Pronunciation questions . . .

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Sorridom
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Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Sorridom » 2011-06-03, 16:57

Goedendag!

I have a few questions regarding pronunciation specifically in "standard" Northern/Hollandic Dutch (that's used in education and by media):

I have a pretty good idea of the overall variation with the letter <g>, and I know that it's "mostly" pronounced as [X] (uvular) in the aforementioned register--but how absolute is that? Is it the case that [ɣ] is totally absent? If I were to pronounce gedacht as [ɣədɑXt], would I necessarily be regarded as having a more Southern accent, etc.? (Or could that maybe be seen as being a neutral pronunciation?) Also--is [ɣ] at all more frequent intervocalically, as in logen?

Next: Does all of that also apply equally to [s]/[z] and [f]/[v]? I.e., are [v] and [z] pretty much absent, are they more common intervocalically, etc.?

Thirdly--is the dropping of the [n] in the -en ending just colloquial, or is it also something that's recommended for proper and "formal" speech?

Finally, is the uvular <r> predominant among Hollandic speakers especially? Is the alveolar still taken to be the standard, or is that now old-fashioned? Is either one seen as being more formal or neutral?

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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Muisje » 2011-06-03, 19:01

Sorridom wrote:I have a pretty good idea of the overall variation with the letter <g>, and I know that it's "mostly" pronounced as [X] (uvular) in the aforementioned register--but how absolute is that? Is it the case that [ɣ] is totally absent? If I were to pronounce gedacht as [ɣədɑXt], would I necessarily be regarded as having a more Southern accent, etc.? (Or could that maybe be seen as being a neutral pronunciation?) Also--is [ɣ] at all more frequent intervocalically, as in logen?
[ɣ] is always southern, mixing the two sounds kinda weird. Although there are people in like Brabant that have something in between [ɣ] and [X], maybe they have some more variation (more front before front vowels or something). But in standard northern Dutch it's always [X]. It can become voiced between voiced sounds, though, is that what you mean? That's not a rule, it's kinda random. I'd say it's more common voiceless even between vowels, but I don't really hear the difference well, especially when I'm not paying attention to it. :P

Sorridom wrote:Next: Does all of that also apply equally to [s]/[z] and [f]/[v]? I.e., are [v] and [z] pretty much absent, are they more common intervocalically, etc.?
In some dialects they're completely absent, but I think most people still have them, [z] at least. They are definitely more common intervocalically, but they sometimes turn voiceless for no apparent reason. Well and of course when they're next to a voiceless consonant. :wink:

Sorridom wrote:Thirdly--is the dropping of the [n] in the -en ending just colloquial, or is it also something that's recommended for proper and "formal" speech?
You mean recommended to native speakers or what we recommend to you? I don't think it's really an issue amongst native speakers, most people aren't even aware that it's happening. But I've never had actual pronunciation lessons or anything. Pronouncing the n really only makes it sound less natural. I think it mostly depends on how spontaneous the speech is, if you know what I mean. When reading something from paper, people are more likely to pronounce the n's, no matter the register. And in formal speech, people are more aware of what they're saying and how they're saying it, so they pronounce things more clearly, so the n's show up more often too. But it's not something people do on purpose, I think. (if anyone has different experiences, please share :) )

Sorridom wrote:Finally, is the uvular <r> predominant among Hollandic speakers especially? Is the alveolar still taken to be the standard, or is that now old-fashioned? Is either one seen as being more formal or neutral?
Holland, Utrecht, (western) Gelderland. Although there are dialects (Amsterdam dialect for example) where alveolar <r> is still the only one. What's important to know is that people don't switch when they are in a more formal situation than normal, it's either one or the other. Although it's known that uvular <r> is more common among younger people, it's not very stigmatized, it's the Gooische <r> that takes that role. But that one only affects coda r's, so it can occur with either alveolar or uvular.
When you're mimicking old-fashioned speech though it's always alveolar <r>, but then it's the whole combination of features that makes it sound old-fashioned. You could get that effect even with uvular <r>, if you do it right. :P
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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Dminor » 2011-06-03, 19:38

Two quick remarks: the fact that people are rather indifferent towards the alveolar vs. uvular r can be shown from my family: I and one of my brothers have the alveolar r, my other brother and my sister have the uvular one. My parents both have the alveolar one. Until I pointed this out to them, they weren't aware of it.

And second, I think the realization of g/ch rather is [ʀ̥]: voiceless, uvular (may also be velar though :hmm:), but a trill instead of a fricative. In fact, [X] is the one that sounds old-fashioned to me.
काव्यशास्त्रविनोदेन कालो गच्छति धीमताम् । व्यसनेन च मूर्खाणां निद्रया कलहेन वा

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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Sorridom » 2011-06-03, 20:05

Thank you! That was very helpful.


Muisje wrote:In some dialects they're completely absent, but I think most people still have them, [z] at least. They are definitely more common intervocalically, but they sometimes turn voiceless for no apparent reason. Well and of course when they're next to a voiceless consonant. :wink:


Hm, would you say that people most often devoice them at the beginning of words? In all of the sound files that I've heard, I don't think that I've ever heard [v] in the word-initial position.


