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Lesson 10 - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Exceptions and Irregularities in Dutch Spelling and Pronunciation - Street Words - Fractions - Inches and Centimeters

Listen
Spelling and Pronunciation Exceptions and Irregularities
Vocabulary
Fractions

Simon Stevin
Metric to Imperial: Length (1)
More from Multatuli: Max Havelaar - see also Lesson 7
The dour narrator of the first chapters further introduces himself, and rightly debunks some patriotic Dutch myths.

I say: truth and common sense, and I stick to that. I take The Holy Writ as an exception, of course. Ik zeg waarheid en gezond verstand, en hier blijf ik bij. Voor De Schrift maak ik natuurlijk een uitzondering. click to hear
It already starts to go wrong with Van Alphen, right away in that first line about those 'darling children.' De fout begint al van Van Alphen af, en wel terstond by de eerste regel over die 'lieve wichtjes.' click to hear
What in heaven's name could that old man have had in mind pretending to worship my sister Truitje with her sore eyes, or my brother Gerrit who was always touching his nose? Wat drommel kon die oude heer bewegen zich uit te geven voor een aanbidder van myn zusje Truitje die zere ogen had, of van myn broêr Gerrit die altyd met zyn neus speelde? click to hear
And yet, he says that he sang those lines of poetry, 'propelled by love.' En toch, hy zegt: 'dat hy die versjes zong, door liefde gedrongen.' click to hear
As a child I was often thinking: 'I'd like to meet you, Mister, and if you'd refuse the marbles I'd ask for, or my full name in sweet pastry - my name is Batavus - then I'd call you a liar.' Ik dacht dikwyls als kind: 'man, ik wilde U graag eens ontmoeten, en als ge de marmerknikkers weigerde, die ik vragen zou, of myn naam voluit in banket - ik heet Batavus - dan houd ik U voor een leugenaar.' click to hear
But I've never met Van Alphen. He had already passed away, I think, when he told us that my Dad was my best friend - I liked Pauweltje Winser better, who lived next door in the Batavierstraat - and when he told us that my little dog was so grateful. We had no dogs, because they're not clean. Maar ik heb Van Alphen nooit gezien. Hy was al dood, geloof ik, toen hy ons vertelde dat myn vader myn beste vrind was - ik hield meer van Pauweltje Winser, die naast ons woonde in de Batavierstraat - en dat myn kleine hond zo dankbaar was. Wy hielden geen honden, omdat ze zo onzindelyk zyn. click to
  hear
Everything and all lies! And that's the way children are brought up. Alles leugens! Zo gaat dan de opvoeding voort. click to hear
The woman selling vegetables has brought the new little sister in a large cabbage. Het nieuwe zusje is van de groenvrouw gekomen in een grote kool. click to hear
All Dutchmen are brave and noble. Alle Hollanders zyn dapper en edelmoedig. click to hear
The Romans were glad that the Batavians didn't kill them. De Romeinen waren bly dat de Batavieren hen lieten leven. click to hear
The Bey of Tunis would get a colic when he heard the snapping of the Dutch flag. De Bey van Tunis kreeg een kolyk als hy het wapperen hoorde van de Nederlandse vlag. click to hear
The duke of Alba was a monster. De hertog van Alva was een ondier. click to hear
The low tide, of 1672 I think, lasted a little longer than usual, especially to protect Holland. De eb, in 1672 geloof ik, duurde wat langer dan gewoonlyk, expres om Nederland te beschermen. click to hear
Lies! Holland is still Holland because our old folks took good care of business and had the true religion. That's what it is.
continued
Leugens! Nederland is Nederland gebleven omdat onze oude luî goed op hun zaken pasten, en omdat ze het ware geloof hadden! Dàt is de zaak. click to hear

Notes
Gezond verstand is translated as 'common sense' - literally it is 'healthy thinking.'
The Batavians (Batavieren) were a Germanic tribe that rose up against Roman rule.

'The Bey of Tunis ...' in the 17th Century, the Dutch Navy was able to suppress the Barbary Pirates for a while. (Thank you Daniel Baskin for the 'snapping' translation.)
A hundred years later, John Adams negotiated with the Barbary Pirates and paid them protection money to leave American shipping alone, which Arab nations now proudly present as the first foreign recognition of the United States.
As described by Barbara Tuchman in The First Salute, when on November 16, 1776 Governor de Graaff of the Dutch Carribean colony of St. Eustatius ordered his lieutenant Ravené to return the salute of the U.S. warship Andrew Dorea, it was the first foreign recognition of the new American Flag and Nation. Call me old-fashioned.

'The duke of Alba ...' the Spanish Governor in the early years of the Dutch Revolt.
'The low tide of 1672 ...' Holland was attacked by England, France and two German bishopries in 1672.

