Search my site: 'Like' the Dutch Website on Facebook - New material added: August 2013

Dutch Vowel Sounds Compared

April 2013: Major Upgrade - mouseovers with translation and more than 300 sound files for individual words added, and a new introduction.

A rough translation of all Dutch words on this page - or see mouseovers.

Long and Short Vowels: Dutch vowels can be 'long' or 'short.'
('Long' and 'short' are traditional names - the difference is actually more a matter of tone.)

short A click to hear
long A click to hear
short E click to hear
long E click to hear
'voiceless E' ('schwa') click to hear
short I click to hear
long I (IE) click to hear
short O click to hear
long O click to hear
short U click to hear
long U click to hear
There is no sound in English like Dutch 'long U.'
Y is almost always pronounced as Dutch I, either long or short.
More on pronunciation of vowels and diphthongs
Spelling: Double vowels are always long, but a vowel written as a single letter can be either short or long.
long: Kaat click to hear maan click to hear slaap click to hear Deen click to hear boom click to hear 2 vloot click to hear 2 Double vowel: always long
long:
exception:
ka click to hear 2 ma click to hear sla click to hear
de click to hear
Co click to hear vlo click to hear 2 Single vowel at the end of a word: long
- except for E at the end of a word which is voiceless: e (uh) click to hear
short: kat click to hear man click to hear slap click to hear den click to hear bom click to hear 2 vlot click to hear 2 3 Single vowel followed by one or more consonants at the end of a word: short
long: kater click to hear 2 manen click to hear slapen click to hear Denen click to hear 2 bomen click to hear vloten click to hear 2 Single vowel followed by one consonant followed by another vowel: long - this is a bit like 'silent E' in English, which indicates that a preceding vowel is long.
short: katten click to hear 2 mannen click to hear slappe click to hear dennen click to hear 2 bommen click to hear 2 vlotten click to hear 2 3 Single vowel followed by two or more consonants: short
Unfortunately, the rules of long and short vowels are of no help with 'voiceless, unstressed E' ('schwa') - it's one of the biggest problems in Dutch pronunciation. - more
Double consonants are not pronounced 'longer' or with a pause in between. They sound just the same as single consonants. They're double just to show that the vowel before them is 'short.' - more
Grootte click to hear ('size, dimension') sounds exactly the same as grote click to hear 2 ('big, large, tall, great')
Heten heetten laden laadden click to hear heten sounds exactly the same as heetten and laden sounds exactly the same as laadden

You'll hear a single word by clicking the speaker icon next to it; clicking 'hear' will let you hear the three or four words in the column above.

