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The New 'Connecting N'
From the Dutch and Belgian Government Publication on The Preferred
Spelling of the Dutch Language:
'In Dutch we find lope, loopm and lopen; the standard pronunciation is lopen.'
Uit: 'Woordenlijst Nederlandse Taal' ('Het Groene Boekje'), p17:
'Het Nederlands kent lope, loopm en lopen; de standaarduitspraak is lopen.'
hear: lopen lope loopm
wij lope / wij lopen - we're walking
more lopen 'to walk'
(Dutch Government Printing Office 'Staatsdrukkerij,' Den Haag 1995
Belgian Government Printing Office 'Standaard Uitgeverij,' Antwerpen 1995)
The only person who ever criticized me in person for pronouncing the
final N's in Dutch was an American professor. Donaldson also says
"it's unnatural not to drop one's N's" (in his modestly
titled book 'Dutch.') It's a big thing for English-speaking linguists
because dropping those final N's is supposed to show the Ingwaeonic
(English and Frisian) influence on Dutch. I consider it sloppy to drop
those N's - but it's a free country. Speak as you like.
But there's nothing wrong with pronouncing the final N's. The worst you can say of it is that it sounds 'educated.' My recommendation to foreign students is to pronounce the final N's. Dropping them makes Dutch spelling less phonetic and adds an extra rule.
I myself try to pronounce all final N's in Dutch, and I recommend you
do too, but of course we live in the free world.
To students, I recommend to pronounce the final N's, because dropping them just adds another rule, it will make learning Dutch harder. You'll have to write those N's and you'll see them written, so adding another exception to the fairly phonetic pronunciation of Dutch just increases the level of difficulty.
Anyway, as Multatuli says in the Max Havelaar (1860, generally considered the greatest Dutch novel): "Don't tell someone from Amsterdam that he speaks the accent."
|correct spelling||spelling adapted to reflect pronunciation|
|De mensen praten plat.||De mense prate plat.||People talk sloppily, substandard. *|
|Wil je blijven eten? 2 3||Wil je blijve ete?||Would you like to stay for [food - usually:] dinner?|
|We hebben lopen demonstreren.||We hebbe lope demonstrere. 2 3||We have been in a protest march.|
|Dat had ik veel eerder moeten doen 2||Dat had ik veel eerder moete doen 2||I should have done that [much earlier] long ago|
|Ik heb 'm leren kennen in 't leger 2 3||Ik heb 'm lere kenne in 't leger||I came to know him in the army|
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