Exceptions and Irregularities in Spelling and Pronunciation

The saying: De uitzondering die de regel bevestigt click to hear 2 ('The exception that confirms the rule') is often heard in Dutch, but it is of course nonsense. If a counter-example (tegenvoorbeeld click to hear) can be found the rule is invalid. I remember reading somewhere that the original Latin was something like 'The exception that tests the rule.'
- (de) uitzondering click to hear 2 ('exception') - plural: uitzonderingen click to hear 2 ‑>>
Don't feel overwhelmed by the size of the lesson - Dutch spelling and pronunciation is really far more regular than English, the number of exceptions is much smaller than in English. Still ...
Not Phonetic
Regular Vowel Combinations
Foreign Words
Shortening, Contractions
D and T Softening
 Insertions
Mixed Examples

Where Dutch is Not Phonetic

Dutch spelling is fairly phonetic. In general, there is just one way of writing each sound, and each letter and letter combination is usually pronounced in the same way. Once you know the pronunciation of the letters, you can almost always easily see from written Dutch how to say it, and on hearing Dutch you will know how it's written. There are (of course!) exceptions, but not that many, and most are not very important. Speaking Dutch following only the general rules - pronoucing every letter in the standard way - would not be really bad Dutch. But find below the most important non-phonetic Dutch.
unexpected
short A

Sometimes, an A in the first syllable of a word is short, although according to the spelling rules it should be long (followed by one consonant and another vowel.) In these cases, there is usually a second long vowel:
lawaai click to hear 2 (noise) - kabaal click to hear 2 (noise, ruckus) - compare with: kabel click to hear (cable) - more
CHTJ
T in CHTJ is dropped. It's too hard to say: toch-t-je click to hear (small tour or trip)
tochtje click to hear - zachtjes click to hear (softly)
nichtje click to hear (cousin (female) // niece)
luchtje click to hear (a smell // something fishy)
'Voiceless,
Unstressed E'
the 'schwa' click to hear

A single E can be 'long' click to hear - 'short' click to hear or 'voiceless, unstressed' (the 'schwa') click to hear and to foreigners and non-native speakers it's often hard to tell which E's are 'voiceless, unstressed.' See Lesson 4 and the Pronunciation Reference page
een
click to hear

The indefinite article een click to hear ('a') is pronounced with voiceless E. It's also written as " 'n " which shows the pronunciation correctly. The number 1 and 'one' meaning 'quantity: one' is usually written with accents: één click to hear ('one')
een een ('n één) click to hear a one
een kwart click to hear a quarter (of something) - ¼
wat een click to hear 2 3 4 what a ..., such a ...!
Iemand zal een oplosing moeten vinden click to hear Someone will have to find a solution Er is maar één oplossing click to hear 2 There's only one solution
EI, IJ or UI
with
-E ending

