[The Face of Dutch]
Theatre Edition Menu - Examples from Plays

Thank you Julia Lenardon for help with the phonetic symbols.
Also thank you Katalin Tihanyi for pointing me to John Wells' International Phonetic Alphabet in Unicode webpage.
Still, phonetic characters may not display correctly on all computers.
The sound files can only be heard on the 'Theatre Version' of my Website CD-ROM >>

Standard Dutch Accent

August 11, 2010
Kathy Maes, voice coach of the Denver Center Theatre Company

Another Words List

Point of Tension: Front of lips slightly forward and form an oval (rather than round) shape.

Resonance: The slight forward posture of the lips creates enough space in the oral cavity and the pharynx which establishes a good balance of the resonance, though more oral than pharyngeal resonance (not unlike American oral resonance.)

Rhythm and Tempo: The overall rhythm is slightly staccato (probably a result of the devoicing of many consonants), with a rhythmically rising and falling pattern that is moderately paced tempo.

Pitch Range and Lilt (Tune): The pitch range is approximately the same as General American (6-8 pitches). There is also a perceptible rhythmic upward lilt (not unlike what is found in a Swedish accent) that resolves in a downward inflection at the end of a declarative sentence.

Stress Pattern: The Dutch will raise the pitch slightly on the stressed syllable within the word, and will also raise the pitch on the entire word if that word is to receive stress in the sentence or utterance.

Pronunciation: The Dutch when speaking English usually use the British [ɑ - æ] Split for the 'Ask' List Words (i.e., they mostly use the [ɑ] as in 'father' for the [æ] as in 'cat' for the words on this list.) The same British usage is true for the use of the softened 'you' sound as in 'Duke'.

Key: Major Key

Key Phrase

All must put that book up and away this month. click to hear

Vowel Changes

All vowels tend to be one length - unless purposefully lengthened for stress.

  1. [æ] --- [ɛ]
    The [æ] as in 'cat' is raised to the [ɛ] as in 'get.'

    family, cat, ask, answer, fact, baggage, happy, Sam click to hear 2 3

    1a. Sam was happy when he asked his family to answer the man. click to hear
    1b. The erratic band manager was frantic and angered at the pamphlet that attacked the amateur standing of the talented young actress. click to hear

  2. [ɒ] --- [ɔ]
    The [ɒ] sound as in 'doll' becomes the [ɔ] as in 'ought', without the vowel elongation. It has a smaller and very round lip opening, about the size of your thumb. Words that contain this sound are usually spelled 'o' (e.g., 'doll, lot, God') and those word that begin 'wa--' ('wand, watch, want, wander'). Additionally, all words that normally use the vowel sound [ɔ] retain their strong identity and are those words that are spelled 'al', 'au', 'ou', 'aw', and 'or' (e.g., 'all, caught, bought, law, for')

    lot, God, doll, column, monster, watch, want, what, wand, wander click to hear
    all, taught, walk, thought, mortal, fault, ought, law, Paul, or, forgot click to hear

    2a. Paul forgot he taught his adorable daughter to walk and talk. click to hear 2
    2b. Lots of monsters want and watch or walk as they stalk their prey. click to hear

  3. [ʊ] --- [u]
    The [ʊ] sound as in 'book' is raised to the [u] sound as in 'toot'.

    put, look, took, full, could, hook, stood, would, good, should, bush click to hear 2

    3. The good-looking cook took a good look at the butcher with the crooked foot, who stood near the wooden pulpit, his hand on the Good Book, his face full of sugary looks. click to hear

  4. [ʌ] --- [ʊ]
    The [ʌ] sound as in 'cup' is raised to the [ʊ] sound as in 'book'.

    once, tough, judge, much, cup, enough, hungry, dozen, young, country, blood click to hear 2

    4. Once nothing but hungry destruction succeeded, the blood of dozens of other countries was the unutterable by-product. click to hear

  5. [u:] --- [ju]
    The [u:] sound as in 'moon' is softened and rendered as the word 'you'. These words will be spelled '-u, -ui, -ue, and -ew' (e.g., 'June, suit, due, neutral, few' click to hear 2 3)

    June, students, Tuesday, lieu, crew, nuisance click to hear 2

    5. The new duke arrived on Tuesday from Europe to view the assured troops. click to hear

  6. [æ] --- [ɑ]
    The [æ] as in 'ask' is frequently pronounce like the [ɑ] as in 'father' (usually if the [æ] is followed by 'f', 's', 'th' as in 'them' or 'thin', or an 'm' or an 'n' + another consonant):

    raft, path, lather, brass, example, demand click to hear 2

    exceptions: Taft, maths, gather, mass, ample, stand click to hear 2

    6. I can't understand why Auntie is afraid of the ants on the path, can you? click to hear

*** See end of document for a complete list of words to be changed

Consonant Changes

There is a common tendency to devoice all voiced consonant sounds, especially in the medial and final positions.

