The charts below show the way in which the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) represents Dutch pronunciations in Wikipedia articles. For a guide to adding IPA characters to Wikipedia articles, see Template:IPA and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Pronunciation § Entering IPA characters.

See Dutch phonology for a more thorough look at the sounds of Dutch as well as dialectal variations not represented here.

IPA Examples English approximation
b beet bait
d dak duck
f fiets feats
ɣ gaan[a] no English equivalent; like loch (Scottish) or voiced in the south.
ɦ had[a] behind
j jas yard
k kat, cabaret ski
l land land
m mens man
n nek neck
ŋ eng long
p pen, rib[b] sport
r ras[c] American atom, French R, or (in syllable coda) American R.
s sok between sip and ship (retracted) (N), sip (B)
t tak, had[b] stop
v ver[a] very
ʋ wang[d] like a looser very
x acht,[a] weg[b] loch (Scottish English)
z zeep[a] between zone and genre (retracted) (N), zone (B)
Marginal consonants
t͡ɕ tientje, check[e] cheer
ɡ goal[f] goal
d͡ʑ Giovanni[e] jeep
ɱ omvallen symphony
ɲ oranje, Trijntje[e] somewhat like canyon
ɕ sjabloon, chef[e] ship
ʑ jury[a][e] genre
ʔ bindig [bəˈʔɛindəx],
Trijntje Oosterhuis
[-ə ˈʔoː-][g]
catch in uh-oh!
ˈ voorkomen
as in commandeer
Other representations
( ) maken [ˈmaːkə(n)]
zelf [zɛl(ə)f]
Optional sound[h]
IPA Examples English approximation
Checked vowels[i]
ɑ bad father, but rather short
ɛ bed bed
ɪ vis sit
ɔ bot off
ʏ hut roughly like nurse
Free vowels and diphthongs[i]
aap British lad, but long
beet, ezel[j] American may (N), Scottish may (B)
ə de again
i diep deep
boot[j] American go (N), story (B)
y fuut roughly like few
øː neus[j] roughly like fur
u hoed roughly like cool
ɑi ai price
aːi draai prize
ʌu jou, dauw out
ɛi bijt, ei roughly like Australian may
eːu sneeuw jaywalk
iu nieuw ew!
ɔi hoi choice
oːi nooit boys
œy buit roughly like Canadian ice
ui groei gooey
yu duw Roughly like Received Pronunciation too
Marginal vowels
ɛː scène[k] square (British English)
analyse, dier[l] wheeze
ɔː roze[m][n] thought
œː freule[m] roughly like fur
cruise, boer[l] rule
centrifuge, kuur[l] roughly like fugue
ɑ̃ː genre[m] roughly like croissant
ɛ̃ː hautain[m] roughly like doyen
ɔ̃ː chanson[m] roughly like montage