a click to hear aa click to hear e (è) click to hear ee click to hear e (uh) click to hear
'schwa'
i click to hear ie click to hear o click to hear oo click to hear u click to hear uu click to hear
a badpak click to hear 2 3
grapjas click to hear 2
marsman click to hear
markant
hear
raspaard
kassa click to hear
balzaal
barbaar
hear
dagmelk
handrem click to hear
zangles
parket
hear
brandweer click to hear 2
baksteen click to hear
mafkees click to hear
kasteel click to hear 2
hear
varken click to hear 2
karren click to hear
warmte click to hear 2
malle
hear
walvis click to hear
tastzin click to hear 2
nachtlicht
april click to hear
hear
actie
brandbrief
grasspriet
plankier
hear
hangslot
kladblok
afkomst click to hear 2
ballon
hear
paspoort click to hear
stamboom click to hear
walnoot
akkoord click to hear 2
hear
badmuts click to hear 2
brandpunt
dampdruk
aldus click to hear 2
hear
accu click to hear
galzuur
baljuw click to hear 2
factuur
hear
aa raakvlak
baaldag click to hear
aandacht click to hear 2
aardgas click to hear 2
hear
blaaskaak
plaatstaal click to hear 2
staalplaat click to hear 2
daarna click to hear
hear - 2
aanzet
waarmerk
spraakles
agent click to hear 2
hear
kraamheer
nawee
straatsteen
waarmee
hear - 2
zwavel click to hear
fabel
arend click to hear
kamer click to hear
hear
dwaling
slavink
maanlicht
waardin
hear
salie
aasgier
schaaldier
tragiek
hear - 2
taartvorm
aanbod click to hear
paaldorp
spaarpot
hear
graanoogst
aardnoot
draadloos click to hear 2
naaldboom
hear
schaakclub
slaapmuts
staartstuk
hear
haardvuur
klaagmuur
zwaluw click to hear
glazuur
hear
e
(è)
kletsnat click to hear 2
verfkwast
werkdag click to hear
exact
hear
extra click to hear 2
erna click to hear 2 3
zeldzaam click to hear 2
mentaal
hear - 2
stemrecht click to hear 2
respect click to hear
ventweg
perplex
hear
bedstee click to hear 2
benzeen
werkweek click to hear 2
perceel
hear
deksel click to hear
bengel click to hear
lekker click to hear 2
gekte
hear
perzik
melding
schelvis
erin
hear
herrie click to hear
rendier click to hear 2
technisch
enzym click to hear 2 3
hear
veldtocht
stemvork click to hear 2
tentstok
erop
hear
hefboom click to hear
veldloop
netto click to hear 2 3
ervoor click to hear
hear
geldstuk click to hear
bergrug
stembus click to hear
spectrum
hear
melkzuur
dressuur
vetzuur
censuur
hear
ee treeplank
weekdag click to hear 2
leenman
heelal
hear - 2
eerzaam
zebra click to hear
smeerkaas
metaal click to hear
hear
beenmerg click to hear 2 3
smeergeld click to hear
heenweg
steencel
hear
kweepeer
scheerzeep click to hear
smeerkees click to hear 2
veeleer
hear
bezem click to hear
meester click to hear
hemel click to hear
vrede click to hear
hear
leesbril click to hear
meermin
speling click to hear 2
berin
hear - 2
serie
veertien click to hear
zeeziek
chemie
hear
theepot
veerpont
eervol
spelonk
hear
kweekschool click to hear
sleepboot click to hear 2
heeroom
beeldschoon
hear
feestmuts
eetlust click to hear 2
meetpunt
zeefdruk
hear
spreekuur click to hear 2
zenuw click to hear
scheluw
caesuur
hear
e
(uh)
behang click to hear
getal click to hear
verstand click to hear
bedankt click to hear
hear
gebaar click to hear
begaan
senaat
pedaal click to hear 2
hear
bretels click to hear 2
verzet click to hear
reflex
geschenk click to hear 2
hear
gereed
meneer click to hear
beleefd click to hear 2
meteen click to hear 2
hear


