Dutch pronunciation isn't too difficult to master if English is your native language. The most difficult sounds will probably be the gutturals made at the back of the throat or the triphthongs (three vowel sounds together). Let's look at some approximate English sounds of Dutch spellings.
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|Dutch letters||English sound|
|ch / g||guttural sound, made at back of mouth|
|sch||s followed by guttural ch sound|
|w||like v before r, otherwise like w but with bottom lip against top teeth|
|v||like v, but sometimes closer to f|
|r||either rolled or guttural|
|j||y as in yes|
|sj||sh as in ship|
|tj||ch as in chip|
|aa||ah as in father, but longer|
|ee||ay as in hail, but shorter|
|ie||ee as in neat, but shorter|
|oo||oh as in boat|
|oe||oo as in pool, but shorter|
|eu||ur as in hurt, but with lips rounded|
|uu||ew, but with lips rounded (sound not found in English)|
|a||ah as in father, but shorter|
|e||eh as in bed|
|i||ih as in bit|
|o||aw as in paw, with lips rounded|
|u||ir as in dirt, but very short|
|ei / ij||between the sounds in "light" and "late"|
|aai||combination of aa and ie|
|oei||combination of oe and ie|
|ooi||combination of oo and ie|
|ou / au||like ow, as in house|
|eeuw||combination of ee and oe|
|ieuw||combination of ie and oe|
|uw||combination of uu and oe|
|ui||combination of a and uu|
The consonants s, f, h, b, d, z, l, m, n, and ng are pronounced the same way in Dutch as in English. P, t, and k are pronounced without the puff of air (called aspiration.) Sometimes the g is pronounced like zh in words borrowed from French. One last vowel sound is found in various Dutch spellings. It is pronounced like uh, as in along or sofa. For example, this sound is found in de (the), een (a), aardig (nice), and vriendelijk (kind).
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