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Your Ultimate Dutch Pronunciation Guide

Knowing how to correctly pronounce words when you learn to speak a new language is crucial for speaking it well. It is no different with Dutch. At DutchPod101, we put a lot of emphasis on teaching and demonstrating correct pronunciation, as it is our aim to help you to speak like a native after a while!

According to Dictionary.com, ‘pronunciation’ is: the act or result of producing the sounds of speech, including articulation, stress, and intonation, often with reference to some standard of correctness or acceptability.

Paying attention to your Dutch pronunciation not your own essentially means you’re learning to ditch most of your foreign accent. This is very important if you want to be a successful communicator in any language. Getting Dutch pronunciation right may seem like a daunting task at the onset, but it need not be!

Download Your FREE Guide to Beginner Dutch!

If you want to master the Dutch language and become fluent, get this Dutch eBook!
You need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Dutch learning beginners!

FREE Dutch eBook

Download your FREE Dutch practice sheets PDF today and learn the Dutch language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

1. Introduction to Dutch Pronunciation

Introduction

Dutch Pronunciation

Dutch pronunciation is made easier when you consider the fact that the Dutch Alphabet is structured similarly to the English one. That is, it has twenty-six letters and is divided into both vowels and consonants. Therefore, it would be a logical approach to discuss the pronunciation of vowels and then that of consonants. As we do, please keep in mind that another similarity between Dutch and English is that there are always exceptions to these general rules. Still, a few simple points to keep in mind will get you well on the way to pronouncing Dutch words correctly.

Dutch contains the same vowels as English; a, e, i, o, and u. Another similarity between Dutch and English is that these vowels can be pronounced with either “long” or “short” sounds. Also, when these vowels occur in combination, the rules of Dutch pronunciation dictate that those vowels be pronounced as a single sound. Those combinations of vowels that are pronounced as single sounds are known as dipthongs. For the most part, Dutch consonants are pronounced the same way they are in English. Yet, this is an area in which Dutch pronunciation begins to differ from that of English. One specific example of this type of difference is the fact that the letters “d” and “b” are actually pronounced like the letters “t” and “p” when they occur at the end of a word. Though this is not technically a rule of pronunciation, it is also interesting to note that a Dutch word cannot end in a double consonant. Like most other languages, Dutch borrows words from other languages. Often, these borrowed words don’t follow the rules we’ve outlined. The best way to handle these is simply to memorize every one you come across. One of the other points to note about Dutch pronunciation is that it uses accent marks. Often, these accent marks are used to distinguish one word from another. They are also used to specify which vowel sounds should receive emphasis. One of the most notable features about Dutch is the use of the dieresis. That’s the two little dots that you see above the vowels sometimes. You see it most often above the letter e, and its basic purpose is to inform a reader that the vowel under it should be pronounced separately. Since two vowels would normally be pronounced as one sound, this is a useful way to distinguish the exceptions to that.

2. Why is Correct Pronunciation in Dutch Important?

Correct Pronunciation

Proper pronunciation is important, very important. Some say it’s even more important than getting the grammar perfectly correct! Why would this be?

1) Good Understanding

If communicating with native speakers matters to you when learning Dutch, you need to be understood when you talk, and you need to be able to understand the native speakers. After all, without understanding, the purpose of language is null and void! In order to be understood, you need to be able to speak the language in a way that is familiar to native speakers, or at least recognizable by them.

When learning to speak a new language, you will learn that the more you progress the more intricate it becomes! For instance, almost every language has vocabulary that may look the same in writing, but because the words are pronounced differently, they have very different meanings. This means that you may say a word in Dutch, and because of a slight change in pronunciation, the meaning of the word changes completely. Understandably, this can make for pretty embarrassing situations! At worst, your mispronounced Dutch will sound garbled to a native speaker.

Knowing the nuances of how a word or letter is pronounced will also help you to understand spoken Dutch better.

No worries if this feels hard; you’re learning, and with our help at DutchPod101, you will not have a problem with mispronunciation if you follow our advice and examples carefully.

2) Good Communication

Not pronouncing Dutch or any other language correctly can lead to a lot of frustration because you’re unable to express what you mean, and you will not be understood correctly. Even if you have total knowledge of Dutch grammar, and can write it like a native, not knowing how to speak it properly will only make for very frustrating communication all around.

3) A Good Impression

Even if you’re only a beginner, it is possible to speak any language correctly. This way, you are bound to make a good impression on native speakers, and when you’re more fluent, you will be likely to garner a lot more respect than a fumbling newbie speaker who doesn’t care much for correct pronunciation.

People often have a lot of patience for someone who learns to speak a new language, but native speakers are more likely to address you and engage with you in conversation if you work hard on your accent. This is simply because you’ll be able to understand one another! So, proficiency in pronunciation can mean the difference between having none or plenty of Dutch speaking friends. It will also serve you well in the workplace, and make you popular with your Dutch speaking managers and employers or employees.

Learning to speak Dutch properly is also a sign of respect for not only the language, but also the native speakers and their customs.