-

gebit click to hear 2 3
begin click to hear
gemis
verplicht click to hear 2
hear
geniet
plezier click to hear
verliefd click to hear
gezien
hear
genot
bekomst
verzorgd click to hear
gezond click to hear
hear
betoog
gehoord
persoon click to hear 2
geloofd
hear
geluk click to hear
gepruts
benul
terug click to hear
hear
bestuur
verhuurd
secuur
menu click to hear
hear
i wipwap click to hear
glimlach click to hear
pikzwart click to hear 2
kristal click to hear 2 3
hear
lichtjaar click to hear
prisma
windvlaag
schildknaap click to hear 2
hear - 2
grindweg
inktvlek
spliterwt
prinses click to hear
hear - 2
lichtgeel
witheet click to hear 2
vismeel
dictee click to hear
hear
bintje
dichter click to hear 2
pinken
vinger click to hear >>
hear
grinnik
inktvis
lichtschip
viltstift
hear
spilziek
stinkdier
witkiel
misschien click to hear
hear
bisschop click to hear
glimworm
witlof click to hear 2
klimop click to hear
hear
knipoog
inkoop
lidwoord click to hear 2
symbool click to hear 2
hear
kwikdruk
minpunt
circus click to hear 2
mislukt
hear
miltvuur
tinctuur
dispuut
infuus click to hear
hear - 2
ie fietsband
knieval
spierbal
bizar click to hear
hear
diepgaand click to hear 2 3
prima click to hear 2
rietkraag
gitaar click to hear
hear
vlierbes
pipet
driewerf
direct click to hear 2
hear
hierheen click to hear 2 3
liegbeest
niersteen
idee click to hear
hear
diesel click to hear 2
spiegel click to hear 2
vrienden click to hear
priester click to hear
hear - 2
biergist
griepprik click to hear
mierik
vriendin click to hear
hear
dienstfiets
diepvries click to hear 2
kieviet
vizier
hear
bierton
driesprong
wieldop
hierom
hear - 2
driepoot
bieslook click to hear 2 3
kniesoor
piloot click to hear 2
hear
kwibus click to hear
vriespunt click to hear
cyclus click to hear
diepdruk
hear
fietsstuur
figuur click to hear
minuut click to hear
tribuun
hear
o hofnar click to hear 2
bolknak
losvast
contact click to hear 2
hear
rolmaat
stokpaard
topzwaar
orgaan click to hear 2
hear
bosbes
omtrek click to hear 2
stopverf click to hear 2
orkest click to hear 2
hear
brombeer click to hear
fopspeen
klopgeest
compleet click to hear
hear
donder click to hear
rommel click to hear
lorren
jongens click to hear
hear - (2)
potdicht
stokvis
tochtstrip
onding click to hear 2 3
hear
bosmier
godsdienst click to hear 2
volkslied click to hear 2 >>
portier click to hear 2 3
hear
boktor
fosfor click to hear
losbol
ponton
hear
knoflook click to hear
molshoop
kopstoot
omhoog click to hear 2 3
hear
boshut
onlust
yoghurt click to hear 2
corrupt
hear
montuur
ommuurd
kostuum
tonsuur
hear
oo broodplank click to hear
doorgang
schoolslag
kobalt click to hear
hear
boomgaard click to hear 2 3
stola
loodzwaar click to hear 2
propaan
hear
doodeng
oorbel
kookles
project click to hear 2
hear
droombeeld
stoofpeer
gootsteen click to hear
toneel click to hear
hear
boren
jofel click to hear
code click to hear 2
moker click to hear
hear - 2
booswicht
schoolschrift
koning click to hear
godin click to hear
hear
olie click to hear 2
mobiel
roofdier
motief click to hear 2
hear
droogdok
ozon click to hear 2
robot click to hear
kolom
hear - 2
broodroof click to hear 2
loofboom
noordpool
solo
hear
kroonkurk click to hear
kookpunt click to hear
schoolbus
product
hear
koolzuur
boorzuur
robuust click to hear
hear
u mustang
luchtzak
rugslag
stuntman
hear - 2
busbaan
puntgaaf
vruchtbaar click to hear
vulkaan click to hear
hear
drukwerk
kunstmest click to hear 2
vluchtweg
urgent click to hear 2
hear
rundvlees click to hear
vruchtvlees click to hear 2
hulpkreet
hear - 2
bunker click to hear 2
tunnel click to hear 2
slungel
zuster click to hear
hear
turfschip
drukinkt
schutting click to hear
luchtdicht
hear - 2
kunstnier
guppie
smurrie click to hear
muskiet
hear
bustocht
muntdrop
kunstvorm
hutspot click to hear
hear
rustoord
clubhoofd
blusboot
stukloon
hear
hulpstuk
luchtbrug
muskus
nulpunt click to hear 2
hear
lunchuur
structuur click to hear
rustkuur
cultuur click to hear
hear
uu buurland
stuurman
stuwdam
vuurvast click to hear 2
hear
duurzaam
tuba click to hear
zuurgraad
brutaal click to hear
hear
buurtkerk
muurverf
vuurwerk click to hear
student click to hear
hear
buurtfeest
stuwmeer
vuurzee
fluweel click to hear
hear
buren click to hear 2
luwte click to hear 2
sluwe
muze click to hear
hear - 2
stuwing
zuring
hear
fusie click to hear
ruzie click to hear 2
studie click to hear
ludiek
hear
vuurmond
zuurstof click to hear
duurvorm click to hear 2
stuurslot
hear
duwboot
kuuroord
zuurkool click to hear
vuurrood click to hear 2
hear
buurtbus
kubus click to hear
stuurhut
tumult click to hear
hear


