https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Willowfae

Een and en

I have a question on the pronunciation of these two words. My instinct on reading the words is een as in been and en as in end (British English pronunciation). But on listening to the audios een is not pronounced like that.

So I'd be grateful if someone could clear up how these two words are pronounced.

Thanks :)

August 4, 2014

23 Comments

Sorted by top post

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stwel

I think you are right about "en".

For "een", it is never pronounced as in "been" however. There are two possible readings :

  • When used as indefinite article (een man), it's a bit like the "an" in "an hour"
  • When used a numeral (more often written as één), it's a bit like "ane" in "lane"

I should note that I am a Flemish speaker, but I think that part is the same between Flanders and the Netherlands.

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lenkvist

"Een" and "been" do rhyme when "een" is used like the number one.

You only need to write "één" with diacritics when it's in front of a noun to distinguish it from the version that means a/an. When it's not in front of a noun, you just write it as "een". For example, "een is meer dan twee" is correct as you cannot confuse it with the article.

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/stwel

I think that the "been" that was being referred to is the English pronunciation, like in "i have been". So what I meant was that that is not at all how it's pronounced in Dutch.

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lenkvist

Yes of course, that makes sense :)

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BJH05

As your a Flemish speaker and I need to learn the Flemish side as my partner is Flemish I was wondering if any of the dutch language is different compared to yours. Obviously you have slang but other then the accents to you use the same vocab?

August 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LongHenry

To be honest the vowel in "been" is nowhere close to how "ee" is pronounced in dutch. there are a few different pronunciations that you will hear. 1 pronunciation off "ee" as in the word "een" is pronounced like the I in "bit". another common pronunciation of "ee" is can be approximated by the vowel diphthong ""eː"" as found in the word "play" - in an American accent. 2nd; often "ee" becomes diphthongized as "eɪ" as found in words "face" or "cake". you will be understood if you can pronounce "ee" as I have suggested, though pronunciations will vary across the Netherlands and Belgium

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susande

I don't agree with your bit example. If you pronounce it like that, it sounds like the Dutch word in (inside). Een (the article) sounds (almost?) identical to the un part in stun or gun.

Eén (the number, not the article) indeed sounds a bit like play, face or cake or lane.

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LongHenry

in south african english the i in the word bit is pronounced with a schwa hence "BəT". as i am from south africa, i would consider the example valid. however, some appropriate examples for english speakers from america or the uk would include: the "a" in the word COMMA or for RP the "er" in the word LETTER. in the examples you suggested the "un" in the words "gun" and "stun" is pronounced "ʌn" in the uk (and most other english speaking countries), however in America those examples are pronounced with a schwa so they would be correct if you came from the US

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susande

Regarding your bit example, I had no idea it was about South African English and I certainly wouldn't have thought of that if you hadn't mentioned it. :)

Regarding the whole this Dutch word sounds like that English word. I think I just have to stop doing that. People disagree with me so often, probably because I just cannot imagine the different sounds with the different English accents well enough. And in some cases I guess even if I would hear it, I wouldn't recognise some similar but different pronunciations. Like English speakers have with Dutch uu and oe. :)

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LongHenry

i guess you have to speak the language (dutch or english) for a long time to notice the different pronunciations. :)

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jgierbo2

I think een is pronounced as the IPA symbol /e/, while en is more like a schwa.

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LongHenry

in standard dutch the phoneme /e/ does exist however it is usually lengthened as indicated by the use of a colon : therefore "ee" is usually transcribed as /e:/ in ipa. but you are right about "en" the sound used here is indeed a schwa - transcribed in ipa with the /ə/ symbol.

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csi

I hear it more like the "u" sound in the French word "un" or like the "e" in the French word "le". Or like the "ö" in German and Hungarian. Is that right?

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susande

Een (the article) indeed sounds like the e in French le. It doesn't really sound like u in French un.

The German ö is actually closer to the Dutch eu sound.

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csi

Interesting... all three of those sounds sound the same to me :S

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Susande

The French u in un and the German ö are quite close, but not the same. I think the e in French le sounds pretty different from those if you ask me. I'm not really good in explaining these kind of things. Somebody else probably can, e.g. you can ask in the French forum. :)

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csi

Anyway, for a beginner in Dutch, they're all in the general ballpark... it's all good. :)

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LongHenry

no it isn't im afraid. ü in german respresents the phoneme ʏ (Near-close near-front rounded vowel) while in parisian french U normally represents the phoneme y (Close front rounded vowel). hungarian ü is generally the same as the french U

August 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csi

lol, I said "ö" not "ü"!

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jgierbo2

The ö does sound kind of similar but it is pronounced in the front of the mouth, while the schwa is a central vowel, it is the so-called "neutral" vowel

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csi

Ah, I see the difference! thanks!

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LongHenry

oops! on my computer the "ö" looked like the "ü"! sorry!

August 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/csi

lol, it's ok!

August 5, 2014
Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.