I. Devoicing in ALL Positions: Initial, Medial and Final

  1. [v] --- [f]
    The [v] as in 'venom' is devoiced in all positions in the word and becomes an [f] as in 'fun'

    verve, very, victory, caveman, lovelorn, lively, improve, connive, tentative, positive click to hear 2

    1a. The very victorious caveman was tentative yet positive as he drove toward the grave. click to hear
    1b. Lovely wives are very lively and resolve to love, not tentatively but positively. click to hear

  2. [θ] --- [s]
    The [θ] as in 'thin' is devoiced in all postition in the word and becomes an [s] as in 'Sam'.

    think, three, thistle, thread, breathless, birthday, faithful, teeth, booth, myth, wreath click to hear 2

    2a. You have been ruthless, unfaithful, and uncouth, so spare me your breathless, mythful truths. click to hear
    2b. The width, length, and breadth of the earth would take thwarted months and months to thread. click to hear

  3. [ʤ] --- [tʃ]
    The [ʤ] as in 'abridgement' and 'rage' in all positions becomes a [tʃ] as in 'chip.'

    judgement, engagement, averaged, abridgement, bulged, George, rage, edge, image click to hear 2

    3. George urged the judge to acknowledge his pledge to discourage the young man's dangerous engagement. click to hear 2

One Variant:

  1. A. [ð] --- [s]
    The [ð] as in 'seething' and 'breathe' is devoiced in the medial and the final positions in the word and becomes an [s] as in 'sun'.

    withdraw, withstand, loathsome, wreather, bathe, unsheath, smooth click to hear 2

    4a. I cannot breathe smoothly; I need to bathe, and soothe my wounds, and withstand the pain. click to hear

    B. [ð] --- [d]
    The [ð] as in 'there' in the initial position in the word becomes a [d] as in 'Dad'.

    there, then, thy, that, thee, the, this, thou, they, them click to hear 2

    4b. There can be no mistake that they thought thee and thou would be there. click to hear

II. Devoicing in the Medial and Final Positions ONLY:

  1. [d] --- [t]
    The [d] as in 'woodman' and 'stockade' in the medial and final position becomes a [t] as in 'Tom'. There is very little aspiration on the [t].

    advertised, handmade, adverse, sandpiper, blended, identified, unsound, woodman click to hear 2

    5a. Afraid, cold, and fatigued, we waded in the dark. click to hear
    5b. The woodman admitted that he needed more hand-made wood windwipers. click to hear

  2. [b] --- [p]
    The [b] as in 'grabbing' and 'job' in the medial and final position becomes a [p] as in 'Paul'. There is very little aspiration on the [p].

    imbibe, abdomen, hubbub, suburb, probably, subject, hobnob, grab, stab click to hear 2

    6a. Babbling like a baby, Bobby grabbed at my watch fob and sobbed. click to hear
    6b. His abdomen probably bubbled up with stabbing pains because he had imbibed too much. click to hear

    Marco note: in Dutch, the B in final position is pronounced as P, and those B's remain P's in compound words - but when followed by a vowel, B's are generally pronounced as B's, and I think a Dutchman pronounces them like that in English too.
    Dutch: slab slap slabben slappe click to hear - lip lippen rib ribben click to hear
    grabbing, gripping click to hear 2

  3. [g] --- [k]
    The [g] as in 'augment' and 'fog' in the medial and final positions becomes a [k] as in 'King'. There is very little aspiration on the [k].

    suggest, straggler, quagmire, zigzag, recognized, pigment, dig, beg, fog, league, intrigue click to hear 2

    7. The indignant witness was totally ignorant of the quagmired intrigue and struggled gallantly to be even vaguely cognizant of the pregnant circumstances. click to hear

  4. [z] --- [s]
    The [z] as in 'wisdom' and 'these' in the medial and final position becomes an [s] as in 'Sun'.

    abused, amazed, wisdom, daze, was, hers, ours, theirs, those, breeze, Joe's click to hear 2

    8. Bees plus fleas, in twos and threes, gazed at the heavens as they buzzed their way through the leaves and trees. click to hear ('tress' 2 3 4)