-

printer versions of this table: top half - bottom half (set your printer to landscape)
All the Dutch words on this page roughly translated - or see move the cursor over a word to see it translated

a aa e (è) ee (e) (uh)
schwa
i ie o oo u uu
au
=
ou
click to hear
landbouw click to hear
zalmsaus
brandhout click to hear
karbouw
hear
kraamvrouw click to hear
slasaus
laagbouw
staalblauw
hear
denkfout
speksaus
wenkbrauw click to hear 2
kletskous click to hear 2
hear
eenvoud click to hear
vleessaus
meeldauw
sleeptouw
hear
benauwd click to hear
gebouw click to hear 2
getrouwd click to hear
mevrouw click to hear 2 3
hear
klimtouw
vissaus
lichtblauw
springtouw
hear
drievoud
frietsaus
diepblauw
vrieskou
hear
bosbouw
rotsaus
pofmouw
opbouw click to hear 2 3
hear
roofbouw
roomsaus
vlootschouw
voortouw
hear
vlugzout
juffrouw click to hear
hear
buurvrouw
click to hear 2
ei
=
ij
click to hear
arbeid
bakzeil
marktplein
knalpijp
hear
aardbei
kaalheid
paasei
blaaspijp
hear
dekzeil
sneltrein click to hear
wedstrijd click to hear 2
festijn
hear
deeltijd click to hear
eenheid click to hear 2
weerschijn
zeereis
hear
geheim click to hear 2
bewijs click to hear 2
verschijn
gelijk click to hear 2
hear - 2
dichtheid click to hear
tinmijn
gifpijl
dichtbij click to hear
hear
kiespijn click to hear
piekfijn
vliegtijd
hierbij
hear
kostprijs
ongein click to hear
dophei
ontbijt click to hear
hear
droomreis
schoolstrijd
stoomtrein
kozijn click to hear
hear
buslijn
rusttijd
gulheid
luchtreis
hear
schuurschijf
sluwheid
huurprijs
vuurpijl click to hear
hear
eu
click to hear
afkeur
branddeur
wasbeurt
acteur click to hear 2
hear
vaargeul
click to hear
nerveus click to hear 2
herfstkleur
terreur click to hear
hear
feestneus
leesbeurt
beenbreuk
spreekbeurt
hear
gebeurd
gekleurd
gezeul
gezeur
hear
visgeur
wipneus
viskeus
hear
mineur click to hear
primeur
likeur click to hear 2
biergeur
hear - 2
bosgeus
hordeur
wolkbreuk click to hear
monteur click to hear 2
hear
oogkleur
loopneus
voordeur click to hear
doodleuk
hear
drupneus
puntneus
schutkleur
hear
schuurdeur click to hear
stuwdeur
humeur click to hear 2 3
hear
oe
click to hear
halsdoek
krachtvoer
stapvoets
kalkoen click to hear 2
hear
aanzoek click to hear
nadoen click to hear 2 3
blaasroer
staalboek
hear
melkkoe
werkvloer
bergschoen
zeshoek
hear
meerkoet
smeerpoets click to hear 2 3
veeboer
geelgroen
hear
beroemd click to hear
beroep click to hear 2
genoeg click to hear
verzoek click to hear 2
hear
blinddoek
mispoes
vilthoed
miljoen click to hear 2
hear - 2
driehoek
kniebroek
schietstoel
citroen click to hear 2
hear
dorsvloer
hondsmoe
zondvloed
mondhoek
hear
hoogmoed
kookboek click to hear
roomsoes
blootsvoets
hear - 2
drukproef
flutboek
kunstbloem
puntschoen
hear
buurtkroeg
muurbloem
rumoer click to hear 2 3 4
hear - 2
ui
click to hear
lachbui
gasthuis
dwarsfluit click to hear 2
brandspuit
hear
laadruim
raadhuis
kajuit
schavuit click to hear 2
hear
melkmuil
verfspuit
werktuig click to hear 2
eruit
hear
beeldbuis
scheepsruim
theehuis
breeduit
hear
beschuit click to hear 2
verruild
geluid click to hear
geruis
hear
spitsmuis
vishuis
zintuig click to hear
filmhuis
hear - 2
bierbuik
vliegtuig click to hear
vlierstruik
sliep-uit
hear - 2
bosuil
coltrui click to hear 2
postduif
fortuin click to hear 2
hear
rookpluim
boothuis
hoosbui
vooruit click to hear 2
hear - 2
buskruit click to hear
clubhuis
luchtruim
rusthuis
hear
huurhuis
click to hear

