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Pronunciation & Spelling

“Dutch pronunciation is impossible, it will give you a throat ache, and some of the sounds can only be pronounced with your mouth half-full of pea-soup.”
In fact there are only a few sounds in Dutch that don’t exist in English. One of these sounds is indeed the g/ch sound. But if you’re from Scotland (cf. loch), or if you can make a spitting sound, you can also say ggg.

Fortunately, Dutch spelling is highly phonetic. What you see is what you pronounce. English spelling, however, is very inconsistent. A combination of two vowels can sometimes be pronounced in four different ways: ea is a different sound in learn, neat, head and great. Dutch would have four different spellings: u, ie, e and ee.

The Irish writer Shaw proved it was possible to pronounce ghotigh as fish (enough, women, nation, though).

In English you will have to learn the pronunciation of every single word, whereas in Dutch, if you know a few basic spelling and pronunciation rules, you can nearly always deduce the correct pronunciation.

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