Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Is the Dutch alphabet the same as the English alphabet?
Atie: And what are the differences?
Michael: At DutchPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Guus Gerrits, a kindergarten student, is studying the alphabet with her mother, Hilda, at home. Guus sees an unfamiliar letter and asks,
"What letter is that?"
Guus Gerrits: Welke letter is dat?
Dialogue
Guus Gerrits: Welke letter is dat?
Hilda Gerrits: Het is de IJ.
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Guus Gerrits: Welke letter is dat?
Michael: "What letter is that?"
Hilda Gerrits: Het is de IJ.
Michael: "It's IJ."

Lesson focus

Michael: In the conversation, Guus asks the question, "What letter is that?"
Atie: Welke letter is dat?
Michael: to which her mother, Hilda, responds,
Atie: Het is de IJ.
Michael: "It's IJ."
Michael: Seeing now that the two alphabets are clearly not identical, the question, then, becomes how similar are the Dutch and English alphabets?
Michael: The good news is that native English speakers will have no trouble learning the Dutch alphabet as Dutch utilizes the Latin alphabet, just as English does. There are only a few new letters and sounds that learners will have to master, which, although not difficult, are vital to the Dutch language.
Michael: First, let's hear the Dutch alphabet in its entirety:
Atie: 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, IJ, Z.
Michael: As you may know, the Dutch alphabet consists of 26 letters, including 5 or 6 unique vowel sounds. You may have noticed the letter
Atie: IJ.
Michael: This letter appears in the Dutch alphabet, but of course not in the English alphabet. It's important to note that this letter combination, which is called a digraph, functions as a single letter in Dutch, and is positioned as the 25th letter of the alphabet, together with the letter Y. As for the vowel sounds, just as in English, they are
Atie: a, e, i, o, u.
Michael: Now let's take a look at diphthongs in Dutch. Diphthongs are combinations of letters that blend together to form one single sound. Some of the most common diphthongs in Dutch include
Atie: aa, aai, au, auw, ee, eeuw, ei, eu, oe, oi, oo, ui, uu and uw.
Michael: One last major difference between the Dutch and English alphabets is the use of diacritics. In Dutch, diacritics are used to stress an acute accent in the same way that we might use italics or capital letters in English to emphasize one word or phrase within a sentence. This can be seen, for example, in the sentence
Atie: Ik wil het nú!
Michael: meaning "I want it now!" or the sentence
Atie: Die fiets is niet óúd, hij is níéuw!
Michael: meaning "The bike is not old, it's new!"
Michael: So, while the Dutch and English alphabets appear nearly identical, don't forget these distinctions, especially in sound, that contribute to making these two languages unique.
Practice Section
Michael: Let's review the sample conversation: Respond to the prompts by speaking aloud, and then listen carefully as the native speaker models the correct answer. Repeat after her, with the focus on your pronunciation. Are you ready?
How do you say, "What letter is that?"
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Welke letter is dat?
Michael: Did you get it right? Listen again and repeat. Remember to focus on your pronunciation.
Atie: Welke letter is dat?
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Welke letter is dat?
Michael: Let's move on to the second sentence. How do you say, "It's IJ."
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Het is de IJ.
Michael: Did you get it right this time? Listen again and repeat.
Atie: Het is de IJ.
[Beep. Pause 5 seconds.]
Atie: Het is de IJ.
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: In most Dutch dictionaries, the "IJ" (that is written with an I and J) comes after the "I," instead of after the "Y."
Michael: It is also useful to note that the diphthong "EI" (that is written with an E and I) is pronounced the same as the digraph "IJ":
Atie: EI, IJ.
Michael: For clarity with regards to spelling, the "EI" (that is written with an E and I) is usually referred to as the "short EI,"
Atie: korte EI,
Michael: and the "IJ" (that is written with an I and J) is usually referred to as the "long IJ,"
Atie: lange IJ.

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Atie: Doei!
Michael: See you soon!

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