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Is Duolingo "Standard Dutch" or some other dialect?

I have been practicing with two Dutch speakers (One that lived in Eindhoven, NL and the other lived in Ghent, BE). I've noticed that their pronunciation is different than what I am learning on Duolingo. Is what I am learning considered "Standard Dutch" or some other dialect? Can I use what I'm learning pretty much anywhere in the Netherlands or Flanders? Thanks.


June 20, 2018



Duolingo's Dutch is more neutral (closer to ABN - Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands) than what you would hear from the average Dutch person from Eindhoven with regard to pronunciation. Flemish (vlaams), the Dutch dialect spoken by Belgians, has its own pronunciation and, in some cases, grammatical differences. DL doesn't teach vlaams and none of the voices sound vlaams. You'll be fine if you stick to what you learn on DL. There are a small number of exceptions, where the male voice mispronounces words: menu, menu's, and regent are the three that come to mind.


You nailed it perfectly. I can add to the list: negeren which is precariously enough being pronounced with emphasis on the first 'e' in several exercises. Just make sure to always emphasize only the middle 'e' with this word. The second I remember is a couple of exercises with tatouage. Advice there: Just don't -ever -use that word like it is pronounced here. Much better to stay with the english 'tattoo' to get to a proper tattoo shop in the Netherlands ;-).


"Is what I am learning considered "Standard Dutch" or some other dialect?"

The version of Dutch that Duolingo teaches is standard Dutch from the Netherlands. The reason why the speakers from Eindhoven and Gent and the Duolingo voice do not sound alike, is because they speak different (Southern) variations. One of the major differences is the pronuncation of the 'G'. In the South it is generally "softer" than in the North.

"Can I use what I'm learning pretty much anywhere in the Netherlands or Flanders?"

Yes, although in case of Belgium it might be worth noting that there are some minor differences. One of them being that in Belgium they sometimes use different words than those that are used in the Netherlands (and taught in the course). Another thing is that while in the Netherlands you adress people with either 'u' or 'je/jij' depending on the exact level of formality required, in Belgium they also use another form: "ge/gij". However, don't worry too much about it. Dutch-speakers can generally understand each other (as long as they adjust their language to be more 'standard' if needed) even if they're from different areas, or even countries. So the Dutch you're learning on Duolingo will be perfectly usable in both the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname.

PS: Want to know more about the differences between Flemish and Dutch? Check out these vids:


In Belgium they speak Flemish which is really Dutch with a different accent. The difference between Dutch and Flemish is like the difference between British and American English - they sound differently but they are mutually understandable. So yes you can use the "ABN" (algemeen beschaafd nederlands) you learn anywhere. You might have some difficulties understanding some Flemish dialects though, especially "West-Vlaams", but that's normal, these people are subtitled even on Flemish television :-)


In Belgium they speak Flemish

Untrue. Even though people from Belgium like to say they speak "Flemish" it's actually standard Dutch (ABN), unless they're speaking in a dialect. ABN doesn't point towards the Dutch of the Netherlands. Most people in Flanders are able to speak ABN, well, except for people from West-Flanders as they're a special kind of breed - but hey, they try! xD


"Dank u wel" to all who have kindly shared your insights. I understand much better now.


I've quickly tried it, the current Dutch speaker of the course seems to be ABN (unlike what I think I remember it being like in the past - might be confusing it with something else though). But the pronunciation of "g" still isn't ABN, as it still sounds like half a barf. Edit: sometimes it's ABN, sometimes not, I've heard it pronounce "glas" ok but "leeg" with half a barf :P.

The speaker in general is something I could absolutely listen to. I kinda dislike "things" that use a speaker with a strong "hollands" (dialect) accent and can't stand listening to it xD. The current speaker is quite neutral, as it should be, thus fine.

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