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The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Dutch pronunciations in resource articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to resource articles, see {{IPA-nl}} and Resource: Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

See Dutch phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Dutch as well as dialectal variations not represented here.

IPA Examples English approximation
b beet bait
d dak duck
f fiets feats
? gaan[a] no English equivalent; roughly like loch (Scottish) but voiced
? had[a] behind
j jas yard
k kat, cabaret school
l land land
m mens man
n nek neck
? eng long
p pen, rib[b] sport
r ras[c] trilled R or guttural R
s sok sock
t tak, had[b] stop
v ver[a] very, but more forceful
? wang[d] roughly like very
x acht,[a] weg[b] loch (Scottish English)
z zeep[a] zip
Marginal consonants
c tientje, check[e] cheer
? goal[f] goal
? Giovanni[e] jeep
? omvallen symphony
? oranje, Trijntje[e] somewhat like canyon
? sjabloon, chef[e] shall
? jury[a][e] vision
? bindig [b?'ind?x],
Trijntje Oosterhuis
[-? '?o:-][g]
catch in uh-oh!
' voorkomen
as in commandeer
Other representations
( ) maken ['ma:k?(n)]
zelf [z?l(?)f]
Optional sound[h]
IPA Examples English approximation
Checked vowels[i]
? bad father, but rather short
? bed bed
? vis sit
? bot off
? hut roughly like nurse
Free vowels and diphthongs[i]
a: aap father
e: beet, ezel[j] made
? hemel again
i diep deep
o: boot[j] story
y fuut roughly like few
ø: neus[j] roughly like fur
u hoed boot
?i ai price
a:i draai prize
?u jou, dauw[k] out
?i bijt, ei[k] may
e:u sneeuw say oo
iu nieuw ew or free will
?i hoi choice
o:i nooit boys
oey buit[k] house (Scottish English)
ui groei to eternity
yu duw few would
Marginal vowels
?: scène[l] square (British English)
i: analyse, dier[m] wheeze
?: roze[n][o] thought
oe: freule[n] roughly like fur
u: cruise, boer[m] rule
y: centrifuge, kuur[m] roughly like fugue
: genre[n] roughly like croissant
: hautain[n] roughly like doyen
: chanson[n] roughly like montage