  5. [ʒ] --- [ʃ]
    The [ʒ] as in 'measure' and 'collage' in the medial and final positions becomes an [ʃ] as in 'ship'.

    massaged, Taj Mahal, garaged, beige, collage, rouge, badinage, mirage click to hear 2

    9. The beige Taj Mahal garage housed an entourage, a montage of antique rouge cars. click to hear 2

III. Other Consonants

  1. Intervocalic [t] --- [d]
    A [t] between two vowel sounds becomes a 'd' [d]

    city, duty, butter, phonetic, pity, absolutely click to hear 2

    10. It was absolutely a pity that he had to go to the city in such bitter weather. click to hear 2

  2. [hju] and [hw] --- [h] is dropped
    In 'hu-' and 'wh-' words, the 'h' sound is dropped (with the exception of 'who, whom, whole, whore' where the 'w' sound is dropped instead).
    * The 'w' becomes a 'v' - see #12 below

    *where, *when, *why, *what, *whether, *which, hue, human, Hugh click to hear 2 3
    who, whom, whole, whore click to hear 2

    11. Whether as we humans will ever learn where, when and why the accident occurred - or what caused it - is a question which Hugh may never be able to answer. click to hear 2 3

  3. [w] --- [v]
    The [w] is not unlike an English 'v' sound, and is made starting with upper teeth resting lightly on lower lip.

    wind, away, wormwood, when, why, wander, which, witch, would, want click to hear 2

    12. Which witch would you want to see and why would you want to wander with her? click to hear 2

  4. [l] --- [ɫ]
    The Dutch accent uses the 'dark l' [ɫ] . The back of the tongue is raised as the tip of the tongue touches the back of the upper front teeth.

    heel, hill, hail, hell, Hal, doll, Paul, pole, pull, pool click to hear 2

    13a. Hal and climb the hill and cry like hell because of his sore heel. click to hear 2
    13b. Paul gave the doll to Molly to put on the pole but she threw it in the pool and couldn't pull it out. click to hear 2

  5. [r], [ɝ], [ɚ] --- [ʁ]
    The Dutch use a 'harder retroflexed r' sound [ʁ] that requires the tongue to be slightly pulled back in the mouth. It is the same 'r' sound heard in the Midwest US.

    right, Robert, rich, reread, rarefy, library, hurry, wider, bird, firm, word, absurd click to hear 2

    14. In February, various absurd characteristically bureaucratic representatives discussed the wider and irritable matter of early bird catching the worm. click to hear 2 3

Words to be Changed

[ɑ:] ("father") words that are pronounced [æ] ("cat") in Standard British:

staff, giraffe, laugh, laughter, draught, raft, craft, graft, daft, shaft, aft, haft, draft, after, rafter, Shaftesbury, calf, half, chaff, graph click to hear

path, lath, lather, rather click to hear

brass, class, glass, pass, clasp, grasp, rasp, gasp click to hear

blast, cast, fast, mast, aghast, last, past, contrast, vast, avast, ask, bask, mask, flask, cask, task, alas, hasp, Basque, masque, drastic, elastic, gymnastic click to hear

master, plaster, disaster, castor, pastor, nasty, disastrous, disaster, ghastly, castle click to hear

brass, class, glass, pass, clasp, grasp, rasp, gasp, blast, cast, fast, mast, aghast, last, past, contrast, vast, avast, ask, bask, mask, flask, cask, task, alas, hasp, Basque, masque drastic, elastic, gymnastic, master, plaster, disaster, castor, pastor, nasty, disastrous, disaster, gastly, castle, basket, casket, rascal, fasten, raspberry, pasty, enthusiastic, bastard, paschal, pastoral, masculine, masquerade, exasperate, blasphemy, masticate, Glasgow click to hear

dance, advance, chance, France, lance, glance, enhance, prance, trance, entrance (v.), grant, slant, aunt, chant, plant, advantage, vantage, chantry, supplant, enchant, branch, blanch, ranch, stanch, stanchion, chancel, chancellor, Frances, Francis, lancet, answer, demand, command, remand, slander, chandler, commando, Alexander, Sandra, Flanders, shan't, can't, stance, askance, circumstantial, intransigent, substantial, Iran, Sudan, banana, transit, transport, transfer, transform, transitory, transient, transept click to hear

example, sample click to hear

email - Copyright © Kathryn Maes / Marco Schuffelen 2010. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, redistributed, or hotlinked to.
Don't be a dief (thief) / dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2