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I have begun to learn Dutch: Questions and Advice


I have begun to learn Dutch. The main reason why I want to learn Dutch is because it could become quite useful for me in the future, and whenever I travel I usually have a stop in the Netherlands.

I have a question, just on something in the first skill, since I only started yesterday. Jij and Je /zij and ze. Are those pairs pronounced the same, or are there differences? I have listened to the Duolingo TTS and another one and they have given me different results. A native speaker's input would be very much appreciated.

I also need some advice. Is there are aspect of Dutch, or anything I should know straight away right before I go any further? What can I expect?

Dank je

April 23, 2017



In addition to the answer of Jersebas:

Jij and Je /zij and ze. Are those pairs pronounced the same, or are there differences?

forvo.com is a great website for pronunciation:
- https://forvo.com/word/jij/#nl
- https://forvo.com/word/je/#nl
- https://forvo.com/word/ze/#nl


First of all welcome - welkom - to the Dutch course! =) As a native I can confirm the pairs sound different. I have no experience with the Dutch Duolingo voice myself, but I can imagine the results may differ from time to time. Probably it will take you some time to get used to certain Dutch sounds, as is the case for most people in most new languages =)

As to what you should know straight away, I can't think of anything from the top of my head, except I would recommend you to read the welcome post by the Dutch team with some useful info/links if you haven't already.

Good luck with your studies! =)


Since you are a native Dutch speaker, May I refer to you when I have difficulties in my pronunciation and grammar? Also, since I am American, some of the words like "jongen" and others are pretty difficult to pronounce. Do you pronounce it at the front of your mouth or towards the back?


Sure you may =) Although I must say posting questions in the forum here will probably result in quicker answers as all our activity streams are currently disabled so you don't have a really good way of asking me directly atm =(

As to pronunciation I've heard many foreigners who have trouble with words with "g" and "j" (my first name starts with a "j" so I'm used to all kind of strange versions when traveling abroad =)). I'm no expert in explaining pronunciation I'm afraid so can't really help you there. If you haven't already, take a look at the site Pentaan mentioned, it has many pronunciations by natives e.g. https://forvo.com/word/jongen/#nl


Okay, no biggie. I will try the website you posted. Thanks! :)


I'd recommend this site for Dutch grammar, it helps out A LOT: http://www.dutchgrammar.com (just click on the grammar tab)


Hi I do Dutch it is very easy and hard at the same time I do hope you like it and good luck


I do like it! It is a Germanic language like English, so it is quite easy to understand. Pronunciation is difficult though, especially since their 'g' and 'j' are pronounced as if they are barely there. And some are meant to be said at the back of the throat, as if you have a cough. lol! But it will just take time and practice, as well as some native dutch speakers. Thank you for your encouragement, I wish you the same! Have fun learning Dutch! :D


I also need some advice. Is there are aspect of Dutch, or anything I should know straight away right before I go any further? What can I expect?

First of all, hartelijk welkom en veel succes met de cursus Nederlands!

Expect a good dose of crazy grammar, but don't worry too much about it now. Even native speakers make a lot of mistakes with some of the more unusual things.

Dimunitives are a big deal in Dutch. Since you've learned German I assume you know the concept. Dutch has more 'dimutive suffixes' and they're used a lot.

There are lots of dialects in the Netherlands. Some 'dialects' are actually regional languages. You can often tell where someone comes from by their accent. This may sound a bit challenging but pretty much everyone can switch to a more standard form of Dutch. (this is more of a fun fact)

You don't actually have to fully pronounce the -en ending of verbs. Most people don't pronounce the -n, but in the East of the Netherlands people tend to swallow the -e.

Getting the aspiration (or lack thereof) right is very important for getting the accent correct. Try this link: https://blogs.transparent.com/dutch/sounding-dutch-in-dutch-consonant-aspiration/


The main thing I notice is you're 25 Norwegian and German. You probably had to do this when switching between the two courses but if you only do one or two lessons you'll make grammar/dictionary mistakes you need to do a whole bunch of Dutch or you'll accidentally start answering in Norwegian. They're similar enough to confuse but not similar enough to swap the words or grammar.


Wat fijn dat je Nederlands leert! You will discover one day that there are considerable differences in pronounciation between the Dutch standard (used in The Netherlands) and the Flemish standard (used in the north of Belgium). The Duolingo vocal input comes from a Dutch speaker from Holland and is often a bit strange in the ears of Flemish speakers. It would probably be a good idea to listen to the Flemish version ( for instance here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-mOWG21QJE ) or check elsewhere on Youtube for 'Nederlands NT2'

Veel succes!


I was struggling with this, too! I feel the Duolingo voice does not do enough to distinguish We/Wij, and Je/Jij. I was going bonkers. I talked to a native Dutch speaker, who helped me using IPA. The "ij" is a longer sound, like in English "may", while the We/Je is supposed to have the "e" as a schwa.


OOH!!! Okay, that's so helpful! Dank u!

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