Now is The Time
Hear All Vowels and Diphthongs Next to Each Other
All Vowels and Diphthongs with Exceptions and Special Cases
vowel - plural:
(de) medeklinker consonant - plural: medeklinkers more
(de) tweeklank diphthong - plural: tweeklanken
lettergrepen (let-ter-gre-pen 2) syllables - singular: (de) lettergreep
The Dutch vowels come in two varieties, traditionally called 'long' (lang 2 3 4) and 'short' (kort 2 3 4) - but it is actually more a difference in tone.
| short I
long I (IE)
A sound like Dutch 'long A' is unusual in English, but it's found
in names like Chicago and Florida
There is no sound like Dutch 'short I' in French
The sound of Dutch OO is often represented by OE in English (and vice versa)
There is no sound like Dutch long U in English, but it is is found in French, like in cru or dur and in German, like in hügel and muesli
There's a problematic 'third E' that's outside the long/short
categories. I call it the
'voiceless, unstressed E'
- it's also called the 'schwa.'
The Dutch word for it is 'stomme E' 2 or 'toonloze E' but I'd rather call it 'niet-beklemtoonde E' ('unstressed E') but that's a mouthful. How about 'doffe E' 2 ('dull E') - but who am I?
More about it later: below
The spelling and pronunciation rules are not complicated and fairly logical: you can usually tell from the spelling of a word if the vowels are 'long' or 'short' and from hearing a word you can tell how it's written.
|maan||maan||'long a' - (moon)|
|man||man||'short a' - (man,male)|
|mannen||man-nen||'short a' - (men)|
|Ma||Ma||'long a' - (Mom)|
|manen||ma-nen||'long a' - (moons)|
|markten||mark-ten||'short a' - (markets)|
Syllables ending in a vowel are called 'open' and syllables ending in a consonant are called 'closed' - hence some call 'long vowels' vrij ('free') and 'closed vowels' gedekt 2 3 ('covered')
See also: The Beauty and Logic of Dutch Spelling and Pronunciation
The 'Third E'
But - there are no perfect rules to differentiate the single E of the voiceless, unstressed E from single E's pronounced as short E and long E .
BE-, GE-, TE- and VER- prefixes (word beginnings: be-, ge-, te- and ver- ) have voiceless E, like -EN, -ER and -EL suffixes (word endings -en, -er and -el ) and single E after a consonant at the end of a word is almost always pronounced as voiceless E, but those rules do not cover all cases. And note that one-syllable words don't have suffixes or prefixes.
The only exception I know when single E at the end of a word is not voiceless, unstressed E but 'long' is in the name of the city of Enschede
A Long Read (with many examples) about 'voiceless, unstressed E' - 2 - 3
|The Dutch diphthongs:|
|AU = OU||EI = IJ||EU||OE||UI|
There is no sound like Dutch EI/IJ in English, but I've been told the sound is "somewhere between English FATE and FIGHT" - hear Dutch feit ('fact') - or "between MATE and MIGHT" - hear Dutch: mijt ('parasitic bug') / meid 2 ('girl' - slang)
There's no sound like Dutch EU in English.
German has a sound like it in some words with Ö or OE like
the logician Gödel
French has a sound like Dutch EU in a word like deux
The sound of Dutch OE is often represented by OO in English (and vice versa)
French has a sound like Dutch UI in a word like l'oeil ('the eye')
Diphthongs are always 'long' and pose no spelling or pronunciation complications
long E + UW
(de) eeuw 2 3 century
(de) leeuw lion
(de) sneeuw snow
Dutch IEUW sounds very much like EW in English NEW: Dutch long I (IE) + Dutch UW:
kieuw 2 3 gill (fish breathing)
But but when IEU ends in S or R:
Dutch long I (IE) + Dutch EU + S or R, with a faint consonant-Y (Dutch J) connecting I and EU:
ingenieur engineer (French G)
This flashcards exercise is not meant for learning vocabulary. Some
of the words are good examples of pronunciation but not in common
use. Follow the links ‑>> if you
want to know more about a word (totally optional.)
These flashcards exercises have only two-syllable words or phrases of two one-syllable words
Get to Know the Dutch Vowels and Diphthongs
Hear all Dutch Vowels and Diphthongs next to Each Other
Page 2: Exceptions to Phonetic Spelling of Vowels and Diphthongs, Special Cases
Hearing Illusions and The Psychology of Hearing
Dutch Vowel and Diphthong Listening Tests:
Intro 1 - Intro 2 - Test 1 - Test 2 - Test 3 - Test 4
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