Words that end in ei, ij or ui will have a sound like Y in AWAY inserted when an ending that starts with voiceless E (like -e, -en or -er) is added. This sound is not put in writing.
ei - eieren click to
  hear (egg - eggs)
kei keien ei eieren beiaard click to
  hear
(boulder - boulders - egg - eggs - bell-ringer)
vrij - vrijer click to
  hear (free - more free/'lover') - lui luie click to
  hear (lazy)
ui uien kruier click to hear (onion - onions - porter)
EEUW
click to hear 2 3
geeuw meeuw schreeuw click to hear (yawn - seagull - cry/shout)
leeuw leeuwen - Zeeuws - eeuwig click to hear
(lion - lions - from the Dutch province of Zeeland - eternal)
H after T
H after T is not pronounced:
thee / teen click to hear (tea / toe) - thans / tand click to hear (at the moment / tooth) -
ether / eter click to hear (ether / a person eating) -
theoloog / theïne click to hear (theologian / 'teaine' (=caffeine))
of course except in compound words that split between T and H, for instance: witheet (wit-heet) click to hear 2 ([white-] red-hot) - like in English 'pothole' - pot-hole
I after
A, AA,
OO or OE
'consonant Y,' like Y in AWAY:
kooi roeien vlaai click to hear (cage - to row - fruit pie)
aai boei nooit click to hear ('caress' - buoy - never)
AI: like AI in THAIS:
maïs - Thais - pais click to
  hear
(maize, Indian corn - Thai - 'peace')
maïs - Thais - pais en vree click to hear
(maize, Indian corn - Thai - 'peace and peace,' very quiet)
braille click to hear
fraai fraaie fraaier fraais click to
  hear (beautiful, pretty (various forms))
kraai click to hear 2 (crow)
ooi dooien dooit click to
  hear (ewe (sheep) - to thaw - (it) thaws)
mooi mooier mooist click to hear (pretty, beautiful - prettier - prettiest)
koe koeien click to hear (cow - cows)
groei groeien groeit click to hear (growth, increase - to grow - (it) grows)
moeilijk click to hear / moeilijke click to hear) (difficult) ‑>>
vermoeid click to hear / vermoeide click to hear (tired) - vermoeiend click to hear 2 (tiring) ‑>>
IEUW
click to hear 2
somewhat like EW in British English NEW
nieuw - nieuws click to hear (new - news)
nieuw nieuwe nieuws kieuwen click to hear 2 (new - new - news - gills)
het nieuws click to hear 2 (the news - in English, the S is pronounced somewhat like Z)
-IG ending
click to hear
I like first A in AWAY ('voiceless E')
vluchtig click to hear 2 3 (fleeting) - duchtig click to hear 2 (thorough) - luchtig click to hear ('airy')
beeldig zalig bochtig click to hear ('adorable' - heavenly - curvy (road))
duchtig prachtig click to hear (thorough - wonderful)
grimmig jolig kranig click to hear (grim - jolly - spirited)
aardig melig huiverig click to hear (kind - ~corny - ~hesitant)
schietvereniging click to hear 2 (gun club)
So 'katterig' click to hear ('like a hangover or the flu') sounds the same as 'katterug' click to hear ('a cat's back')
Ik voelde me katterig click to hear [I felt like] I had a hangover (or the flu) een hoge katterug click to hear a cat's [high] arched back
bijzonder
bijzonder click to hear ('special') only in this word is IJ pronounced as long I (English EE)
'Bijzonder' lijkt de enige uitzondering click to hear 'Bijzonder' seems to be, looks like the only exception
-ISCH ending
click to hear
I long, CH not pronounced. There have been plans to change this spelling to -IES
Slavisch chemisch Belgisch click to hear (Slavic - chemical - Belgian)
kritisch fysisch click to hear (critical - physical (having to do with physics))
logisch siberisch arabisch click to hear (logical - siberian - arabic)
-LIJK ending
click to hear 2
IJ like first A in AWAY ('voiceless E')
degelijk dergelijk dagelijks click to
   hear (solid - ~like, similar - daily)
ijselijk - olijk - eerlijk click to hear
(icy - ~'arch,' somewhat rebellious funny - honest)
lelijk - billijk - ergerlijk click to hear
(ugly - ~reasonable, proportional - annoying)
Note that a few short words end in 'regular' IJK, not -LIJK ending:
gelijk rijk click to hear (equal - rich)
SCHR
CH in SCHR is not pronounced:
scheut - schreeuw - schijf - schreien click to hear 2
(new growth, shoot / small amount of fluid poured - cry, shout - disk - to weep)
schrijven - schriel - schroom - verschrikkelijk click to hear
(to write - small, stunted in growth - hesitancy - horrible, terrible)
schroot click to hear (scrap metal) - schoot click to hear (lap, womb)
STJ, STZ
T between S and J or S and Z is usually dropped. It's too hard to say.
(pos-t-zegel click to hear 2) - postzegel click to hear (stamp (mail)) - postzegels click to hear
kastje worstje click to hear 2 (small cabinet - small sausage)
nest click to hear / nestje click to hear (nest - small nest)
feest click to hear 2 / feestje click to hear 2 (party, festivity, think of 'feast' / small party)
UW
click to hear
long U click to hear +W
stuw - kluwen - zenuw click to hear
(water-control dam - literally, a bunch of strings - figuratively a bunch of connections - nerve)
Uw - duw - duwen - zwaluw click to hear
(your (polite) - a push - to push - swallow (bird))
WR
W before R is said as V:
wervel - wrevel click to hear
(backbone disk, vertebra - irritation, mild anger)
vrees - wreed - vraag - wraak click to hear
(fear - cruel - question - revenge)
weerwraak - verwrongen click to hear 2 (~revenge ('back') - twisted)
erwt
('pea') a rare silent W: erwt click to hear - erwt erwten click to hear 2
murw
murw click to hear ('beaten' (or annoyed) into submission) - this 'F' pronunciation is an exception. (Thank you Eddie Gillette)

Regular Vowel Combinations

The diphthongs have a unique sound:
AU = OU click to hear EI = IJ click to hear EU click to hear OE click to hear UI click to hear ‑>>
.. and also EEUW click to hear 2 3 and IEUW click to hear 2 as heard above; but in other vowel combinations the vowels have their 'regular' own sound. So this paragraph is not about exceptions but about regular pronunciation.
The Dutch vowels:
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
EA pronounced separately, long Dutch E and A
kreatief realiteit click to hear (creative - reality)
Thea click to hear - Beatrix click to hear (girls' names)
EO
pronounced separately, long Dutch E and O
geograaf click to hear (geographer) - theorie click to hear 2 (theory) - theocratie click to hear (theocracy)
aureool click to hear (nimbus, circle of light) - Theo click to hear (a boys' name)
IA(A) pronounced separately, long Dutch I, and long or short Dutch A
triangel - Ria - riant - cruciaal click to hear
(triangle, percussion instrument - girls' name - comfortably - crucial, vital, all-important)
IAU
miauw click to hear ('meow,' what cats say)
IEE
prieel - dieet - diëten click to hear 2 (pri-eel (Summer room) - di-eet - di-e-ten (diet, diets))
IO(O) pronounced separately: long Dutch I, and long or short Dutch O:
pion - trio - bastion - viool - radio click to hear (pawn - trio - bulwark - violin - radio)
UE
duel click to hear - duet click to hear - actueel click to hear (current)
juweel - ritueel click to hear 2 (jewel - ritual)
more about combining vowels and the sounds in-between