3. Secrets to Learning the Correct Dutch Pronunciation

Secrets to Learning

1) Use voice recording tools to perfect your pronunciation

DutchPod101 has plenty of resources to help you with your Dutch pronunciation, so be sure to make thorough use of our recordings with native Dutch speakers. These are available not only to demonstrate to you how you should pronounce Dutch vocabulary, but also sentences and dialogues. Watch and listen to these over and over again to train your ear, and watch the teacher’s mouth as she speaks in the video lessons. Then, copy the speech as best you can. Later, you can record yourself to hear if you sound like a native speaker and compare yourself with native speakers. Great for self-motivation.

2) Practice in front of the mirror.

And see that you’re copying the correct lip and mouth movements.

3) Use our DutchPod101 dictionary!

Use the Dutch dictionary provided by DutchPod101 to look up words and listen to the audio pronunciation. This will go a long way towards giving you an idea of how to pronounce a word or letter correctly.

4) Train your ear to the language!

Make an effort to often listen to Dutch music and recorded books, and watch plenty of Dutch movies and/or TV shows in Dutch. This will train your ear to the language, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you pick up the accent. Remember, this is the way we learned to speak when we were young - mostly by listening to the adults talking, and repeating what they say!

5) Practice, practice, practice…

Repetition of the same thing may be boring, but in learning a new language, you’re creating new pathways in your brain. For these to remain and become habitual, you will need to repeat the correct pronunciation often.

6) Make friends with a native Dutch speaker.

Don’t be shy to address them in Dutch! Ask them to correct you when you make a pronunciation mistake - this is a wonderful way to practice and learn the language first-hand, and also to make new friends.

7) Practice your pronunciation with your Dutch teacher!

If you’re a serious student and don’t know where to meet native Dutch speakers, consider investing in DutchPod101’s Premium PLUS plan. This means you will have your own native Dutch teacher available to practice your pronunciation with, and much more! Send recordings of yourself speaking Dutch and get feedback from your Dutch teacher.

4. How to Download Your Free Guide to Beginner Dutch

Download Your FREE Guide to Beginner Dutch!

If you want to master the Dutch language and become fluent, get this Dutch eBook!
You need physical worksheets to practice on.

This eBook is a MUST-HAVE for all Dutch learning beginners!

FREE Dutch eBook

Download your FREE Dutch practice sheets PDF today and learn the Dutch language in no time!
This is a must-have guide for absolute beginners

Log in with Your Free Lifetime Account and we’ll give you a bundle of PDF cheat sheet including Survival Phrases, Romantic Lines, Learning Tips… — absolutely FREE!

3 Reasons to Learn Dutch Through PDF Lessons

Let’s now take a closer look at how studying Dutch lessons in PDF format can help you reach your dream in up to half the time of normal video or audio lessons!

① Saves Minutes on Your Data Plan

Learning Dutch through PDF lessons can dramatically reduce your data use. Once a lesson or tool is downloaded, you can then access it offline via your computer or smartphone any time or place regardless of Internet access. And once you’ve downloaded the Dutch lessons in PDF format, you can actually access them faster than logging in and trying to do so via a live site. So not only will learning Dutch using PDF lessons save minutes on your data plan—it will save you some significant time as well as the lessons add up!

② Print and Take All Dutch Lessons and PDF Tools With You Anywhere

Sometimes, a tiny smartphone screen just isn’t adequate, especially when you are trying to learn something new. The great thing about PDF lessons, tools or files is that they can be quickly printed and taken anywhere after you download them. In fact, printing out Dutch lessons in PDF format can actually save you time when compared to going through the material on a smartphone with a small screen—even with the extra printing time!

③ Great Study Tool to Boost Retention and Mastery

Studying video or audio lessons online is a great way to learn a language because students can play and rewind sections as many times as needed until the lesson is mastered. But when you review the same Dutch lessons again in PDF format, an incredible thing happens: your retention dramatically improves! Thanks to Time Spaced Repetition, seeing the information again in written format helps reinforce the information in your mind and improves both retention and recall. The benefits of learning Dutch using PDF lessons quickly add up to significant time savings for you, your data plan, and your dream of learning a new language!

Why are we giving it away?

Learning to read and write is a must for all beginners. Although you get video lessons on how to write in Dutch at DutchPod101, you’ll still need physical worksheets to practice on. That’s why you’re getting this printable tutorial PDFs as a gift.

5. Related Lessons

How to Say Hello in Dutch
Do you know how to say hello in Dutch? It’s the most basic phrase that you’ll need to say and hear in everyday life. If you don’t know yet, learn 15 ways to say hello and greet others in Dutch. Why 15? The more variations you know, the more you can speak and the more fluent you become!
How to Introduce Yourself in Dutch
Can you introduce yourself in Dutch? Don’t worry! Check out the 10 Dutch Lines You Need To Introduce Yourself with this free Review Sheet. From “My name is…“ and “I live in…” down to “My hobbies are…” Just review the 10 lines. It will only take you 2 minutes. Then, introduce yourself in the comment section below!
Dutch Alphabet
Learn everything you need to know about the Dutch alphabet. At DutchPod101, we introduce you to Dutch writing in simple, easy-to-follow steps, and you can ask for advice or help anywhere along the way. It is important to master the Dutch alphabet completely from the start.
How to Say Thank You in Dutch
Has anyone thanked you today? We will. Thank you for reading this article and learning with us! In fact, today, you’ll learn the many different ways to say “Thank You” in Dutch. It’s one of the most important Dutch phrases. Check it out and watch the video too to practice your pronunciation.

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