Can someone give me some advice on getting this Dutch sound right?
I've been struggling with words in Dutch that start with the letters "sch". I've tried to emulate the sound that I'm hearing (from both the old and new voices), but I know I'm not getting it.
I've defaulted to pronouncing these words the way I would in German, which is more of a "sh" sound, but I can clearly hear it's wrong. Unfortunately, when I try to emulate the sound properly (with the "s" separated from the "ch"), it sounds even worse.
Anyone have any pointers?
Reminds me of how the name of the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylos is scientifically unpronouncable for English speakers...
Have got the "ch" sound right (which is the same sound that is also written as g)? It exists in Dutch, German (ch), Spanish (j) and Greek (χ), but not in English, French, Turkish or Italian.
If you've got that, it's just a matter of sticking an s before it, although the two sounds are rather far apart phonetically. Small children have trouble with it as well.
My way of explaining ch/g is like this: Imagine you take the letter p, which is a plosive, but slur it so that it becomes an f. Now do the same with the letter k and you should get the g sound. In the Netherlands, the g is quite raspy, just like in Mexican Spanish (and this is what English speakers typically make of it on their first try); the standard Belgian variety is soft, like in Castilian Spanish, Greek and German.
If you take German pronunciation as a rough guide, the Dutch ch is more or less that ch sound from the German word ach (except in Dutch it's often a bit harder-sounding).
If you practice this sch sound in isolation, it might help to think of its two parts as one exhalation: a hissy s exhalation, with the ch as a kind of brake that puts an end to it. Obviously, the sch sound in any word wouldn't last so long as to be likened to an "exhalation" - this would be just for initial practice until you can speed the sound up and make the transition smoother.
Hope this helps!
[Edited for length]
Did you put the word 'exhalation' there on purpose? :-)
If you actually pronounce the 'h' in 'exhalation', and try and produce it in the back of your throat, you are getting quite near the Dutch 'sch'-sound.
(the 'h' combined with the 's' from the 'x'...)
(Don't try it with 'exhumation', because the 'u', being a dipthong, deforms the 'h'.)