buurthuis
click to hear 2

printer version of this table (set printer to landscape)

a aa e (è) ee (e) (uh) schwa i ie o oo u uu
au
=
ou
houtland
bouwval click to hear 2
trouwdag click to hear 2
zoutzak
hear - 2
bouwplaat
trauma click to hear
houtzaag
blauwpaars click to hear 2
hear
bouwset
bouwwerk
schouwspel
hear
bouwkeet
goudgeel
houdgreep
houweel click to hear
hear - 2
flauwte
pauze click to hear 2 3 4
schouder click to hear
vouwden
hear
goudvink click to hear 2
goudvis
houding click to hear
trouwring click to hear 2
hear
gauwdief
rouwbrief
vouwfiets click to hear
bauxiet
hear
houtwol
sauskom
kauwgom click to hear
goudpot
hear
foutloos
houtskool
oudoom
goudkoorts
hear
houtwurm
schouwburg click to hear 2
bouwput
goudstuk
hear - 2
blauwzuur
koudvuur click to hear 2
spouwmuur
zoutzuur click to hear
hear - 2
ei
=
ij
nijptang click to hear
weitas
mijnlamp
stijlvast
hear
glijbaan click to hear
heilzaam
meikaas
rijnaak click to hear 2
hear
tijdperk click to hear 2
vlijmscherp click to hear
ijsberg click to hear 2
vrijwel click to hear 2
hear
slijpsteen
wijsgeer
eindstreep
rijstmeel
hear
beitel
spijker click to hear
eigen click to hear
geintje click to hear
hear
deining
eiwit click to hear
tijdschrift click to hear
kleinkind click to hear 2
hear
bijnier click to hear 2
vrijbrief
rijwiel click to hear
rijdier
hear
heiblok
kleigrond
splijtstof click to hear 2
ijsschots
hear
rijmwoord
ijsco
feilloos
zeilboot click to hear 2
hear
ijsmuts
strijdlust
treinbus
pijlpunt
hear - 2
tijdsduur click to hear 2
ijsmuur
hear
eu breukvlak
deurmat
geurvlag
kreukvast
hear
beunhaas click to hear 2 3 4
deugdzaam
reuma
neutraal click to hear 2
hear
deurbel
keurmerk
kleurecht
hear
steunbeer
deurveer
heupbeen
breukstreep
hear
vreugde click to hear
dreumes click to hear
beugel click to hear 2
keuken click to hear 2
hear
beurtschip
keuring click to hear 2
leuning
treurwilg click to hear
hear
deugniet
zeurpiet click to hear
hear - 2
keurvorst
geurstof
kneuswond
deurslot
hear
kleurloos click to hear 2
neushoorn click to hear 2
reukloos
steunzool
hear - 2
peulvrucht
steunpunt
hear
steunmuur
hear
oe bloemblad
stoeprand
poetslap
moeras click to hear
hear
broedplaats
oertaal
spoedzaak
hoera click to hear 2
hear - 2
proefwerk
koemelk
toestel click to hear
hoewel click to hear
hear
vloerkleed
hoeksteen
schoensmeer click to hear 2
hoezee click to hear 2
hear - (2)
groente click to hear
moeder click to hear
voedsel click to hear
boemel
hear
proefschrift click to hear
roeping click to hear 2 3
zoeklicht
boerin
hear
boegspriet
poeslief click to hear 2 3
proefdier
koetsier click to hear
hear
broekrok
schroefdop
roerdomp
vloedgolf
hear
bloemkool click to hear 2
roerloos click to hear
stoelpoot
goedkoop click to hear 2
hear
bloeddruk click to hear 2
toerbus
toevlucht
doelpunt click to hear
hear
groepskuur
zoetzuur
kroegmuur
hear
ui kruitdamp
tuinslang click to hear 2
huifkar click to hear
kruisband
hear
bruidstaart
druipkaars
huisraad
uitspraak click to hear
hear
kruisbes
sluipwesp
tuinhek
zuidwest
hear
bruikleen
kruisheer
muilpeer
uitheems
hear
muiltje
ruiker click to hear
zuivel click to hear
duizend click to hear
hear
bruinvis
pruillip
muisstil
uitzicht click to hear
hear
fruitvlieg
muildier click to hear 2
huisvriend
buikriem
hear
bruiloft click to hear
duimstok
thuisfront
kruistocht
hear
druiloor
fruitboom
kruisboog click to hear
puinhoop
hear
bruidsjurk
kruispunt click to hear 2
huismus click to hear
spuitbus
hear
huishuur
kruisvuur click to hear 2
hear
printer version of this table (set printer to landscape)