  1. ^ a b c d e f Generally, the southern varieties preserve the /f//v/, /x//ɣ/ and /s//z/ contrasts.[1][2] Southern /x/, /ɣ/ may be also somewhat more front, i.e. post-palatal.[2] In the north, these are far less stable: most speakers merge /x/ and /ɣ/ into a post-velar [x̠] or uvular [χ];[1][2] most Netherlandic Standard Dutch speakers lack a consistent /f//v/ contrast.[2] In some accents, e.g. Amsterdam, /s/ and /z/ are also not distinguished.[2] /ʒ/ often joins this neutralization by merging with /ʃ/. In some accents, /ɦ/ is also devoiced to [h]. See also Hard and soft G in Dutch.
  2. ^ a b c Dutch devoices all obstruents at the ends of words (e.g. a final /d/ becomes [t]). This is partly reflected in the spelling: the voiced ‹z› in plural huizen ('houses') becomes huis ('house') in singular, and duiven ('doves') becomes duif ('dove'). The other cases are always written with the voiced consonant, even though a devoiced one is actually pronounced: the voiced ‹d› in plural baarden [ˈbaːrdə(n)] ('beards') is retained in the singular spelling baard ('beard'), but pronounced as [baːrt]; and plural ribben [ˈrɪbə(n)] ('ribs') has singular rib, pronounced as [rɪp]. Because of assimilation, often the initial consonant of the next word is also devoiced, e.g. het vee ('the cattle') is [ɦət ˈfeː]
  3. ^ The realization of the /r/ phoneme varies considerably from dialect to dialect. In "standard" Dutch, /r/ is realized as the alveolar tap [ɾ], a uvular trill [ʀ] or voiced uvular fricative [ʁ]. In the syllable coda, a velar bunched approximant [ɹ̈] is very common in the Netherlands.
  4. ^ The realization of the /ʋ/ phoneme varies considerably from the Northern to the Southern and Belgium dialects of the Dutch language. In the north of the Netherlands, it is a labiodental approximant [ʋ], or even a voiced labiodental fricative [v]. In the south of the Netherlands and in Belgium, it is pronounced as a bilabial approximant [β̞] (as it also is in the Hasselt and Maastricht dialects), and Standard Surinamese Dutch uses the labiovelar approximant [w].
  5. ^ a b c d e The alveolo-palatal affricates [t͡ɕ] and [d͡ʑ], the fricatives [ɕ] and [ʑ], and the nasal [ɲ] are allophones of the sequences /tj/, /dj/, /sj/, /zj/ and /nj/. [d͡ʑ] and [ʑ] occur only in loanwords. [ɲ] also occurs as an allophone of /n/ before /tj/ (realized as [t͡ɕ]).
  6. ^ /ɡ/ is not a native phoneme of Dutch and only occurs in loanwords, like goal or when /k/ is voiced, like in zakdoek [ˈzɑɡduk].
  7. ^ The glottal stop [ʔ] is indicated sparingly in Dutch transcriptions on Wikipedia: it is mandatorily inserted between [aː] and [ə] and a syllable-initial vowel, both within words and at word boundaries. Often, it is also inserted before phrase-initial vowels and before any word-initial vowel. This is not indicated in most of our transcriptions.
  8. ^ After the schwa, the final /n/ is frequently elided, so that maken is often pronounced [ˈmaːkə], especially in non-prevocalic environments. The nasal may be retained before vowels, yielding a linking /n/. An intrusive /n/ may also occur, as in the phrase red je 't? [ˈrɛcənət]. In stems ending in /ən/ (such as teken [ˈteːkən] 'I draw') and in the indefinite article een /ən/ the nasal is always retained, except when it is degeminated, but when an additional /ən/ is added to the stem (yielding the infinitive form or the present tense plural form), it behaves regularly, as in tekenen [ˈteːkənə(n)] 'to draw' or 'we/you/they draw'. Furthermore, an epenthetic schwa can be inserted between /l/ or /r/ and /m, p, k, f, x/ (in the case of /r/ alone also /n/) within the same morpheme. This is found in all types of Dutch, standard or otherwise. However, in Standard Dutch, it is limited to non-prevocalic clusters. In dialects, it can be generalized to all environments and it can also apply to the sequence /rɣ/, so that morgen 'morning', pronounced [ˈmɔrɣə(n)] in Standard Dutch, is pronounced [ˈmɔrəɣə(n)].[3]
  9. ^ a b The "checked" vowels /ɑ/, /ɛ/, /ɪ/, /ɔ/, and /ʏ/ occur only in closed syllables, while their "free" counterparts //, //, /i/, //, and /y/ can occur in open syllables (as can the other vowels).
  10. ^ a b c For most speakers of Netherlandic Standard Dutch, the long close-mid vowels //, /øː/ and // are realised as slightly closing diphthongs [eɪ], [øʏ] and [oʊ], unless they precede /r/ within the same syllable.[4][5] The closing diphthongs also appear in certain Belgian dialects, e.g. the one of Bruges, but not in Belgian Standard Dutch. See Dutch phonology#Monophthongs for more details.
  11. ^ Mainly found in loanwords.
  12. ^ a b c Found in loanwords as a separate phoneme, and as an allophone of its shorter counterpart before /r/ in both native and non-native words.
  13. ^ a b c d e Found in loanwords.
  14. ^ In Belgium, /ɔː/ tends to be pronounced the same as /oː/.



  1. ^ a b Gussenhoven (1999), p. 74.
  2. ^ a b c d e Collins & Mees (2003), p. 48.
  3. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 197, 201, 216–7.
  4. ^ Gussenhoven (1999), p. 76.
  5. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 133–4.


See also[edit]

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