See also the note about occasionally 'inserting' a D after a 'schwa' - below

Foreign Words

It's of course not possible to list all foreign words with irregular Dutch pronunciation on this page: these are just some of the more common foreign sounds.
There are many French words in Dutch, because French was the international language of diplomacy, culture and technology after the Latin of the Middle Ages, until English took over early in the Twentieth Century - but only after the early days of the automobile: many Dutch car words are still from French, like bougie click to hear ('spark plug,') benzine click to hear ('gasoline') and of course, 'car' itself: auto click to hear
Latin AE
In a few words of Latin origin AE is said as Dutch long E, English A as in FACE:
Caesar click to hear 2 - praeses / quaestor click to
  hear ('president; treasurer') - laesie click to hear 2 ('lesion' - medical jargon)
- but in old Dutch names AE is said as long A: Kersemaeker click to hear / click to hear (see also Old Spelling in Names)
French -AIE
As in French: portemonnaie click to hear ('purse')
French -AIL
As in French: detail click to hear ('detail') - failliet click to hear 2 ('bankrupt; bankruptcy') - medaille click to hear 2 ('a medal') - braille click to hear ('Braille') - taille click to hear 2 ('waist') - wespentaille click to hear ('a wasp's waist')
French -AIR
As in French: militair click to hear ('a soldier; military') - ordinair click to hear 2 ("common," 'vulgar') - vulgair click to hear 2 ('vulgar, cheap') - populair click to hear 2 ('popular, generally liked') - documentaire click to hear ('documentary')
French AU in a few common words of French origin, AU is pronounced as long O (like in CODE)
auto click to hear ('car') - some people say auto with a Dutch AU click to
  hear but to me that sounds awful - automatisch click to hear ('automatic, automatically') - automaat click to hear ugh! ('something "automatic"') - - automatiek click to hear 2 OK ('fast-food vending machine') - autochtoon click to hear ugh! ('original inhabitant') - restaurant click to hear 2 ('restaurant')
French CH
a few words of French origin have kept the French CH pronunciation (somewhat like English SH)
charme click to hear ('charm') - charmant click to hear ('charming') - cheque click to hear ('check' - money) - chirurg click to hear ('surgeon') - chocola click to hear ('chocolate') - machine click to hear 2 ('machine') - manchet click to hear ('cuff') - manchetknopen click to hear ('cufflinks') - broche click to hear ('brooch') - douche click to hear ('shower' - also French OU) - chagrijnig click to hear (in a bad, angry mood) - also as saggerijnig click to hear
CH in
'Christus'

CH in 'Christus' (Christ) and derived words and names is usually pronounced as K: Christus click to hear ('Christ') - Jezus Christus click to hear 2 and related names and words: christen click to hear (a christian) - plural: - christenen click to hear (christians)
christelijk click to hear ("christian") - in Holland usually referring to traditional Protestantism - but small group of very orthodox protestants say these words and names with Dutch CH: christelijk click to hear ("christian")
Christien click to hear ('girls' name') - Chris click to hear ('boys' name')
é
as in French, Dutch long E click to hear
café click to hear 2 ('cafe, bar') - click to hear ('hey!')
è
as in French, Dutch short E click to hear
click to hear ('expression of disappointment') - appèl click to hear ('appeal') - première click to hear ('festive opening night') - carrière click to hear ('career') - kassière click to hear ('female cashier') - misère click to hear 2 ('misery')
French -EAU
Like in French, like Dutch long O click to hear
bureau click to hear ('office; office desk') - bureaustoel click to hear ('office chair') - politiebureau click to hear 2 ('police station') - cadeau click to hear ('a present' - also written as 'kado') - eau de Cologne click to hear ('Cologne, inexpensive perfume')
Greek EU Dutch pronounces EU in Greek names and words of Greek origin as Dutch UI:
eufemisme click to hear 2 ('euphemism') - euthanasie click to hear 2 3 4 ('euthanasia') - Zeus Odysseus Theseus click to
    hear - therapeut - pseudodemocratie click to hear (therapist - pseudo-democracy)
French
-EUILLE
As in the original French: portefeuille click to hear ('wallet')
French G Different from Dutch CH/G
percentage click to hear ( % ) - energie click to hear 2 ('energy') - genie click to hear 2 ('genius' - person / military corps of engineers) - gel click to hear ('gel') - gêne click to hear 2 3 ('embarrasment') - gênant click to hear ('embarrassing') - logeerkamer click to hear ('guest room') - passagier click to hear ('passenger') - slijtage click to hear ('wear and tear') - giraf click to hear ('giraffe') - corrigeren click to hear ('to correct') - marge click to hear 2 ('margin') - geste click to hear 2 ('gesture') - college click to
       hear ('class at college or university')
First G Dutch, second G French: garage click to hear ('car repair shop; car housing') - bagage click to hear 2 ('luggage') ongegeneerd click to hear ('shameless, without embarrassment, barefaced')
French AU: - aubergine click to hear 2 ('eggplant')
French OU: bougie click to hear ('spark plug') - courgette click to hear ('zucchini')
A very small number of not very common words in Dutch have a 'hard' French G (very similar to G in English GO or BEGIN): guerilla click to hear 2 ('guerilla' - from Spanish) - guillotine click to hear 2 ('guillotine') - (The double L is also not pronounced as in regular Dutch. Compare: gorilla click to hear 2) - gouache click to hear ('gouache') - bigarreaux click to hear 2 ('candied cherries') - Gaullisme click to hear ('Gaullism') - Grenoble click to hear ('a city in France')
Thank you Salim A. for pointing out a mistake
French GN
'French' GN is pronounced as N - Consonant Y (Dutch NJ):
signaal click to hear 2 ('a signal') - signaleren click to hear 2 ('to notice') - magnifiek click to hear ("magnificent") - vignet click to hear 2 ("certificate") - appelbeignet click to hear ('a type of apple cake')
In the often-used, common word champignons click to hear ('button mushrooms') the NG has disappeared. With difficulty I say (exaggerated!) champiGNons click to hear
Compare with 'regular' Dutch GN: magneet click to hear 2 ('magnet') - Agnes click to hear (girls' name)
French -IER
consonant Y + A like in FACE (Dutch J + long E) premier click to hear ('prime minister') - compare with regular Dutch kassier click to hear ('male cashier')
French J
journalist click to hear ('reporter') (French OU) - journaal click to hear ('TV News') (French OU) - jam click to hear ('jelly, jam') (English A) - jus click to hear 2 ('gravy' also French -US ending)
French LL
like consonant Y (Dutch J) failliet click to hear 2 ('bankrupt') - faillisement click to hear 2 3 ('bankruptcy') - portefeuille click to hear ('wallet') - fouilleren click to hear 2 ('to frisk, body-search') - vanille click to hear 2 ('vanilla')
French
short O

