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 {{IPA-nl}} 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; roughly like loch (Scottish) but voiced
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] trilled R or guttural R
s sok between sip and ship (retracted) (N), sip (B)
t tak, had[b] stop
v ver[a] very, but more forceful
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
c tientje, check[e] cheer
ɡ goal[f] goal
ɟ Giovanni[e] jeep
ɱ omvallen symphony
ɲ oranje, Trijntje[e] somewhat like canyon
ʃ sjabloon, chef[e] ship
ʒ 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 father
beet, ezel[j] made
ə de again
i diep deep
boot[j] story
y fuut roughly like few
øː neus[j] roughly like fur
u hoed roughly like rule
ɑi ai price
aːi draai prize
ʌu jou, dauw[k] out
ɛi bijt, ei[k] roughly like air
eːu sneeuw say oo
iu nieuw ew!
ɔi hoi choice
oːi nooit boys
œy buit[k] roughly like Canadian ice
ui groei gooey
yu duw roughly like few
Marginal vowels
ɛː scène[l] square (British English)
analyse, dier[m] wheeze
ɔː roze[n][o] thought
œː freule[n] roughly like fur
cruise, boer[m] rule
centrifuge, kuur[m] roughly like fugue
ɑ̃ː genre[n] roughly like croissant
ɛ̃ː hautain[n] roughly like doyen
ɔ̃ː chanson[n] 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 trill [r] or as a uvular trill [ʀ]. In some dialects, it is realized as an alveolar flap [ɾ] or even as an alveolar approximant [ɹ] or retroflex approximant [ɻ]; the latter 2 occur as allophones of trill [r] or flap [ɾ] before consonants and a pause.
  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 stops [c] and [ɟ], the fricatives [ʃ] and [ʒ], and the nasal [ɲ] are allophones of the sequences /tj/, /dj/, /sj/, /zj/ and /nj/. [ɟ] and [ʒ] occur only in loanwords. [ɲ] also occurs as an allophone of /n/ before /tj/ (realized as [c]).
  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. ^ a b c The exact quality of diphthongs varies; Netherlandic Standard Dutch has somewhat more open (in case of /ʌu/ and often /œy/ also unrounded) first elements: [æi], [ɐy], [ɑu].[6][7] In Belgian Standard Dutch, they begin in the open-mid region, and the last diphthong has a rounded first element: [ɛi], [œy], [ɔu].[8][9] In Belgium, the onset of /œy/ can also be unrounded to [ɐy].[10] Some non-standard dialects (e.g. many southern dialects) realise these diphthongs as either narrow diphthongs or (as in The Hague dialect) long monophthongs.[10] See Dutch phonology § Diphthongs for more details.
  12. ^ Mainly found in loanwords.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ a b c d e Found in loanwords.
  15. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), p. 135.
  7. ^ Rietveld & Van Heuven (2009:70). Authors state that "in most northern areas, /œy/ is pronounced [ʌ̈y̯]."
  8. ^ Collins & Mees (2003), pp. 135–6.
  9. ^ Verhoeven (2005), p. 245.
  10. ^ a b Collins & Mees (2003), p. 136.


  • Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger M. (2003), The Phonetics of English and Dutch, Fifth Revised Edition (PDF), ISBN 9004103406
  • Gussenhoven, Carlos (1999), "Dutch", Handbook of the International Phonetic Association: A guide to the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet, Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, pp. 74–77, ISBN 0-521-65236-7
  • Rietveld, A.C.M.; Van Heuven, V.J. (2009), Algemene Fonetiek, Uitgeverij Coutinho
  • Verhoeven, Jo (2005), "Belgian Standard Dutch" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 35 (2): 243–247, doi:10.1017/S0025100305002173

External links

  • Nederlands woordenboek
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