' the g can be voiced but that is more in the South.

i'm thinking of maybe register in some real school to learn ducth for real, do you guys know if there are any government programs for that? what do you recommend?

thanks once again.

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by ngonyama » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:17 am

Dora wrote:I am convinced that different people hear the same sound differently. I have noticed that vowels sound different before an r. Many will downplay this difference as small but it is quite huge to my ears. This confused me for a long time.
To me as well, but that is because I am a Westerner/Northerner. For me 'keer' has a long [ɪ:] vowel, like ɪ in 'pit' but then longer. In 'voor' I hear (and say) a long [ɔ:] as in pot but longer. A bit like in the (Dutch) word 'zone'. I have had debates about this with people from Flanders and Limburg for whom that is apparently not so.

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by BrutallyFrank » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:51 pm

A few weeks ago a teacher and some asian pupil sat at my table during a break. Same discussion started. They asked me to give an example of 'stoottoon' and 'sleeptoon' (pitch accent). Strange thing was, the teacher (native speaker) didn't hear the difference, the pupil (non-native speaker) did! I guess it has to do with the way you grow up and hear/learn from your environment.
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Re: Pronunciation

Post by Bert » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:57 pm

Earlier I was a bit confused when I heard different ways of pronunciation of the same word. E.g. I thought the word 'weer' should be pronounced differently if we use it in the meaning 'opnieuw' and when we talk about 'het weer'. Later I realised the weatherman spoke an odd dialect of Dutch. :) Another example is the number 20 which is pronounced at least three different ways...

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by cachirro » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:26 pm

cachirro wrote:
I have a recent doubt, it's about the pronunciation of G, not the RRRRRRRRR thing, but why is it sometimes pronounced as a regular G and not an R, for example, "weg" you say "weR" like in "vogel" or "geen", and in "koning" or "koningin" i don't ear the RRRR sound on the G's, but there are other words that i've seen that happen.
1. another example today, "ding" and "dingen", i don't ear them say the G as that RRRRR sound, even if i go to google translate, it's the same, those G's look like a G sound "like dingo in english for example", definitely no the rrrrr sound like in "geen problem" .

so, what's the rule here for those different sounding G's ?

2. and about the 3 different sound of "E"? can you give me a rule? i will use portuguese sounds to explain the 3 different E sounds, and see if i can understand when to read in one way or the other.
the 1st is "melk", where the E sounds like http://nl.forvo.com/word/%C3%A9/#pt (example from Flowerchild66)
the 2nd is in "deze", first E sounds like http://nl.forvo.com/word/eixo/#pt (example from Flowerchild66, just the first sound of the word)
the 3rd is in "deze", but the second E, sounds like http://nl.forvo.com/word/cama/#pt (example from Imber, just the A sound)

3. about people earing stuff and others don't, that was something that bothered me, because i can 100% say that i ear things different (in some examples i've presented to a person that suppose to teach dutch), and the person was arguing with me that the sound was the same, "damn, i ear them so different how can you say there's no difference??"

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Re: Pronunciation

Post by ngonyama » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:37 pm

cachirro wrote:
cachirro wrote:
I have a recent doubt, it's about the pronunciation of G, not the RRRRRRRRR thing, but why is it sometimes pronounced as a regular G and not an R, for example, "weg" you say "weR" like in "vogel" or "geen", and in "koning" or "koningin" i don't ear the RRRR sound on the G's, but there are other words that i've seen that happen.
1. another example today, "ding" and "dingen", i don't ear them say the G as that RRRRR sound, even if i go to google translate, it's the same, those G's look like a G sound "like dingo in english for example", definitely no the rrrrr sound like in "geen problem" .
I did explain that above, I think. The Dutch COMBINATION -ng- is pronounced the same as it is in English "singer" and no not as in English dingo. That is pronounced as finger, not as singer and no Dutch does not have that.[
so, what's the rule here for those different sounding G's ?

2. and about the 3 different sound of "E"? can you give me a rule? i will use portuguese sounds to explain the 3 different E sounds, and see if i can understand when to read in one way or the other.
the 1st is "melk", where the E sounds like http://nl.forvo.com/word/%C3%A9/#pt (example from Flowerchild66)
the 2nd is in "deze", first E sounds like http://nl.forvo.com/word/eixo/#pt (example from Flowerchild66, just the first sound of the word)
the 3rd is in "deze", but the second E, sounds like http://nl.forvo.com/word/cama/#pt (example from Imber, just the A sound)
In unstressed syllabled the e sounds as a schwa [ə] just like the English e does in singer

If the syllable is stressed the sound is either [e] or [ɛ]. You can see that from the spelling.
If the syllable is closed with a consonant the sound is [ɛ]: pet - [pɛt]
To keep the syllable closed, you double the consonant petten - ['pɛtən]

Without doubling the syllable becomes open and the sound becomes [e]
peten - ['petən]
To render that same vowel in a closed syllable you double the vowel
peet - [pet]



3. about people earing stuff and others don't, that was something that bothered me, because i can 100% say that i ear things different (in some examples i've presented to a person that suppose to teach dutch), and the person was arguing with me that the sound was the same, "damn, i ear them so different how can you say there's no difference??"

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