Will I still be understood if I can’t pronounce the CH sound in Dutch?

Like in the sentence “ Heb je genoeg snacks” in the word genoeg there is a CH sound that I can’t pronounce but if I can’t pronounce that certain sound.... will I still be understood by a native Dutch speaker? I mean with me not being able to pronounce that certain sound.... makes me discouraged. :( Because I feel like I won’t be understood by a native Dutch person. :(

August 5, 2019


Speech therapist here ;)

When you want to say CH you need to know a few technical things.

  • First: it's a consonant you can hold on → so NEVER fully obstruct your mouth.

  • Tongue position: velar → this is a difficult word to talk about the upper part of your mouth on the line where it becomes soft. In Dutch it's the same position where we pronounce /k/ (in English /k/ is sometimes a little closer to your lips).

  • Voice: no voice aqcuired for ch it's a silent consonant → (For this difference think about holding /f/ and holding /v/) CH has the /f/ type (no voice), /g/ has the /v/ type (with voice)

Instructions: Lift the back of the tongue to the place where you make the /k/ but make sure to never close of your mouth (you need the airflow to make the sound). If this doesn't work you can start with holding an /s/ sound and slowly lower the tip of your tongue while lifting the back. To get a feeling of what you are doing.

When teaching the CH sound to children I always refer to an angry cat. They (sort of) make that sound. (Imagine your hand has claws and I bet you can make the sound. ;) )

G: Is het same as /ch/ except you DO use voice in this one. If you read /g/ in a word and it's the first letter or a letter in the middle it's with voice. If it's the last letter it's pronounced /ch/.

Accents for /g/ (with voice): Dutch people tend to speak with a harder /g/. They really lift on the soft part of the mouth. Flemish Dutch (mine) lift on the line between hard and soft which makes our /g/ sound more soft.

I hope this helps. If you have more questions, ask away :)

August 6, 2019

Of course we will understand you. And if not, then we will be polite and ask you to repeat it in English.

It's just wonderful that foreigners are trying to speak Dutch.
When I speak English, my pronunciation is also far from perfect.

August 5, 2019

Thank you so much! I would really love to speak Dutch! You have made me so happy!! I will continue learning Dutch. :)

August 5, 2019

Words like "een christen", "christelijk" and "Christus" (a christian, Christian and Christ) are pronouced two ways.
Most commonly with Ch prononounced as the K (Kiwi). Others use the G (Sprache). So you cannot go wrong there. Keep trying.

Every Dutch kid was born making CH sounds. Unfortunately you will have to learn ;-)

August 6, 2019

Characters coded as americans use a K instead of ch in children's cartoons like Tintin or Mortimer and Blake. We could understand that just fine as kids.

Also, dutch accents vary wildly within the Netherlands and Belgium. From Limburg to West-Flanders to Amsterdam, they vary wildly and we can all understand each other. And that's without even mentioning the large italian and turkish expat communities that also have a slang that everyone can understand.

Don't worry about it :) you'll do fine.

August 8, 2019

So just think of CH as a hard K sound? :) am I Understanding correctly?

August 8, 2019

We understand most variations, but the correct version is how I mentioned it above (go up with your tongue at the K-point without fully touching it). Saying /k/ instead of /ch/ is understandable for Dutch people but wrong.

August 8, 2019

Ohh. So instead of me trying to make the CH sound.. just make a K sound instead? :)

August 8, 2019

Annika puts it just fine.

The G and CH are typical to Dutch. If you are serious about learning Dutch you should try it once every minute of the day.

A judge is 'een rechter' in Dutch. If you are calling her a 'Rekter' she will not appreciate no matter how well she might understand.

Have a look at this (Click) DL-comment and just keep going. Start by listening to all the words. Then just do them.

August 9, 2019
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