  1. ^ a b c d e f Generally, the southern varieties preserve the /f/-/v/, /x/-/?/ and /s/-/z/ contrasts.[1][2] Southern /x/, /?/ may be also somewhat more front, i.e. post-palatal.[2] In the north, these are far less stable: most speakers merge /x/ and /?/ into a post-velar [x?] or uvular ;[1][2] most Netherlandic Standard Dutch speakers lack a consistent /f/-/v/ contrast.[2] In some accents, e.g. Amsterdam, /s/ and /z/ are also not distinguished.[2] /?/ often joins this neutralization by merging with /?/. In some accents, is also devoiced to . See also Hard and soft G in Dutch.
  2. ^ a b c Dutch devoices all obstruents at the ends of words (e.g. a final /d/ becomes ). This is partly reflected in the spelling: the voiced in plural huizen ('houses') becomes huis ('house') in singular, and duiven ('doves') becomes duif ('dove'). The other cases are always written with the voiced consonant, even though a devoiced one is actually pronounced: the voiced in plural baarden ['ba:rd?(n)] ('beards') is retained in the singular spelling baard ('beard'), but pronounced as [ba:rt]; and plural ribben ['r?b?(n)] ('ribs') has singular rib, pronounced as [r?p]. Because of assimilation, often the initial consonant of the next word is also devoiced, e.g. het vee ('the cattle') is [t 'fe:]
  3. ^ The realization of the /r/ phoneme varies considerably from dialect to dialect. In "standard" Dutch, /r/ is realized as the alveolar trill [r] or as a uvular trill [?]. In some dialects, it is realized as an alveolar flap [?] or even as an alveolar approximant [?].
  4. ^ The realization of the /?/ phoneme varies considerably from the Northern to the Southern and Belgium dialects of the Dutch language. In the north of the Netherlands, it is a labiodental approximant [?], or even a voiced labiodental fricative [v]. In the south of the Netherlands and in Belgium, it is pronounced as a bilabial approximant [] (as it also is in the Hasselt and Maastricht dialects), and Standard Surinamese Dutch uses the labiovelar approximant [w].
  5. ^ a b c d e The alveolo-palatal stops [c] and [?], the fricatives [?] and [?], and the nasal [?] are allophones of the sequences /tj/, /dj/, /sj/, /zj/ and /nj/. [?] and [?] occur only in loanwords. [?] also occurs as an allophone of /n/ before /tj/ (realized as [c]).
  6. ^ is not a native phoneme of Dutch and only occurs in loanwords, like goal or when /k/ is voiced, like in zakdoek ['zduk].
  7. ^ The glottal stop [?] is indicated sparingly in Dutch transcriptions on Resource: it is mandatorily inserted between [a:] and [?] and a syllable-initial vowel, both within words and at word boundaries. Often, it is also inserted before phrase-initial vowels and before any word-initial vowel. This is not indicated in most of our transcriptions.
  8. ^ After the schwa, the final /n/ is frequently elided, so that maken is often pronounced ['ma:k?], especially in non-prevocalic environments. The nasal may be retained before vowels, yielding a linking /n/. An intrusive /n/ may also occur, as in the phrase red je 't? ['r?c?n?t]. In stems ending in /?n/ (such as teken ['te:k?n] 'I draw') and in the indefinite article een /?n/ the nasal is always retained, except when it is degeminated, but when an additional /?n/ is added to the stem (yielding the infinitive form or the present tense plural form), it behaves regularly, as in tekenen ['te:k?n?(n)] 'to draw' or 'we/you/they draw'. Furthermore, an epenthetic schwa can be inserted between /l/ or /r/ and /m, p, k, f, x/ (in the case of /r/ alone also /n/) within the same morpheme. This is found in all types of Dutch, standard or otherwise. However, in Standard Dutch, it is limited to non-prevocalic clusters. In dialects, it can be generalized to all environments and it can also apply to the sequence /r?/, so that morgen 'morning', pronounced ['m?r(n)] in Standard Dutch, is pronounced ['m?r(n)].[3]
  9. ^ a b The "checked" vowels , , , , and occur only in closed syllables, while their "free" counterparts , , , , and can occur in open syllables (as can the other vowels).
  10. ^ a b c For most speakers of Netherlandic Standard Dutch, the long close-mid vowels , and are realised as slightly closing diphthongs [e?], [ø?] and [o?], unless they precede /r/ within the same syllable.[4][5] The closing diphthongs also appear in certain Belgian dialects, e.g. the one of Bruges, but not in Belgian Standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology#Monophthongs for more details.
  11. ^ a b c The exact quality of diphthongs varies; Netherlandic Standard Dutch has somewhat more open (in case of /?u/ and often /oey/ also unrounded) first elements: [æi], [?y], [?u].[6][7] In Belgian Standard Dutch, they begin in the open-mid region, and the last diphthong has a rounded first element: [?i], [oey], [?u].[8][9] In Belgium, the onset of /oey/ can also be unrounded to [?y].[10] Some non-standard dialects (e.g. many southern dialects) realise these diphthongs as either narrow diphthongs or (as in The Hague dialect) long monophthongs.[10] See Dutch phonology § Diphthongs for more details.
  12. ^ Mainly found in loanwords.
  13. ^ a b c Found in loanwords as a separate phoneme, and as an allophone of its shorter counterpart before /r/ in both native and non-native words.
  14. ^ a b c d e Found in loanwords.
  15. ^ In Belgium, /?:/ tends to be pronounced the same as /o:/.


  1. ^ a b Gussenhoven (1999), p. 74.
  2. ^ a b c d e Collins & Mees (2003), p. 48.
  3. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 197, 201, 216-7.
  4. ^ Gussenhoven (1999), p. 76.
  5. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 133-4.
  6. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), p. 135.
  7. ^ Rietveld & Van Heuven (2009:70). Authors state that "in most northern areas, /oey/ is pronounced [y?]."
  8. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 135-6.
  9. ^ Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  10. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 136.


  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003), The Phonetics of English and Dutch, Fifth Revised Edition (PDF), ISBN 9004103406
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1999), "Dutch", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 74-77, ISBN 0-521-65236-7
  • Rietveld, A.C.M.; Van Heuven, V.J. (2009), Algemene Fonetiek, Uitgeverij Coutinho
  • Verhoeven, Jo (2005), "Belgian Standard Dutch" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 35 (2): 243-247, doi:10.1017/S0025100305002173

External links

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