Dutch alphabet and pronunciation
This chapter will introduce the Dutch alphabet and the pronunciation of the letters in Dutch to you. Luckily, the Dutch alphabet is exactly the same as the English alphabet, but some letters are pronounced differently. Many Dutch words are difficult to pronounce for non-native speakers, so try to say all the Dutch words on this page out loud!
The Dutch alphabet consists of 26 letters, 21 consonants and 5 vowels. Pronunciation of the Dutch alphabet is not the same as the English alphabet. Listen to the alphabet and try to say the letters out loud afterwards:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.
|A = aa||N = en|
|B = bee||O = oo|
|C = cee||P = pee|
|D = dee||Q = quu|
|E = ee||R = er|
|F = ef||S = es|
|G = gee||T = tee|
|H = haa||U = uu|
|I = ie||V = vee|
|J = jee||W = wee|
|K = kaa||X = iks|
|L = el||Y = ei|
Pronunciation of consonants
Dutch consonants can stand alone in words, but there are also some consonants combinations in which 2 or 3 different consonants are merged into a single sound.
|B||The B has the same pronunciation as the English B.||boek(book), bel(bell), bal(ball).|
|C||The C can be pronounced in two ways, as a K or as a S. The C is pronounced as a S if it stands in front of an I or E. The C is pronounced as a K if it stands in front of an A, O or U.||
C as S: cel(cell), cent(penny), centrum(centre)
C as K: code, cola, coma
|D||The D has the same pronunciation as the English D.||dom(dumb), dag(day), dier(animal)|
|F||The F has the same pronunciation as the English F.||fiets(bicycle), fles(bottle), flits(flash)|
|G||The G can be pronounced in several ways. The G in the back of the mouth sound rough, the G in the front of the mouth sounds softer.||geel(yellow), groot(big) gast(guest)|
|H||The H has the same pronunciation as the English H.||hond(dog), hut(cabin), heks(witch)|
|J||The J is pronounced as the “Y” in “yes”.||ja(yes), jong(young), jurk(dress)|
|K||The K is pronounced as the “C” in “cow”.||kast(closet), kleding(clothes), koor(choir)|
|L||The L has the same pronunciation as the English L.||lamp(lamp), lief(sweet), les(lesson)|
|M||The M has the same pronunciation as the English M.||mand(basket), maar(but), melk(milk)|
|N||The N has the same pronunciation as the English N.||nek(neck), nooit(never), niks(nothing)|
|P||The P has the same pronunciation as the English P.||pet(cap), plas(puddle), peen(carrot)|
|S||The S has the same pronunciation as the English S.||slang(snake), stok(stick), sap(juice)|
|T||The T has the same pronunciation as the English T.||teen(toe), taal(language), tik(tap)|
|V||The V is pronounced as the “V” in “very”.||veel(a lot), vis(fish), vies(dirty)|
|W||The W is pronounced as the “W” in “well”.||werk(job), wie(who), warm(hot)|
|Z||The Z has the same pronunciation has the English Z.||zon(sun), zes(six), zalf(salve), zak(bag)|
CH: The letter combination CH is pronounced as the letter G: lach (laugh), licht (light), pech (bad luck), lucht (air).
SCH: The letter SCH is a pronounced as an S + CH if a word starts with it. A SCH at the end of a sentence is pronounced as a single S.
- SCH in the beginning: school (school), schil (peel), schat (treasure/darling)
- SCH at the end: Belgisch (Belgian) Cryptisch (Cryptic), Arabisch (Arabic)
NG: The NG has the same pronunciation as the English NG: ring (ring), jong (young), bang (scared)
Dutch plural words are written with one or two consonants. The single or double consonants are essential for the pronunciation of the word.
- Singular: tik (tap), plural: tikken (taps)
- Singular: sap (juice), plural: sappen (juices)
- Singular: vis (fish), plural: vissen (fishes)
- Singular: haar (hair), plural: haren (hairs)
- Singular: muur (wall), plural: muren (walls)
- Singular: taal (language), plural: talen (languages)
Dutch vowel pronunciation
Vowels in Dutch can be either short or long. There are also combinations of vowels.
|A||The A is pronounced as the “a” in “car”.||pak(suit), man(man), kat(cat), tas(bag)|
|E||The E is pronounced as the “e” in “bed”.||pet(cap), bel(bell), west(west) les(lesson)|
|I||The I is pronounced as the “i” in “it”.||kip(chicken), wit(white), kind(child)|
|O||The O is pronounced as the “o” in “stop”.||bos(forest), sok(sock), pot(pot)|
|U||The U is pronounced as the “u” in “fun”.||rug(back), zus(sister), stuk(piece), druk(busy)|
|AA||The AA does not exist in English, but it sounds like the A-sound in “kind” of “white”.||kaas(cheese), maan(moon), taart(pie)|
|EE||The EE is pronounced as the “ea” in “great”.||been(leg), leeg(empty), feest(party)|
|IE||The IE is pronounced as the “ee” in “see”.||vier(four), wiel(wheel), niet(not)|
|OO||The OO is pronounced as the “oa” in “coat”.||boom(tree), rood(red), groot(big), oog(eye)|
|UU||The UU does not exist in English, so listen to the words and try to say them out loud.||uur(hour), muur(wall), vuur(fire)|
|OE||The OE is pronounced as the “oo” in “pool”.||boek(book), koek(biscuit), boer(farmer), hoed(hat)|
|EU||The EU is pronounced as the French word “feu”.||neus(nose), reus(giant), leuk(nice), breuk(fracture)|
|UI||The UI does not exist in other languages, so listen to the words and try to say them out loud.||huis(house), tuin(garden), fruit(fruit), bruid(bride).|
|EI/IJ||The pronunciation of the EI and the IJ is the same. The EI/IJ is pronounced as the “i” in “find.||mijn(mine/my), reis(journey), ijs(ice), meid(girl)|
The diphthongs are combinations of 3 or more letters, these can be both vowels and consonants:
|AAI||is pronounced as AA + J||taai(tough), haai(shark), saai(boring)|
|OEI||is pronounced as OE + J||boei(buoy), groei(growth), knoei(to mess)|
|OOI||is pronounced as OO + J||hooi(hay), kooi(cage), mooi(beautiful), gooi(to throw)|
|EEUW||is pronounced as EE + W||leeuw(lion), meeuw(seagull), sneeuw(snow), schreeuw(scream)|
|IEUW||is pronounced as IE + W||kieuw(gill), nieuw(new)|
|UW||is pronounced as UU + W||duw(push), ruw(rough)|
Hopefully, the Dutch alphabet and pronunciation is clear for you know. Now it is time to continue with the numbers in Dutch!
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