Dutch For Dummies
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Spoken by 23 million people, Dutch is a language at the heart of Europe, found mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands. Written Dutch can be fairly straightforward to pick up, however Dutch pronunciation can be more challenging. Whether you’re learning Dutch for business or leisure, these tips will quickly help you get to grasps and up to speed.

How to pronounce the Dutch alphabet

It’s best to begin with the basics, so here’s the Dutch alphabet which shares the same format as English, but pronounces the letters slightly differently. Take a look at the phonetic tips next to each for how to say each one.

A ah N en
B bay O oa
C say P pay
D day Q kuw
E ay R her
F ef S es
G khay T tay
H hah U uw
I ee V fay
J yay W way
K kah X ix
L el Y ehy
M em Z zet

Useful Dutch expressions

Here are some useful everyday Dutch phrases you’ll find yourself using all the time. Take a look at the following expressions and how to pronounce them.

  • Hallo! Hallo! (hah-low)

  • Hi! Hoi! (hoy) / Hi! (hay)

  • Good morning! Goedemorgen! (khoo-der-mor-khern)

  • Good afternoon! Goedemiddag! (khoo-der-mi-dakh)

  • Good evening! Goedenavond! (khoo-der-aa-font)

  • See you later! Bye! Tot ziens! (toat seens) / Dag! (dakh) Hoi! (hoai)

  • Here you are! Alstublieft (als-stuw-bleeft)

  • Please? Alsjeblieft? (als-yer-bleeft)

  • Thanks! Bedankt! (ber-dahnkt)

  • I am sorry! Neem me niet kwalijk (naym mer neet kvoa-lerk) / sorry! (sor-ree)

Useful questions in Dutch

Here are some useful Dutch questions to ask when out and about day to day, complete with their pronunciations. However, make sure that you don’t get too comfortable with the first one though!

  • Do you speak English? Spreekt u Engels? (spraykt uw eng-erls)

  • Would you help me please? Kunt u mij helpen? (kuhnt uw may hel-pern)

  • Where are the toilets? Waar is het toilet? (vaar is het tvaa-let)

  • How much is that? Hoeveel kost dat ? (hoo-feyl kost dat)

  • Where can I find . . . Waar kan ik de . . . vinden (vaar kan ik der . . . fin-dern)

  • At what time do you open? Hoe laat gaat u open? (hoo laat khaat uw o-pern)

  • What time do you close? Hoe laat gaat u dicht? (hoo laat khaat uw dikht)

  • Could you talk a bit slower? Kunt u wat langzamer praten? (kuhnt uw vat lankh-sa-mern praatern)

  • Could you repeat that please? Kunt u dat herhalen? (Kuhnt uw dat her-haa-lern)

Dutch phrases for emergencies

If an emergency ever arises you’ll want to be able to express yourself. Therefore it’s important to learn these Dutch phrases as you’ll never know when you might need them.

  • Help! Help! (help)

  • Hurry up! Schiet op! (skeet op)

  • Please call 112! Bel 112! (bel ayn ayn tway)

  • Police! Politie! (po-lee-tsee)

  • Fire brigade Brandweer (brant-wayr)

  • Get a doctor! Haal een dokter! (haal ern dok-ter)

  • I am ill! Ik ben ziek! (ik ben seek)

  • Somebody has stolen my . . . Iemand heeft mijn … gestolen (ee-mant hayftmayn … khe-stoh-lern)

  • Where is the hospital? Waar is het ziekenhuis? (wahr is het see-kern-hoais?)

The Dutch calendar

Knowing months and days is a major point on your Dutch list to learn. Here’s every day of the week and every month of the year listed with pronunciation.

Days (de dagen) (der dah-kern)

  • Monday maandag (maan-dakh)

  • Tuesday dinsdag (dins-dakh)

  • Wednesday woensdag (voons-dakh)

  • Thursday donderdag (don-der-dakh)

  • Friday vrijdag (fray-dakh)

  • Saturday zaterdag (zaa-ter-dakh)

  • Sunday zondag (zon-dakh)

Months (de maanden) (der maan-dern)

  • January januari (yan-nuw-aa-ree)

  • February februari (fay-bruw-aa-ree)

  • March maart (maart)

  • April april (a-pril)

  • May mei (may)

  • June juni (yuw-nee)

  • July juli (yuw-lee)

  • August augustus (ow-khuhs-tuhs)

  • September september (sep-tem-ber)

  • October oktober (ok-toa-ber)

  • November november (noa-fem-ber)

  • December december (day-sem-ber)

How to count in Dutch

Learning to count in Dutch is just as important as learning the alphabet. Here are some vital numbers from 0 to 1000. You’ll soon be counting from één to tien in no time.

0 nul (nuhl)
1 één (ayn)
2 twee (tvay)
3 drie (dree)
4 vier (feer)
5 vijf (fayf)
6 zes (zes)
7 zeven (zay-fern)
8 acht (akht)
9 negen (nay-khern)
10 tien (teen)
11 elf (elf)
12 twaalf (twaalf)
13 dertien (dehr-teen)
14 veertien (fayr-teen)
15 vijftien (fayf-teen)
16 zestien (zes-teen)
17 zeventien (say-fern-teen)
18 achttien (akh-teen)
19 negentien (nay-khern-teen)
20 twintig (tvin-tikh)
21 eenentwintig (ayn-ern-tvin-tikh)
22 tweeëntwintig (tvay-ern-tvin-tikh)
23 drieëntwintig (dree-ern-tvin-tikh)
24 vierentwintig (feer-ern-tvin-tikh)
25 vijfentwintig (fayf-ern-tvin-tikh)
30 dertig (dehr-tikh)
40 veertig (fayr-tikh)
50 vijftig (fayf-tikh)
60 zestig (zes-tikh)
70 zeventig (zay-fern-tih)
80 tachtig (takh-tikh)
90 negentig (nay-khern-tikh)
100 honderd (hon-dert)
200 tweehonderd (tway-hon-dert)
300 driehonderd (dree-hon-dert)
400 vierhonderd (feer-hon-dert)
500 vijfhonderd (fayf-hon-dert)
1000 duizend (doai-zernt)

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Margreet Kwakernaak has taught Dutch to foreign students for over ten years. She is the founder and director of Suitcase Talen, a language school in Almere, the Netherlands.

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