au = ou ei = ij eu oe ui
au
=
ou
blauwkous
houtbouw
hear
bouwstijl
goudmijn
oudheid
blauwgrijs
hear
houtgeur
houtdeur
hear
rouwstoet
trouwkoets
hear - 2
houtduif
houtluis
hear
ei
=
ij
wijnbouw
breikous
vijfvoud
ijssaus
hear
blijheid click to hear
ijsvrij click to hear 2
reinheid
tijdreis
hear
wijsneus click to hear 2
zijdeur
lijfspreuk
dijkbreuk
hear
kleingoed
rijbroek
vijfhoek
seizoen click to hear
hear
kleiduif
rijtuig click to hear
ijstrui click to hear 2
vrijuit
hear
eu zeurkous
hear
keurslijf
kleurkrijt
deurlijst
beursplein click to hear 2
hear
speurneus
treurbeuk
hear
deukhoed
kleurboek click to hear 2
heupbroek
leunstoel
hear
scheurbuik click to hear
hear
oe zoethout
oeroud
oerwoud click to hear 2 3
hear
vroedvrouw click to hear 2 3
boekweit click to hear 2
moerbei
proeftijd click to hear 2 3
woestijn click to hear
hear
roestkleur
toerbeurt
bloedneus click to hear 2
hear
koekoek click to hear 2
poetsdoek
snoepgoed click to hear
toedoen
hear
koelhuis
moestuin click to hear 2
voertuig
hoestbui click to hear 2
hear
ui huisvrouw click to hear 2 3
tuinbouw
kruishout click to hear
uitbouw
hear - 2
huisvlijt click to hear 2
buikpijn click to hear 2
muisgrijs
uitkijk
hear
schuifdeur
ruilbeurs click to hear 2 3
fruitgeur
huidskleur click to hear 2
hear
duimschroef
kruidkoek click to hear
tuinstoel
uitroep
hear
huilbui click to hear
huisvuil click to hear 2
schuimspuit
hear - 2
printer version of this table
A rough translation of all the Dutch words on this page - or see mouseovers

