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Lesson Transcript

Jacob: Ik heet Jacob, I’m Jacob
Mies: Mies here! Welcome to DutchPod101.com Pronunciation Series. This is Lesson 4: Dutch Accents. So what is our focus this lesson Jacob ?
Jacob: We are going to talk about accents in Dutch.
Mies: Accents tell us how to pronounce the word or can even change the meaning of the sentence.
Jacob: Yeah, but first things first. You may be wondering: what are accents?
Mies: Well, an accent mark is used over a letter to indicate which syllable is stressed in a word.
Jacob: This is something French has too, so it may be easier to understand if you can speak another European language.
Mies: Yes, we actually see it in many words borrowed from the French language.
Jacob: "Accents” are always placed above a vowel.
Mies: There a few tricky bits about accents that we will look deeper into in this lesson.
Jacob: Okay. So let's get to the first problematic area. What does the accent do to the word?
Mies: The accents can change the sound of the word.
Jacob: How does it change them?
Mies: I’m gonna use some fancy words here to explain. We have the acute accent and the grave accent.
Jacob: We have what?
Mies: Well to say it in an easier way, the Acute accent is a little line leaning forward and the grave accent is a little line leaning backwards.
Jacob: Right. So, how will they change the sound of the word?
Mies: The acute accent gives the vowel a long sound. For example how do you say 'Hey' in Dutch?
Jacob: Hé
Mies: The listeners can not hear the difference, but if you would look at the spelling in English it would be spelled HEY and in Dutch it is HE, only we need the acute accent on the E other wise it would sound like He.
Jacob: So how about the grave accent what does that one do?
Mies: The grave accent makes the vowel sound short.
Jacob: Leaning backwards, short. Leaning forward, long
Mies: Indeed and it's mostly used in French loanwords
Jacob: No surprises there!
Mies: For example: appèl - carrière - première
Jacob: and, hè?
Mies: Right hè, HE with a grave accent on the E, you say this when you are surprised or confused
Mies: Accents can also do something else: they can stress a word
Jacob: That doesn’t sound too good.
Mies: Haha, don’t worry! The words don’t suffer. If we want to emphasize a particular word in a sentence, we can use an acute accent
Jacob: Aaah, when I really want something. Ik wil het nú!
Mies: Yeah that would mean I want it now! On the word “nú” we put an acute accent on the U
Jacob: Ik wil het nú!
Mies: Okay okay, be a little bit patient please. So let's see. Let's say I have been cooking and I ask you what you think of it.
Jacob: Het is héél lekker!
Mies: Thank you, “Het is héél lekker!” means it's very tasty. When we write this sentence we put acute accents on both the E’s.
Jacob: Right, we never put accents on capital letters though.
Mies: Even though the letters are the same, changing the location where we stress the word can change the meaning of the word completely.
Jacob: Wow! This is a good one to know.
Mies: Let's start with one that you will see a lot. What was the number 'one' in Dutch ?
Jacob: één
Mies: And how do you spell it?
Jacob: EEN
Mies: right but you shouldn’t forget the acute accent on both the E’s, otherwise it would be pronounced as een, meaning “a”
Jacob: één and een
Mies: Another one is the Dutch word for 'occur'
Jacob: vóórkomen"
Mies: and the Dutch for 'prevent'?
Jacob: voorkómen
Mies: Right! Both words have exactly the same letters, only in vóórkomen, the acute accents are on the first two O’s and in voorkómen the acute accent is on the last O
Jacob: So I was invited to this reunion the other day. I got a letter in the mailbox saying: “School reünie” My Australian friend who was visiting me saw the invitation and said Reunie
Mies: Yeah EU would give one sound, the EU sound, but here we are using the diaeresis.
Jacob: The double dots.
Mies: Indeed the dots placed over the second vowel, thus dismissing the diphthong.
Jacob: so instead of EU, eü
Mies: The diaeresis is still sometimes used in English, over the -i of the word "naïve," and for the same reason…showing the special pronunciation of the vowels of this word.
Jacob: Isn't it wonderful how complex and yet how logical a language can be?
Mies: Some would say it's unnecessarily complex!
Jacob: I will give you an example. 'Coordination' in Dutch is “coördinatie” it needs a diaeresis on the O. Without it, we would say coordinatie
Mies: coördinatie. Something I'm often lacking, bumping into tables and chairs!
Jacob: Watch out Mies, a table!
Mies: Haha..very funny… Well, I could use a nap after that grammar meal!
Jacob: Okay, we'll wrap it up here for this lesson.
Mies: Don't forget that you can leave us a comment on this lesson.
Jacob: So if you have a question or some feedback, please leave us a comment!
Mies: It's very easy to do. Just stop by DutchPod101.com,
Jacob: click on comments,
Mies: enter your comment and name,
Jacob: and that's it.
Mies: No excuses. We're looking forward to hearing from you!
Mies: Bye!
Jacob: Doei!
Word Count for Script: 1,409 Words