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Question About Dutch Pronunciation

One thing that's been a recurring theme, whether I'm watching Peppa Pig or the news, is that sometimes Dutch people don't pronounce or barely pronounce the "n" at the end of a word. Words like Aardbeien, spreken, etc. the pronunciation ends at the last e. Is this some sort of rule? Am I crazy? I'm curious as to why that happens.

Here's an example from Peppa Pig of them saying aardbeien a few times: https://youtu.be/iCeC6LZldkc?t=3m12s

July 1, 2018



Not a rule as such, but with the exception of some of my early Dutch teachers, I don't think I ever hear the final n always spoken. I learned to drop them myself.

I found a link here interesting: https://taaladvies.net/taal/advies/tekst/47/uitspraak_slotn_algemeen/


Partially dropping the -en at the end of a word is quite common. Most often it's the -n being dropped, but in certain areas (like the Eastern Netherlands: where dialects of Low Saxon are spoken) the -e usually gets dropped instead. However, most will drop the -n. However, people do occasionally pronounce -en. It just depends on the context. In formal situations or when a word needs to be emphasized or generally when you need to speak very, very clearly it's definitely more common.

Why it happens? It's just easier. Besides, when you do prononce the -en you can end up sounding like an old fahioned television narrator.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzAygpeoyks You can hear such an old-fashioned narration here. The footage is the inauguration of our former queen: Queen (now Princess) Beatrix (1980).

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otvwqmrNlxc Another much older sample (1953). The footage is from the so called "Waternoodsramp": the disastrous North-Sea Flood of 1953. Pretty much the worst flood we faced the last few centuries. The images can be shocking (it is a natural disaster after all) It does have subtitles.

I tend to drop my -n quite a bit, although depending on the word I might drop the -e or just pronounce the -en instead. It's part personal preference, part where you're from and part context.

Anyways, just drop the -n if you feel like it. It's not incorrect or weird and you will probably sound more natural if you do, but neither is it a ruule to do so. It's like the 'R': there's no standard pronuncation, so just go with whatever you like best.


I don't think it is a rule but many people do it.


Normally, you would just pronounce the n. However, sometimes when people talk a bit faster, the n can be somewhat silent.

In the example you mentioned, they say “aardbeienplant”, this is one word and in this case, the n doesn’t have to very clearly spoken.

Also, dialects can influence this. Some people will just pronounce it as “aardbeie” without an n.


That's not a rule in Dutch. But that depend of the accent and of the region of where the people lives.

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