Dutch: difference between "w" and "v"

Discussion in 'Nederlands (Dutch)' started by българин, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. българин Senior Member

    What is the difference in pronunciation in "w" and "v" in Dutch?? Or is it the same??
  2. Qcumber Senior Member

    UK English
    As far as I remember, <w> is pronounced [v] in words like wind [wInt] "wind", and [v] in words like wrak [vrak] "wreck".
    <v> is pronounced [v], e.g. vlees [vles] "flesh".
  3. optimistique Senior Member

    It's certainly not the same. You can distinguish meaning with these sounds ("waar" = "where", "vaar" = "sail").
    "v" is pronounced as, I guess, a normal [v] (same as in French and English for example).
    In the combination "wr-", as Qcumber has said, the "w" is also pronounced as [v].
    The "w" itself, however, is pronounced (more or less) like an English "w", only without rounding the lips. Instead you sort of pull your lowerlip from your upperlip (so your upperlip doesn't really move for the pronunciation).
  4. Abu Bishr Senior Member

    Afrikaans, South Africa
    Hi Guys

    In Afrikaans, which is derived from Dutch, the [w] in "waar" is pronounced like the English [v] in "very", and the [v] in "vaar" is pronounced like the English [f] in "fare" & "fair".

    An even better example is the English "vat" & "fat" for the pronunciation of the Dutch "[w] & [v] respectively.

    On the other hand, [v] & [f] are pronounced practically the same in Afrikaans, and I would assume Dutch as well, except that [v] is not used at the end of the word, and [f] mostly at the end of the word, to the best of my knowledge. Thus, in Afrikaans, [v] in "vier" (four) is pronounced the same as the [f] in "fees" (feast) like "Kersfees" (Christmas), or the [f] in "dief" (thief).
  5. optimistique Senior Member

    It may be true for Afrikaans (I didn't know you pronounce your 'w' as a 'v', it is common too in a lot of regions the Netherlands to pronounce the 'v' as an 'f', but it's not standard), but for Dutch, I don't agree.

    The Dutch /w/ is not pronounced as the /v/ in "very".
    Say the English 'to others' very quickly and let there be no pause between the words, no stop, but sort of bind them together. The sound you get then between the two words, is the way the Dutch /w/ is pronounced (and that's not a 'v').
  6. българин Senior Member

    Let me see if I understood it correctly. So, you need to pucker your lips and make a round opening with your lips (sort of like giving a kiss but with open lips) and try to make a "v" sound? Then move your lower lip down from your upper. Is this correct? The sound sounds like a mix betwen "u" and "v".... right?

    But, when I hear the word "Zweden" for example, it sounds like a "v" to me? Are there any exceptions to the schwa ?
  7. българин Senior Member

    Ok, I think I was wrong in my previous post. So, is this the correct pronunciation then>> the same lip movement as pronouncing a "v" except that you don't blow out as much air?
  8. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    The "w" of standard Dutch is a labiodental approximant. Can you think of a cross between English "b", "v", and "w"? That's it! ;)
  9. Frank06

    Frank06 Senior Member

    Nederlands / Dutch (Belgium)
    The pronunciation is not the same, as pointed out by other members.
    I searched for some sound samples and IPA-stuff: Here (at the bottom of this page you find some other addresses), here and here.
    The samples are from Dutch speakers from the Netherlands. In Flanders, v and w is pronounced in a markedly different way.


  10. optimistique Senior Member

    Maybe I confused you more than I helped with my tentatives of explaining how to pronounce a 'w' :eek:

    But here I found a soundfile with a 'w' (thanks to Frank's links), click on the file 'wie bent u'. The voice is a bit robotic, but the 'w' is good: www.learndutch.org/Dutch/Dutch.html

    There's a 'v' in Goedenavond for comparison.
  11. българин Senior Member

    Thank you for your eagerness to help. I think I finally got it! "V" is pronounced with the lips puckered forward (like giving a kiss, sort of) and "w" is made by pressing your lower teeth against your upper lip. yes, goedenavond has a v but I mostly hear it as an f......lol, I guess everyone just speaks the way they like.
  12. Matthewflanders New Member

    Dutch (Flemish), Belgium
    Ok, I'll give it a try too.

