A Guide to Dutch - The Dutch alphabet

What's the Dutch alphabet like?

You may well have to spell out your name and perhaps your address in Dutch. Here is the alphabet and how to pronounce it

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What's significant about the Dutch alphabet?

  • The same, but different

    The Dutch alphabet is exactly the same as the English alphabet, although the names of the letters are pronounced differently, which may cause confusion, particularly the vowels  a, i, e. If someone were to say  bed, bed, in Dutch, an English person might spell this bad.

    Dutch spelling is generally straightforward as most letters correspond to one sound, making it fairly phonetic to read. However, some people find the pronunciation difficult and think that Dutch sounds quite guttural.
    It's true that the  g, ch, r and combinations of those sounds, along with others, can be tricky:
     g, goed, good.
     ch, slecht, bad.
     r, rood, red.
     gr, groot, big, large.
     chr, verschrikkelijk, terrible. Exactly.

  • More vowels!

    Generally, Dutch pronunciation is not too hard to master but you can find various vowels strung together, which can take a bit of getting used to. Get your tongue around the following vowel combinations:
     ei/ij, mijn, mine. Both spellings refer to the same sound.
     oe, boek, book, which is close, but not quite the same as the English book.
     ui, luid, loud. A tricky one as English has nothing like this.
     eu, neus, nose. Another difficult one.
     oo, telefoon, telephone.
     ie, bier, beer.
     ee, feest, feast, party.
    The combinations of ieuw, eeuw may look impossible to pronounce, but they’re actually easier than you think:
     ieuw, nieuw, new, sounds like combining the English ee and oo
     eeuw, leeuw, lion, sounds like combining the English letter a followed by an oo sound.

  • Email and website conventions

    When giving an email or website address the conventions are:
     @ apenstaartje, literally monkey's tail.
     . punt, dot
     / schuine streep, slash

Facts about Dutch

Facts about Dutch

10 things to know about the Dutch language

Dutch key phrases

Dutch phrases

Get started with 20 audio phrases

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