roze click to hear ('pink') - compare with Dutch short O: ros click to hear (an aging but trusty horse) and rot click to hear (rotten, spoiled, 'off') and Dutch long O: rozen click to hear 2 (roses) and roos click to hear 2 (rose)
zone click to hear 2 ('zone, area') - compare with: zoon/zonen click to hear ('son/sons') and zon/zonnen click to hear ('sun/suns') - zonneschijn click to hear 2 ('sunshine')
controle click to hear 2 ('check (on) ~ inspection') - but: controleren click to hear 2 3 ('to check (on) - inspect')
Greek OE
Pronounced as Dutch EU: click to hear
oecumenisch click to hear 2 ('ecumenical') - Oedipus click to hear ('Oedipus') (Latin -US ending pronounced as English OOS, Dutch OES) - oedipaal click to hear ('like Oedipus')
Frech OEU
Pronounced much like 'voiceless E' or Dutch short U click to hear but longer:
oeuvre click to hear ('an artist's body of work') - manoeuvre click to hear 2 ('maneuver, strategic move') - but the OEU of the Dutchified verb manoeuvreren click to hear 2 ('to maneuver') is pronounced as OO (Dutch OE.)
French OI
As in French:
toilet click to hear ('toilet, bathroom') - dressoir boudoir click to
       hear ('fancy dining room cabinet; a lady's dressing room')
French OU
several words of French origin keep the French OU pronunciation (somewhat like English OO, Dutch OE click to hear)
coulant - couplet - foudraal click to hear (accepting, tolerant - verse - leather bag for a tool) - gouverneur click to hear ('governor') - route click to hear ('route, way, course') - routine click to hear ('routine, habit') - troubadour click to hear 2 ('troubadour, minstrel') - coureur click to hear ('race car driver, motorcycle racer') - rouge click to hear ('make-up item, red') (French G) - bouillonblokje click to hear 2 ('beef cube') - souffleur click to hear ('stage whisperer') - zouaaf click to hear ('zouave' - Papal soldier) ;" - plural: - zouaven click to hear - tournooi click to hear 2 ('tournament, tourney') - tournee click to hear 2 ('tour' - traveling series of shows by performing artist or artsts)
-TIE ending
(probably from French and English -TION)
The T of the -TIE ending is either pronounced as TS (after vowels and N) or as S (after most consonants)
TS: conditie click to hear ("shape"; 'condition') - democratie click to hear ('democracy') - advertentie click to hear ('ad, advertisement') - operatie click to hear ('operation; surgery') - organisatie click to hear ('organisation') - positie click to hear ('position') - tolerantie click to hear ('tolerance') - clementie gratie click to hear ('clemency / a pardon') - natie traditie garantie click to hear ('nation / tradition / guarantee, warranty')
S: reactie click to hear ('reaction') - infectie click to hear ('infection') - frictie click to hear 2 ('friction') - adoptie click to hear ('adoption') - proportie click to hear ('proportion') - selectie functie fractie click to hear 2 ('selection function fraction')
Endings like -TIEF, -TIEK and -TIER are not irregular - compare:
aktie / aktief click to hear 2 (action / active) - politie click to hear / politiek click to hear ('police / politics') - motie / motief click to hear 2 (motion, resolution / motive) - optie / optiek click to hear (option / viewpoint; optics) - portie / portier click to hear 2 (portion / car door; doorman)
Y
almost always a vowel - pronounced as Dutch I, either long or short
short: mysterie mystiek click to hear (mystery - mysticism)
long: - lyrisch mythe systeem click to hear (lyrical - myth - system)
but (in rare cases) when between vowels Dutch Y is pronounced as consonant Y (Y in YES) - Dutch J:
yoghurt click to hear 2 ('yogurt') - royaal click to hear 2 ('generous, ample') - loyaal click to hear 2 ('loyal') - loyaliteit click to hear 2 ('loyalty') - rayon click to hear 2 ("area")

D and T Softening

Listening to Dutch, you'll notice that some D's are dropped. You don't have to do that yourself. Like the final N's, I think it's easier for students to pronounce as many letters of Dutch words as possible.

