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Dutch Pronunciation

Hello. I have a question about pronouncing the 'n' at the end of dutch words. For example: would a person really say "wij hebben" the way it is written? Or would it sound more like "wij hebbe". I ask because on Duolingo the "n" seems to be pronounced, but not in the other dutch learning service that I am using. Thanks.

July 20, 2014


[deactivated user]

    There are regional variations in pronunciation of 'n' at the end of words. Generally in the western parts of the Netherlands the 'n' is not pronounced or just very lightly, while in the north/eastern parts it is pronounced. Not sure if it's pronounced in the southern parts.


    Location is indeed an issue, but also the speed with which one speaks. For people learning the Dutch language, I would definitely recommend pronouncing the 'n'.


    My boyfriend who is from Noord-Brabant, doesn't pronounce the n unless the word is a plural I've noticed. His g/ch/sch's are softer than audio clips I've heard of from sites that use people who live in Amsterdam etc.

    I've also noticed that when he says 'elf' or 'hetzelfde' he tends to pronounce the 'elf' parts like 'eluf' as though there is another sound in there. He says that's just his regional accent so I'm not sure xD


    Where I come from (Zeeland, in the south-west) we don't pronounce the e for words ending on -en. In some parts in the east of the Netherlands they do the same.

    I agree with vam1980, when learning the language, you will probably be understood best if you pronounce the full -en at the end of words. There will be enough pronunciation challenges, if you already start by swallowing letters before you tackled most pronunciation, you'll most likely only create more communication challenges.

    @JaneEmily: indeed I think especially the g and r are pronounced differently depending on the part of the country. The g goes from a very soft one in Limburg to the hard one in Holland. In Zeeland the g even turns into an h. The r is somewhat of a throat sound in Rotterdam, a really rolling one (like the Spanish one) for some, then there is the Gooise r and of course the English r reserved for use by foreigners. ;)

    And you're right, some people pronounce elf, zelf and hetzelfde that way. I'm not sure if that is linked to a specific region (living in both eastern and western Noord-Brabant I didn't notice a big increase in that practise), I wouldn't advise doing this, unless of course you'll mainly interact with people from a certain area and the majority of them is doing just that.


    Oooh thank you. I remember when I first heard the g/sch sound. I wanted to run and hide as it sounded so daunting but now it's something I can do without even thinking or worrying too much about it.

    I do make sure to pronounce the -en whenever I encounter it. And don't worry I don't do the elf/hetzelfde thing my boyfriend does :P At times when he has done it, I've asked him nicely to make sure he pronounces it normally when he is helping me with pronunciation practise as I would probably get confused a lot xD


    My French teacher (who also speaks Dutch) says "eluf" instead of "elf". I was wondering about that too. Thanks for your explanations!

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