    V is always pronounced like the English v
    In Flanders: W is 99% of the time pronounced like the English w, except when an r follows, then and only then it is pronounced like V

    In The Netherlands: the w tends to shift to v but it's still different. You can compare it to the German w. But, not all Dutch people use it in this way, some people pronounce like the Flemish too.
  13. Joannes Senior Member

    Belgian Dutch
    Both factors come into account :).

    In Dutch there are three possible pronunciations of <w> in writing:
    - [w] sound as in English water
    - sound, the usual pronunciation of Dutch <oe> in writing
    - [ʋ] sound, something in between English /w/ and /v/, it's an approximant like /w/, not a fricative like /v/, but your upper teeth do touch your lower lip, as is the case with /v/.

    There is at least some regional variation. In Flanders, the labiodental approximant [ʋ] is never used (other than to imitate Dutch speakers, I mean :D). I don't think there's a lot of variation in the Netherlands but I'm not sure!

    This is how <w> is pronounced in the Netherlands (please correct me if I'm wrong somewhere), keep in mind that wherever the Dutch say [ʋ], Belgians will say [w]:
    (1) initial position as in wie, waarheid, want => [ʋ]
    (2) preceded by a consonant, followed by a vowel and initial sound of the syllable => [ʋ], e.g. daadwerkelijk, evenwicht
    (3) preceded by a consonant, followed by a vowel and not the initial sound of the syllable => [w], e.g. kwart, dwalen, twist (northern speakers, please confirm, not quite sure here)
    (4) in between two vowels => [w], e.g. nieuwe, aanschouwelijk, geween,
    (5) preceded by a vowel, followed by a consonant (in spelling preceded by <u>) => , e.g. nieuwbakken, duwvaart, sneeuwman
    (6) final position (always spelled <...uw> as well) => , e.g. gauw, leeuw, ruw (not in uw, which is pronounced [y:])

    I'm not really sure how speakers from the Netherlands would pronounce <ww> in beeldhouwwerk, in Flanders it would just be ['be.lthauwɛrk].

    In any variety it is important that you keep a clear difference between the pronunciations of <w> and <v>! (So if you just can't get your [ʋ] right, you might want to consider sticking to an English /w/ to make sure you don't confuse it with /v/). A little more on that here: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=580615
  14. Grytolle Senior Member

    Swedish - Swedish
    beeldhouwwerk <- there is only one w; /ouw/ sounds the same way as /ou/

    Almost realted question: is u(w) sometimes pronounced short? [y] of [Y]

    Also, the spelling /uw/ in /eeuw/ en /ieuw/ (and /uu-uw/ > /uw/) is there to show you that you use [ɥ] instead of [w]:
    nieuwe = Flemish: [niˑɥə], Dutch: [njYˑɥə]
    leeuw = [le:ɥ]
    uwen = [yˑɥən]

    • w - Voiced labial-velar approximant
    • ɥ - Voiced labial-palatal approximant
    Assuming that Joannes is right about [w] being pronounced as before consonants (something I've totally overlooked in that case), [ɥ] would turn into [y]: [leˑybɛl]

    (of course, if we use such transcriptions, the [ə] should reasonable also be split into atleast one palatal and one velar variant)
  15. Hitchhiker Senior Member

    Washington DC USA
    With "wr" being pronounced as "vr" is this a soft Dutch v as in "vrij" or a hard French / English v as in the French word "vrai"? I notice with v preceding r, "vr" or l, "vl" that the v becomes even softer or closer to f.
  16. Joannes Senior Member

    Belgian Dutch
    I just noticed I forgot one marginal possibility:
    (7) preceded by consonant and followed by consonant, as in erwt => silent :D

    In Belgian Dutch it would be [u-w] for sure, I just wonder if in the Netherlands people would say [u-ʋ].

    <u> before <w> is always [y] -- uw 'your (formal)' is pronounced with long [y:], or [yu]

    Right, I forgot this too :):
    (8) initial position, followed by <r> => /v/

    The /v/ of <wr> is in no way different from other /v/s, to my impression. And I don't see why you would call a /v/ closer to /f/ 'softer'..
  17. Hitchhiker Senior Member

    Washington DC USA
    I have noticed in Dutch that v before r or l tends to have more of an f sound. So "wr" sounds like Dutch "vr"? To me this is a softer v than Dutch v not followed by r or l. With some Dutch speakers it sounds nearly a full f sound with no v sound at all. If "wr" has the same sound as Dutch "vr" then I now know how it sounds.

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