In a few words, D's are changing into Dutch J's, English consonant Y's, usually before voiceless E:

goed goede goeie click to hear 2 - (good)
goeiemorgen click to hear (good morning)
op een goeie dag ... click to hear (someday ...)
rood rode rooie click to hear 2 - (red)
die rooie veger click to hear (that red broom - not a stock expression)
door de rooie gaan click to hear (cross into extremes)
dood dode dooie click to hear (dead)
op z'n dooie gemak click to hear ([at his dead ease] -taking his time, without any hurry)

D's are also disappearing in a few first person singular, 'ik' ('I') present tense verb forms, and also in the 'jij' question mode:
houden ik houd ik hou click to hear (to hold) / houden van (to like, to love)
Ik houd niet van vis click to hear (I don't like fish)
Ik houd niet van vlees snijden click to hear (I don't like cutting meat)
daar houd ik niet van click to hear (I don't like that)
ik snijd het brood click to hear (I'm cutting the bread)
hij snijdt het brood click to hear (he is cutting the bread)
ik sneed het brood click to hear (I was cuting the bread)
jij houdt / houd jij? click to hear (you 'hold ' / do you 'hold'?)
jij snijdt / snijd jij? click to hear (you are cutting / are you cutting?)
"Houd jij van opera? - Ik niet." click to hear ("Do you like opera? - I don't.")

the D in oude ('old') and koude ('cold') is often softened to W.
One could say Dutch always has a W-sound after AU and OU, but (to my ears) it gets more prominent when followed by voiceless E:
oud oude ouwe click to hear (old)
oude man click to hear - oude baas click to hear - ouwe baas click to hear ('old man' - in South-African this further evolved into oubaas click to hear 2)
ouwe koeien uit de sloot halen click to hear 2 ([haul - dredge up old cows from the ditch] pointless talk about foregone matters, flogging a dead horse)
kouwe drukte click to hear 2 ([cold busy-ness] fake bustle)

In sloppy, somewhat emotional Dutch, T's and D's are dropped:
" Da' lus' ik nie' " click to hear
'Dat lust ik niet' click to hear) 'I don't like that, I don't want to eat it' "Ik wor' nie' goed" click to hear
Ik word niet goed click to hear [I'm becoming unwell] I'm going to be sick, throw up, "I don't feel so good"

Shortening, Contractions

Hij is  to hijs - Hij heeft  to hijft - Dat is  to dat's

In speaking, I occasionally drop the I of IS in 'HIJ IS'

Hij is aan z'n pensioen toe click to hear 2 3 4 5 'He's sick and tired of work and is ready to retire ‑>> Hij is er slecht aan toe click to hear 2 3 4 He's not doing well, he's in a bad shape medically Hij is niet op z'n mondje gevallen click to hear 2 3 4 (saying) [He didn't fall on his mouth']
He never hesitates to speak up, He's not shy to speak his mind
(It's more commonly said about females than about males)

hij slaat click to hear 2 3 he hits, slaps compare proniunciation with: hij is laat click to hear 2 3 4 5 'he is late,' not in time

Having a hand in your pocket doesn't look good. A jokey comment could be:
Die man gaat verhuizen click to hear 2 'That guy is going to move [house]' Hij heeft z'n hand al ingepakt click to hear 'He's already packed his hand' In speaking, hij heeft is sometimes run together as hijft:
'Hijft' z'n hand al ingepakt click to hear 2 3

Hij heeft schulden click to hear 2 3 4 He has debts (probably a lot) Hij heeft ergens wel gelijk click to hear 2 3 4 He is partly right, he's correct in some aspects, he has a point Hij heeft niks bereikt click to hear 2 3 4 [He reached nothing] - He has achieved nothing, he didn't get results, 'he got nowhere' Hij heeft al het geld opgemaakt click to hear 2 3 He has spent (used up?) all the money Hij heeft al het water opgemaakt click to hear 2 He has used up all the water Hij heeft er een uur over zitten nadenken click to hear 2 3 4 5 He's been thinking about it for an hour Hij heeft boter op z'n hoofd click to hear 2 3 4 ['(he has) butter on his head'] - he should stay away from heat or it will melt
- meaning: "he's criticizing others, but he's not innocent himself: he is a hypocrite"

Dat is een zorg minder click to hear 2 3 4 That's one less worry - something we don't have to worry about anymore Dat is interessant click to hear 2 3 That's interesting Dat is nogal logisch click to hear 2 3 4 That's rather logical, that's self-evident (I see that) You could go a little further, drop the T too and say da's click to
  hear

Dat is erg lastig click to hear 2 3 4 That's very inconvenient, that's a bother Dat's erg lastig click to hear
Da's erg lastig click to hear
I wouldn't say "da's"  myself but you'll hear people speak that way

