• Dutch course for beginners A1
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  • 1 Dutch alphabet and pronunciation
  • 2 Counting in Dutch (indefinite and ordinal numbers) [0/3]
  • 3 Dutch greetings (hello in Dutch) [0/3]
  • 4 Basic words and phrases in Dutch [0/4]
  • 5 Introducing yourself in Dutch [0/4]
  • 6 What time is it? - telling the time in Dutch [0/4]
  • 7 Days of the week, months and seasons in Dutch [0/5]
  • 8 Colours in Dutch [0/3]
  • 9 Animal names in Dutch [0/5]
  • 10 Family in Dutch [0/3]
  • 11 Food and Drinks in Dutch [0/5]
  • 12 How to order food in Dutch? [0/4]
  • 13 The weather in Dutch [0/4]
  • 14 Countries, Cities and Nationalities in Dutch [0/3]
  • 15 Body parts in Dutch [0/3]
  • 16 Clothes and shoes in Dutch [0/4]
  • 17 Travel and vacation in Dutch [0/3]
  • 18 Dutch proverbs and sayings [0/3]
  • 19 I love you in Dutch (Emotions and feelings) [0/4]
  • 20 Happy birthday in Dutch (birthday wishes) [0/3]
  • 21 Asking for directions in Dutch [0/4]
  • 22 Needs and opinions in Dutch [0/4]
  • 23 Hobbies in Dutch [0/4]
  • 24 House, room, furniture vocabulary in Dutch [0/4]
  • 25 How to describe a person in Dutch [0/4]
  • 26 Business Dutch [0/4]
  • 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!

    Dutch letters

    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.

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    Single consonants:

    Consonant

    Pronunciation

    Examples

    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)

     

    Consonants combinations:

    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.

    For example:

    • 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)

    Double consonants

    Dutch plural words are written with one or two consonants. The single or double consonants are essential for the pronunciation of the word.

    You use only one consonant if the vowel has a short sound in the singular form:

    • Singular: tik (tap), plural: tikken (taps)
    • Singular: sap (juice), plural: sappen (juices)
    • Singular: vis (fish), plural: vissen (fishes)

    You use two consonants if the vowel has a long sound in the singular form:

    • 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.

    Short vowels:

    Vowel

    Pronunciation

    Examples

    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)

     

    Long vowels:

    Vowel

    Pronunciation

    Examples

    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)

     

    Vowel combinations:

    Vowel

    Pronunciation

    Examples

    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)

     

    Dutch diphthongs

    The diphthongs are combinations of 3 or more letters, these can be both vowels and consonants:

    Diphthong

    Pronunciation

    Examples

    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!