Later additions:
kleurrijk click to hear - breuklijn click to hear 2 - mammoet click to hear - poema click to hear - garnaal click to hear - sprinkhaan click to hear 2 3 - huisdeur click to hear 2 - huisbaas click to hear 2 - reisbeurs click to hear 2 -

Other Dutch Vowel Sounds

Next to the pure and mixed vowels above some Dutch words have combinations of separately pronounced vowels that may look challenging or confusing to foreign speakers.

aorta click to hear - chaos click to hear
kreatief realiteit hear - creatie click to hear 2 slow - reactie click to hear - reageerbuis click to hear - realistisch click to hear
aureool - hear
miauw (meow) - hear
triangel Ria riant cruciaal - hear - triangel click to hear - Ria click to hear - riant click to hear - cruciaal click to hear
prieel dieet diëten - hear - 2
pion trio bastion viool radio - hear - pion click to hear - trio click to hear - bastion click to hear - viool click to hear - radio click to hear 2 - riool click to hear 2
schorpioen click to hear 2
oase click to hear

leeuw leeuwen leeuwtje leeuwin - hear - 2 - leeuw click to hear - Zeeuws click to hear 2 - geeuw click to hear - meeuw click to hear - sneeuw click to hear 2
nieuw nieuwe nieuws - hear - nieuw click to hear - nieuws click to hear - very much like Britsh English 'new' and 'news' - kieuw click to hear 2
sneu click to hear 2 3 - sneeuw click to hear 2 - nieuw click to hear
juweel ritueel - hear - 2 - juweel click to hear 2 - ritueel click to hear

The I after a vowel is pronounced like English Y in 'Yes' (except of course in ei in ui)
fraai fraaie fraaier fraais - hear - haai click to hear - maaien click to hear - zaaitijd click to hear
maïs Thais pais - hear - Dutch AI sounds very much like English 'I' - maïs click to hear 2 - Thai click to hear
snijmaïs click to hear 2 3 - maïsbrij click to hear 2 - maïsmeel click to hear - maïsfeest click to hear 2 - Maizena click to hear
ooi dooien dooit - hear - ooi click to hear - dooi click to hear prooi click to hear 2
mooi mooier mooist - hear - mooi click to hear - hooi click to hear
koe koeien - hear - koeien click to hear - koeien loeien click to hear
groei groeien groeit - hear - groei click to hear 2 - groeien click to hear 2 - boeien click to hear 2

Words that end in ei, ij or ui will have a sound like Y in English 'Yes' (Dutch 'J') inserted before endings that starts with a vowel, like -e, -en or -er. This sound is not put in writing.
ei eieren - hear
kei keien ei eieren beiaard - hear
vrij vrijer - hear
lui luie - hear
ui uien kruier - hear - ui click to hear 2 - uien click to hear
Compare also: beiaard click to hear 2 - bejaard click to hear 2

In a few words of French origin, the ou is pronounced as English OO:
coulant couplet foudraal - hear
More words and sounds from French:
cadeau bureau - hear
dressoir boudoir - hear
ordinair militair - hear
portemonnaie portefeuille - hear
French O: roze click to hear - zone click to hear - controle click to hear 2
In Greek names and a few words of Greek origin, the Dutch pronounce EU as Dutch UI, OE as Dutch EU, and the Latin -US ending is as Dutch OE:
Prometheus Oedipus - hear Zeus click to hear 2 - Orpheus click to hear 2

aä - eë - eï - eü - ië - oë - uï - uü
Dieresis - two dots on top of a vowel indicate that the vowel is pronounced separately from the preceding vowel(s), not forming a long vowel or a diphtong. In Dutch, it's called trema click to hear - it may look somewhat similar to the German Umlaut, but its meaning is completely different.