Muisje wrote:Holland, Utrecht, (western) Gelderland. Although there are dialects (Amsterdam dialect for example) where alveolar <r> is still the only one. What's important to know is that people don't switch when they are in a more formal situation than normal, it's either one or the other. Although it's known that uvular <r> is more common among younger people, it's not very stigmatized, it's the Gooische <r> that takes that role. But that one only affects coda r's, so it can occur with either alveolar or uvular.
When you're mimicking old-fashioned speech though it's always alveolar <r>, but then it's the whole combination of features that makes it sound old-fashioned. You could get that effect even with uvular <r>, if you do it right. :P


So is the uvular pronunciation more common overall in those regions, or just among the younger generations? Is either one more common among newscasters, etc.? Also, are there any other major urban areas that use the alveolar one mostly?


Also, something else that came to me: How is the -tie ending usually pronounced? I have a dictionary that gives [(t)si]--so is it like -en, where the "t" is only really pronounced when reading, speaking formally, etc.?

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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Muisje » 2011-06-03, 20:35

Sorridom wrote:
Muisje wrote:In some dialects they're completely absent, but I think most people still have them, [z] at least. They are definitely more common intervocalically, but they sometimes turn voiceless for no apparent reason. Well and of course when they're next to a voiceless consonant. :wink:


Hm, would you say that people most often devoice them at the beginning of words? In all of the sound files that I've heard, I don't think that I've ever heard [v] in the word-initial position.
Yes, I think so.. Thinking about it, it might have something to do with stress. That they're more likely to be devoiced when they're starting a stressed syllable. But I'm not sure.

Sorridom wrote:So is the uvular pronunciation more common overall in those regions, or just among the younger generations? Is either one more common among newscasters, etc.? Also, are there any other major urban areas that use the alveolar one mostly?

Mostly the younger generations. Same for newscasters, it's more common among the younger ones. I don't know which one is more common overall, to be honest. As for urban areas, I'm not sure, I'm not really familiar with most city dialects. I think most in that area have uvular.

Sorridom wrote:Also, something else that came to me: How is the -tie ending usually pronounced? I have a dictionary that gives [(t)si]--so is it like -en, where the "t" is only really pronounced when reading, speaking formally, etc.?
No, pronouncing it with an [s] only is definitely colloquial. It's kind of associated with low-educated people. Although it's probably not pronounced very clearly and sometimes gets lost when speaking quickly, but that's not exactly the same as actually dropping it, I think. :P
Last edited by Muisje on 2011-06-03, 21:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Grytolle » 2011-06-03, 20:40

As long as you don't palatalize your g/ch too much (-> true zachte g), or voice it outside of intervocalic positions, it should be fine in northern Dutch. The Dutch people I know don't *always* use a I'm-gonna-spit-in-your-face sound.

Basically you have (back-> front):
Netherlandic: [X], [R](see above); [x]
Southern Netherlandic: [x], [ɣ] (but with a blurred difference, and possibly more fronted versions)
Flemish: [x][ɣ], [ç][ʝ], ([h], voiced and voiceless)



I also have a Dutch friend who says stuff like "tavel" (instead of "tafel") and "technieze" (instead of "technische) :mrgreen:

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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Muisje » 2011-06-03, 20:52

Grytolle wrote:I also have a Dutch friend who says stuff like "tavel" (instead of "tafel") and "technieze" (instead of "technische) :mrgreen:
Really? I mean, like, always? I've heard people say things like that (and I'm afraid have done it myself too) but only as a mistake really. It sounds funny to me :P
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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Grytolle » 2011-06-03, 20:54

Muisje wrote:
Grytolle wrote:I also have a Dutch friend who says stuff like "tavel" (instead of "tafel") and "technieze" (instead of "technische) :mrgreen:
Really? I mean, like, always? I've heard people say things like that (and I'm afraid have done it myself too) but only as a mistake really. It sounds funny to me :P

Probably not always, no. But in the case of -ieze, he found it hard to pronounce it with s at all

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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Sorridom » 2011-06-03, 21:07

Muisje wrote:Yes, I think so.. Thinking about it, it might have something to do with stress. That they're more likely to be devoiced when they're starting a stressed syllable. But I'm not sure. I think most in that area have uvular.


Ah, okay. Does this go equally for [z]? (Initial [z] has seemed to be more common to me . . .)


Also, would people more often than not voice the <g> in logen, to distinguish it from loochen? (And, just to be clear, this would never be a [ɣ]--and always a [ʁ]--right?)


Finally, just going back to the -en for a moment . . . Would the <n> be more likely to be pronounced in casual speech if followed by a vowel, or no (as with "kijken en luisteren")?

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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Muisje » 2011-06-03, 21:17

Sorridom wrote:Ah, okay. Does this go equally for [z]? (Initial [z] has seemed to be more common to me . . .)
I think so, but [z] is on the whole more common than [v].

