G VS. H: Never confuse them again!

Nout is lying on a pillow and (apparently) sleeping - thought balloon with "how to pronounce the g in Dutch?"

Following up on our alphabet videos of last week, it’s time to go into depth with two letters that might be confusing for a lot of you: the G and the H. In short, the H is produced in the chest by breathing out whereas the G can be a bit more confusing. Let’s get to it.

G vs. H: SIMILAR SOUNDS?

The difference between “g” and “h” can be tricky to get right because at first listen, they seem to sound quite similar. However, if you get them wrong, it can unfortunately really affect whether you’re being understood or not. The “h” is basically the sound that you make when you breathe out. That’s it, simple as that, just don’t run out of breath when speaking!

G: SOFT AND HARD

As far as the “g” is concerned, there are two options. There’s the “g” from Flanders (the soft “g”) which you pronounce in the mouth, as if you were starting out with an aspired “k”, but then softer. The Dutch “g” from the Netherlands is pronounced in the throat and is in itself voiceless. It sounds quite harsh and it will clear your throat in no time! It’s basically the sound that you would make as if you were snoring in reverse. The “g” sound corresponds in writing to the letter “g” and the combination “ch”.

If all of this theory sounds abstract to you, I’ve got you covered and made a video to guide you through these stormy waters. If you want to practice pronounciation, check out these links:

Practice the difference between “g” and “h” yourself with this PDF.

EXERCISES & LINKS

If you want some more exercise material, check out these links:

Apps:
Uitsprekend (Flemish pronunciation, for free)
Spreek Beter (Dutch pronunciation, 1.99€)
Nederlandse spelling (mostly made for kids who are Dutch native speakers, but could also be practical for adults learning Dutch)

Websites:
Van Dale NT2 Woordenboek (usable both on the Van Dale app and online, amazing Dutch to simplified Dutch for students dictionary with pronunciation examples of each word in both Flemish and Dutch variation, a bargain for 4.99€ / year!)
Studiebazaar Uitspraakoefeningen (Flemish pronunciation, organized according to vowels, vowel & consonant combinations)
Klankbord (Dutch pronunciation)
Forvo (a free online dictionary where you can hear how regular Flemish & Dutch people would pronounce a word, also available for many, many other languages)

Books
In terms of books, check out Nu versta ik je, available in both Dutch and Flemish versions.

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