Insertions

... but on the other hand, in speaking, Dutchmen don't like to immediately follow (with a 'vocal stop') the 'voiceless, unstressed E' ('schwa') click to hear by another 'schwa' or a 'short E,' and then sometimes insert a D (or occasionally an N) - you'll hear Dutch people speak like that but you don't have to, dear students.
Ik trek me er niks van aan click to hear 2 I'm not bothered by it, I don't care
Ik trek me d'r niks van aan click to hear 2 3 I'm not bothered by it, I don't care
Wat heb je eraan? click to hear 2 3 [What do you have of it] - What's the use (of it) (to you)?
Wat heb je d'r aan? click to hear 2 [What do you have of it] - What's the use (of it) (to you)?
Wat zegt U ervan? click to hear 2 What do you say (of/about it)? (polite, formal 'you')
Wat zegt U d'rvan? click to hear 2 3 4 What do you say (of/about it)? (polite, formal 'you')
Wat zeg jij d'r van? click to hear 2 3 What do you say (of it)? (informal 'you')
Wat denk jij d'r van? click to hear 2 What do you think (of it)?
Wie belde er? click to hear Who called? (telephone)
Wie belde d'r? click to hear 2 3 Who called?
Neem je d'r iets voor? click to hear 2 Do you take something for (against) it? (medication)
Ik hoop dat je d'r tijd voor hebt click to hear 2 3 4 I hope you'll have time for it
Heb je d'r wat van geleerd? click to hear 2 What have you learned of it? What did it teach you?
Heb je d'r last van? click to hear 2 3 Does it bother you?
Heb je er wat aan? click to hear 2 3 4 5 Is it of (any) use to you, is it useful to you?
Heb je d'r wat aan? click to hear 2 Is it of (any) use to you, is it useful to you?
Ik kan me d'r zo kwaad over maken click to hear 2 I get so angered by it, it makes me very angry
Je kunt je d'r geen buil aan vallen click to hear It won't hurt you (it's a small payment) - Sayings
Hoe kom je d'r bij! click to hear 2 [How did you reach that conclusion?] - What you're saying is outrageous
Tasje d'r bij? click to hear 2 3 4 5 (Would you like) a bag with it? (cashier asking)
Weg er mee! click to hear 2 3 4 Away with it! Throw it out! ‑>>
Weg d'r mee! click to hear 2 3 Away with it! Throw it out! (no preceding schwa!)
De stekker d'r uit trekken click to hear 2 Pulling the plug (from it) - make an end to it
Begrijp je-n-'t? click to hear 2 Do you understand it?
Wat gebeurde er toen je twintig was? click to hear
Wat gebeurde-n-er toen je twintig was? click to hear What happened when you were 20 years old?

In rather sloppy, lazy Dutch an 'unstressed, voiceless E' click to hear is inserted between consonants

standard sloppy inserts
(het) brood click to hear 2 buhrood click to hear bread
(de) melk click to hear 2 melluk click to hear milk
elf click to hear elluf click to hear 11
twaalf click to hear twaalluf click to hear 12
half twaalf click to hear 2 halluf twaalluf click to hear 2 11:30
help! click to hear 2 hellup! click to hear 2 help me!
(de) slang click to hear 2 suhlang click to hear snake // hose
(het) werk click to hear werruk click to hear 2 3 work
kalm click to hear 2 kallum click to hear calm
(het) kalf click to hear 2 3 kalluf click to hear calf
(de) kalk click to hear 2 3 kalluk click to hear 2 plaster, lime, chalk, Calcium
draadje click to hear duhraadje click to hear thread, wire, piece of string
bewolkt click to hear 2 bewollukt click to hear cloudy
(de) galg click to hear 2 3 galluhg click to hear gallows

Miscellaneous Pronunciation Examples

prompt strict arts strak click to hear 2
(immediately - strict - doctor, M.D. - tight)

stipt huig luwte duwde click to hear
(punctual - 'uvula' (throat) - 'lee' (quiet area) - pushed)

barst vorst worst dorstig click to hear
(crack - frost - sausage - thirsty)

krant stronk brink click to hear
(newspaper - tree stump - village square)

bazen Pasen wasem vazen click to hear
(bosses - Easter - vapor - vases)

smak smaak smeren snert smachten smikkelen click to hear
(slap, thud - taste - to grease, to smear - pea soup; bad - painful longing - eating with enjoyment)

smet smid smeden smoren smullen click to hear
(a dirty spot, a blemish, think of: 'smut' - smith - to forge - to stew - enjoying food)

snip snode sneeuw snavel click to hear 2
(a water bird - wicked, scheming - snow - a bird's beak)

kraan kraam traan raam click to hear
(faucet, crane - market stall - tear (crying) - window)

braaf brave blaas blazen click to hear
(obedient, harmless - bladder - to blow)

vochtig zwichten click to hear (damp - to give in)

wringen stengel kronkel drempel click to hear
(to wring - plant stem - twist, kink - threshold)

middel model gevel bevel gedwee ongedwongen click to hear
(means; waist - model - gable - order, command - obedient - spontaneous, without restraint)

heks click to hear (witch) - fiks click to hear (~strongly)

extra click to hear 2 (extra) - extract click to hear 2 (extract, concentrated liquid)

sextant click to hear (sextant) - hexagonaal click to hear (hexagonal)

xenon click to hear (a noble gas) - xenofobie click to hear (xenophobia) - Xantippe click to hear (Mrs Socrates)

fluor click to hear 2 (fluorine) - fluoride click to hear (fluoride)

jodium click to hear - (iodine) - uranium click to hear - silicium click to hear (silicon)

smeuïg click to hear 2 (appetizing food (or a story) that goes down easily)

On The Street - Op straat click to hear

[street]
(de) straat click to hear
[sidewalk]
(de) stoep click to hear
[street and sidewalk]
straat en stoep click to hear
[small street]
(het) straatje click to hear
[turn (in road)]
(de) bocht click to hear 2
[house]
(het) huis click to hear
[driveway etc.]