Kanaän - kanaal - hear - 2
beëdigd - beet - hear
geïnd - gein - hear
reünie - reuma - hear
piëteit - pieten - hear
agrariër - gier - hear
poëten - poezen - hear
bedoeïen - loeien - hear
coördinatie - koord - hear
ruïne - ruime - hear
vacuüm - buur - hear
geëerd click to hear 2
weeën click to hear
kopiëren click to
 hear 2
ingrediënt click to hear
België click to hear 2
Oekraïne click to hear
De Zeven Provinciën click to hear
De Verenigde Provinciën click to hear
Nederlands-Indië click to hear 2
Californië click to hear
Israël click to hear
Sinaï click to hear
Rafaël click to hear
Daniël click to
   hear

Fine Points Final

Don't worry about it as a beginning speaker.
A single 'a' in an open syllable is usually long, but when it doesn't have the stress of the word it will be pronounced as a short 'a.' You'll usually (but not always) see a long vowel in the second syllable here.
balans kabaal papier kanon acuut tapijt - hear
slabak camera paling - hear - 2
tabel tafel fabel - hear

When you listen closely, you may have noticed that Dutch vowels get longer before R and/or change slightly in tone. Don't worry about it in your first years of studying Dutch - Vowels before R.

All the Dutch words on this page translated - or see mouseovers.

Compound Words
As you may have seen, Dutch has many compound words. For instance (de) spoorweg click to hear 2 - 'railroad' like in English, and overgang click to hear - like 'overpass' in English, though in Dutch it means 'crossing' at the same level, and of different kinds of road. ('Intersection' is (het) kruispunt click to hear 2) But unlike English, Dutch can combine those words into spoorwegovergang click to hear ('railroad crossing') and even further to spoorwegovergangwachter click to hear - the attendant at the crossing who takes care of (or checks on) the lowering and lifting the traffic barriers.
God click to hear and dienst click to hear ('service') combine to godsdienst click to hear 2 ('religion.') 'Free' is vrij click to hear and 'freedom, liberty' is vrijheid click to hear 2. These words combine to make (de) godsdienstvrijheid click to hear ('freedom of religion.') Just as important is (de) gewetensvrijheid click to hear ('freedom of conscience') - the freedom to change your religion, and (de) vrijheid van meningsuiting click to hear ('freedom of [expressing opinion] speech.')
In English, compound words may need the approval of Mr Webster and the Queen, but in Dutch any native speaker can make up compound words. I remember, long ago in a shop, two teenagers came in and asked for an 'inkijkboek' click to hear 2 ('a lookup book.') The other people in the store laughed (in a friendly way) but it was perfectly clear what they meant, and I admired the kids for coming up with such a nice word. The regular Dutch word is (de) catalogus click to hear 2 3.
I may have made up one or two of the words on this page myself. But not all word combinations are correct Dutch and some sound unpleasant, like the German-style meerprijs click to hear 2 ('a higher price') that's sometimes seen in ads: "Voor een geringe meerprijs ..." click to hear 2
'At a slightly higher price ...'
Foreigners may not have a good sense of what's right.
'Darkroom' is the only example that I can think of where an English compound word translates into two Dutch words: donkere kamer click to hear 2.
More on Long and Short Vowels
Another approach to the long or short of single vowels is to look at syllables. In Dutch, syllables are organized around vowels. There is almost always just one vowel or diphthong in a syllable.
If there is one consonant between vowels, it usually goes to the second syllable. If there are two or more consonants between vowels usually one remains with the first syllable and the others come after the break. Compound words are broken up between the original words.
A syllable ending in a vowel is called 'open,' and a single vowel in an open syllable is 'long' (exept E at the end of a word.)
A syllable ending in a consonant is called 'closed,' and a single vowel in a closed syllable is short.
These rules of pronunciation and spelling also cause further changes in words when endings like -e, -en or -es are added. Earlier on the page it was shown that the plural of man is mannen, while the plural of maan is manen. - more - 2 - 3.

Welcome Learning Dutch? - Lesson 1 Site Map Pronunciation Words and Phrases Hear Dutch Names

email Copyright © Marco Schuffelen 2006-2013. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, hotlinked to or redistributed.
Don't be a dief (thief) - dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2