Sorridom wrote:Also, would people more often than not voice the <g> in logen, to distinguish it from loochen? (And, just to be clear, this would never be a [ɣ]--and always a [ʁ]--right?)
No, logen and loochen are homophones in northern Dutch. The voiced (or trilled, whichever it is) version shows up randomly (afaik) and unconsciously, 'normal' people aren't even aware of it. Also, we northerners usually can't really hear the difference between [x] and [ɣ] that southerners make :P

Sorridom wrote:Finally, just going back to the -en for a moment . . . Would the <n> be more likely to be pronounced in casual speech if followed by a vowel, or no (as with "kijken en luisteren")?
More likely, yes, but not necesserily. Both sound equally normal to me. :)
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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Sorridom » 2011-06-03, 21:33

Muisje wrote:I think so, but [z] is on the whole more common than [v].


Do you mean that there are more people whose "z's" remain voiced (in both initial and intervocalic positions), or that there are more words/situations in which it stays voiced?

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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Muisje » 2011-06-03, 22:33

Sorridom wrote:
Muisje wrote:I think so, but [z] is on the whole more common than [v].


Do you mean that there are more people whose "z's" remain voiced (in both initial and intervocalic positions), or that there are more words/situations in which it stays voiced?
I meant the first one. But there might be more words that have a z too, I'm not sure. (there seems to be a lot I'm not sure of in this thread :P )
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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Sorridom » 2011-06-04, 14:28

Okay--thank you very much! :D

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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2011-06-06, 7:52

Sorridom wrote:
Finally, just going back to the -en for a moment . . . Would the <n> be more likely to be pronounced in casual speech if followed by a vowel, or no (as with "kijken en luisteren")?


Yes, I think so. But, if we're talking about Dutch as it's used in the media, standard Hollandic, I think you can easily skip this -n at any time. Most people in the Netherlands almost never use this '-n', only when they live in the north or east, and in an example as above. You will sound like someone from Groningen when you are using the -n. I don't agree with Muisje, who wrote:

"When reading something from paper, people are more likely to pronounce the n's, no matter the register."


I think most people will skip the -n's when they are reading. Only the people who barely can read will pronounce them, like they will also suddenly say 'het' with an 'e' in stead of a sjwa. No one pronounces it like that when they speak normally.
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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Muisje » 2011-06-06, 18:47

Vogelvrij wrote:I think most people will skip the -n's when they are reading. Only the people who barely can read will pronounce them, like they will also suddenly say 'het' with an 'e' in stead of a sjwa. No one pronounces it like that when they speak normally.
I do notice it often when I hear people reading out loud, but it differs, some people don't do it at all. Maybe I just notice it more when they do it :P
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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Grytolle » 2011-06-06, 19:08

Muisje wrote:
Vogelvrij wrote:I think most people will skip the -n's when they are reading. Only the people who barely can read will pronounce them, like they will also suddenly say 'het' with an 'e' in stead of a sjwa. No one pronounces it like that when they speak normally.
I do notice it often when I hear people reading out loud, but it differs, some people don't do it at all. Maybe I just notice it more when they do it :P

Over here people skip the n's where they wouldn't normally (before vowels) when they read

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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2011-06-07, 7:27

Grytolle wrote:
Muisje wrote:
Vogelvrij wrote:I think most people will skip the -n's when they are reading. Only the people who barely can read will pronounce them, like they will also suddenly say 'het' with an 'e' in stead of a sjwa. No one pronounces it like that when they speak normally.
I do notice it often when I hear people reading out loud, but it differs, some people don't do it at all. Maybe I just notice it more when they do it :P

Over here people skip the n's where they wouldn't normally (before vowels) when they read

Yes, I didn't include Belgium in my answer, I think the situation is very different there... But Muisje, you are from Gelderland, don't you think people tend to pronounce more -n's there anyway, or were you also talking about people from Holland?
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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Muisje » 2011-06-07, 8:43

Vogelvrij wrote:But Muisje, you are from Gelderland, don't you think people tend to pronounce more -n's there anyway, or were you also talking about people from Holland?
Maybe.. not everyone I know is from Gelderland but I don't know a lot of people from Holland, that's true. But I'm really talking about people who don't pronounce the n's in their regular speech, or at least less so. I'll go pay a bit more systematic attention to it, actually count them. :wink:
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Re: Pronunciation questions . . .

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2011-06-07, 11:51

Muisje wrote:
Vogelvrij wrote:But Muisje, you are from Gelderland, don't you think people tend to pronounce more -n's there anyway, or were you also talking about people from Holland?
Maybe.. not everyone I know is from Gelderland but I don't know a lot of people from Holland, that's true. But I'm really talking about people who don't pronounce the n's in their regular speech, or at least less so. I'll go pay a bit more systematic attention to it, actually count them. :wink:


Yes, that would be great & interesting. I'm not even sure when and if I pronounce -n's when I read aloud.
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