(de) garage click to hear

(de) auto click to hear

(de) oprit click to hear 2

(de) stoep click to hear

((het) trottoir click to hear

(de) straat click to hear

garage

car

driveway

sidewalk

sidewalk)

street

[traffic (cars)]
(het) verkeer click to hear ((de) auto's click to hear)
[street lantern]
(de) lantarenpaal click to hear
[traffic light]
(het) stoplicht click to hear 2
[bicycle]
(de) fiets click to hear >>
[car]
(de) auto click to hear
[pedestrian crossing]
(het) zebrapad click to hear ((de) voetgangersoversteekplaats click to hear 2)
[bus]
(de) bus click to hear
[bus stop]
(de) bushalte click to hear
[bus stop shelter]
(het) bushokje click to hear

Fractions

breuken click to hear ('fractions') - singular: (de) breuk click to hear (also: 'break, fracture, rupture')

Fraction numbers 1, 2 and 3 are irregular; otherwise the fraction number is formed by adding a -DE ending to the regular number; except numbers ending in -T or -D, or in -G, which get an -STE ending.
1/2 een half click to hear
1/3 één derde click to hear
1/4 één vierde click to hear
1/5 één vijfde click to hear
1/6 één zesde click to hear
1/7 één zevende click to hear 2
1/8 één achtste click to hear 2
1/9 één negende click to hear 2
1/10 één tiende click to hear
1/100 één honderdste click to hear
1/1000 één duizendste click to hear
1/32 één tweeëndertigste click to hear
2/3 twee derde click to hear
3/4 driekwart click to hear 2
3/8 drie achtste click to hear

3/2 drie tweede click to hear drieëneenhalf click to hear 2

'n fractie van 'n seconde click to hear 2 [a fraction of a second] - a very short time, 'a split second'
Instead of stressed één click to hear ('one') you could also use the definite article ('a') een or 'n click to hear (pronunciation explained earlier in this lesson): een derde click to hear ('one-third.')
But een half click to hear ('one-half') is rarely (if ever) said with the stressed één.
¼ - next to één vierde click to hear we also say een kwart click to hear (like 'een half' with unstressed 'een.')
Like words we've seen in the 'Colors' lesson, the adjective half click to hear also appears as halve click to hear - half is used for 'het' words after 'een.'
een half ei click to hear ('half an egg') - een halve theelepel click to hear ('½ teaspoon.')
Een goed begin is het halve werk click to hear ('A good start is half the job' - with a good start the job is already half done)
But - De laatste loodjes wegen het zwaarst click to hear (~ 'Finishing a job, the home stretch is the hardest') - so what's in between?
The noun for 'half' is (de) helft click to hear - De helft van de bevolking click to hear ('Half the population')
1½ - one and a half - anderhalf, anderhalve click to hear
Anderhalve man en een paardekop click to hear 2 ['one and a half men and a horse's head'] low turnout, small attendance, few people present
<< - numbers, simple math and dimensions - >>

Simon Stevin

In the Dutch popular imagination, Simon Stevin click to hear (1548-1620) is best known for the zeilwagen click to hear ('sailing cart') he built for Prince Maurits click to hear - but he played a much larger role as chief engineer for Maurits's army, and he was an early scientist. He was one of the first to write about decimal fractions, for instance.
Dutch independence came about at the time of the birth of modern Science, and with patriotic love of language, Simon Stevin and others made up Dutch names for the sciences that differ from those in most other European languages.
(de) wetenschap click to hear
(de) wetenschapper click to hear 2
science
scientist
(de) wiskunde click to hear mathematics
(de) natuurkunde click to hear physics
(de) scheikunde click to hear chemistry >>
(de) sterrenkunde click to hear 2 astronomy
(de) plantkunde click to hear botany
(de) geneeskunde click to hear medicine >>
(de) aardrijkskunde click to hear geography
Most of these words are still in common use, only instead of geneeskunde click to hear ('medicine') most people nowadays say medicijnen click to hear 2.
See also: kunnen
<< - essays - >>

inches and feet to millimeters (mm) and centimeters (cm)

(de) millimeter click to hear
(de) centimeter click to hear
((de) decimeter click to hear)
(de) meter click to hear
(de) kilometer click to hear
1 millimeter = 1/1000 meter
(~ 1/25 inch)

1 centimeter = 1/100 meter
(~ 4/10 inch)

1 decimeter = 1/10 meter
(~ 4 inches)

1 meter
(~ 31/3 feet)

1 kilometer
= 1000 meter
(= 0.62 miles)
[a bar chart comparing imperial and metric dimensions]
1 inch = 25.4 millimeter = 2.54 centimeter
1 millimeter = 0.04 inch
1 cm = 0.39 inch
1 centimeter
= 10 millimeter
[a bar chart comparing imperial and metric dimensions]
12 inches = 1 foot = 30.48 centimeter
The meter itself is not superior to the inch, foot or yard, but the beauty and ease of the metric system is in the factor-10 relations between the various units. A kilometer is one thousand meters, a centimeter is one-hundredth of one meter. Not like 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, 8 fluid ounces in a cup, 4 cups in a quart etc. A cubic decimeter is a liter, and a liter of water weighs 1 kilogram. In a future lesson I'll show the relations between the length, volume and weight units in the metric system at greater length. >>

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Don't be a dief (thief) / dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2