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Lesson Transcript

Jacob: Ik heet Jacob! Hello, everyone! I’m Jacob.
Mies: Mies here! Welcome to DutchPod101.com, where we study Dutch in a fun and educational format. This is Pronunciation Series Lesson 1, The Pronunciation of Vowels in Dutch
Jacob: We'll help you brush up on the Dutch that you started learning long ago, or start learning today.
Mies: Thanks for being here with us. In this lesson, our focus will be the pronunciation of Dutch vowels.
Jacob: A - E - O - I - U - Y
Mies: Sounds very nice Jacob.
Jacob: Now, some vowels might be a bit difficult to pronounce.
Mies: We want all of you out there to master your Dutch vowels.
Jacob: So we will help you pronounce sounds properly in Dutch.
Mies: Now in this lesson we will not work on ALL the sounds in Dutch; only vowels.
Jacob: First of all, pronouncing Dutch is only hard if you refuse to open your mouth.
Mies: Yes, this is something you might want to keep in mind.
Jacob: It really makes it easier for you if you make your mouth work.
Mies: Don't hesitate to exaggerate the width of your mouth.
Jacob: Like this…"AAAAAAAAAAAAAA." Wide open!
Mies: You might be in the line at the bakery or driving your convertible right now. But we don't care. Repeat after Jacob…
Jacob: "AAAAAAA" – "EEEEEEE"- "IIIIIII" - "OOOOOOO." “ UUUUUUU “These should be easy to pronounce. And now that your mouth is stretched...
Mies: By the way, how many vowels are there in Dutch?
Jacob: Six. But we will focus mainly on 5 of them.
Mies: Yeah, the letter Y can be a vowel or consonant. You basically only see the letter Y as a vowel in borrowed words and will be pronounced like the word in the original language.
Mies: Are there a lot of similarities between English and Dutch vowels?
Jacob: Yes, there are. Sometimes the sounds are close to German, sometimes to French and yes, very often close to English
Mies: Okay, that can be helpful. Now let's start!
Jacob: The same single vowel can have a different sound depending on its use.
Mies: That's right – the vowels can have a long or a short sound.
Jacob: For example the letter A can sound like “ah” or “aaaah”
Mies: Lets start with the short sounds.
Jacob: Good idea.
Mies: Usually, a single vowel is short when followed by more than one consonant, or by a single consonant that's the end of a word
Jacob: Ok! Lets have a look at the letters:
"a" in Z-A-K ( spell out )”zak”, meaning “bag”.
Mies: The "a" sounds like the “a” in “father”, “zak”.
Jacob: Lets move on to "e" in S-P-E-L( spell out ) “spel”, meaning “game”
Mies: "e" sounds like the “a” in “cat”, “spel”
Jacob: And "i" in D-I-T ( spell out) “dit” meaning “this”
Mies: "i" sounds like the “i” in “it”. “dit”
Jacob: Next "o" in V-O-L ( spell out )”vol”, meaning “full”
Mies: "o" sounds like the “a” in “hall”
Jacob: Next "u" in N-U-L ( spell out )”nul”, meaning “zero”
Mies: "u" sounds like the “u” in “umbrella”
Jacob: Next "y" in B-A-B-Y ( spell out )”baby”, meaning “baby”
Mies: "y" sounds like we mentioned before, the same as in English.
Jacob: And double repeating vowels AA - EE - UU - OO will ALWAYS have a long sound.
Mies: Lets have a listen to the long sounds.
Jacob: "AA" is aaah
Mies: Right, first, open your mouth and imagine you're at the dentist. Say "AAAAAA"
Jacob: Remember to relax your mouth.
Mies: Oh, and of course you don't have to open it as much as at the dentist's.
Jacob: "AAAA " Excellent! Isn't that fun?
Mies: Okay, now the last step is to put it in a word.
Jacob: Okay, everyone, I'm going to say a series of words and I will leave a silence between each word.
Mies: Now, your job is to repeat each word after Jacob.
Jacob: Ready? Go! “maan (moon)”.” traan (tear)”, “laan (lane, avenue)”
Mies: Great, let's hear what the long EEEE sounds like
Jacob: Okay, now for the sound "ee" This will put a big smile on your face everyone.
Mies: Let's have some words with the "ee" sound. Listeners please repeat.
Jacob: "veel (many)” “geel (yellow)”, “meel (flour)”
Mies: For the next vowel sound we have to make our mouth round. "oo"
Jacob: "boot (boat)” “rood (red)”, “groot (big)”
Mies: nice, now for the last sound we have to make our mouth into a small round circle. "uu"
Jacob: I know one: “ uur (hour)”, “muur (wall)”, “duur (expensive)”.
Mies: So how are we doing?
Jacob: Great! Pretty easy I would say.
Mies: So a single vowel can have different sounds – short and long.
Jacob: Hmm, that sounds a bit harder.
Mies: Yes, so now I will teach you two rules for when a single vowel gives a long sound.
Jacob: Rule 1: a single vowel is usually long when it's at the end of the word.
Mies: Okay, let's give an example. Jacob can you first spell and then say the word YES in Dutch
Jacob: J-A ”ja”,
Mies: It's only one A but it has a long sound, how about the word “now”
Jacob: N-U “nu”
Mies: Rule 2: a single vowel pronounced long when followed by a consonant and another vowel.
Jacob: so, vowel -consonant - vowel
Mies: How would you spell and say “mill” in Dutch?
Jacob: M-O-L-E-N, “molen”
Mies: Yes, so the first vowel, O, is followed by a consonant, L, and vowel, E
Jacob: Is this the reason that the O sounds long like OOOH and not short like “o” ?
Mies: Yes that's right, now let's look at another one. How would you spell and say "feathers."
Jacob: V-E-R-E-N,”veren”
Mies: Right. We don’t say “veren” ( short e), we say “veren” (long e) because it's followed up by the R and the E.
Mies: The letter E has a third pronunciation.
Jacob: Right, it's a multi-talented letter.
Mies: Indeed, we call it the 'voiceless E'
Jacob: So what does this voiceless E sound like?
Mies: It sounds like “uh”,
Jacob: Like you are a bit confused, “Uh?”
Mies: Haha, I hope not like in, “de”, “alle”, “terug”
Jacob: Can you explain when we use the voiceless E?
Mies: Sure, we use the voiceless E in one-syllable words. Jacob, could you say; “ we”, “the”,”too" in Dutch:
Jacob: “we”, “de”, “te”
Mies: Right, the second rule for using the voiceless E is when it's at the end of the word. Can you say them for me, “all”, “earth”, “ticket”
Jacob: “alle”, aarde”, “kaartje”
Mies: Great, the third rule is when the word starts with BE, GE, TE and VER, so can you say in Dutch the words; company, danger, back, translation
Jacob: Bedrijf, gevaar, terug, vertaling
Mies: Thanks Jacob, now we have came to the last rule, we use the voiceless E when the word ends with EN, ER, EL. Please say: legs, tasty, table
Jacob: That would be: benen, lekker, tafel
Mies: Well done! That just about does it for this lesson. But, before we go, we want to tell you about a way to drastically improve your pronunciation.
Jacob: The voice-recording tool...
Mies: Yes, the voice-recording tool in the Premium Learning Center...
Jacob: Record your voice with a click of a button,
Mies: …and then play it back just as easily.
Jacob: So you record your voice and then listen to it.
Mies: Compare it to the native speakers...
Jacob: And adjust your pronunciation!
Mies: This will help you improve your pronunciation quickly!
Mies: Thank you for listening!
Jacob: Dag!
Mies: Bye!