Afrikaans/Pronunciation

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Afrikaans1.jpg

Afrikaans uses the same alphabet as English. Notable differences include diacritics on the letters (like ê), while certain letters, such as c, exist but are infrequently used.

You'll soon find Afrikaans has a very phonetic (phonemic) spelling; that is, unlike in English, French or even its parent language Dutch, Afrikaans words are almost always spelled the way they sound.

This chart uses IPA - the international phonetic alphabet to show the exact Afrikaans pronunciation. You can read more about it here. The English words are only an approximate guide. Afrikaans pronunciation can be a bit tricky for English speakers because the language has quite a few sounds that don't exist in English. The best way to learn is to listen to native Afrikaans speakers. You can listen to streaming Afrikaans radio here and hear Afrikaans sound recordings at this site.

Letter IPA English Approximation Example Word
a ʌ, a, ɑː plus, jump, awesome kap
aa ɑː awesome daad
aai aːɪ why laai
ai thai baie
au ou goat auditorium
b b, p (final position) bat, mapp bevat
ch x loch chemie
c s (before e, i, and y), k sun, kick Celsius
d d, t (final position) dark, hat daar
dj c no English approximation djihad
e ɛ, iˑǝ, ə, æ bed, erie, about, cat bed
ê ɛː (final position), æ hair, cat
ee iˑe eerie een
eeu iːu east + took leeu
ei əi play seil
ey əi play ceylon
eu øː few euforie
f f fox familie
g x, g, ç loch, golf, hue geld
gh g, k (final position) golf, kick gholf
h h high hoe
i i, ə see, about idee
i.e. i see dankie
j j yes ja
k k kick kat
l l let lughawe
m m mall maak
n n, ŋ (before c, k, q, and x) nice, sing van
ng ŋ sing vang
ns the n is silent, and the previous vowel is nasalized no English approximation Afrikaans
o ɔ, oˑǝ bog, wisdom obligasie
ô ɔ cause môre
oe u loot voet
oei uiː phooey koei
oi oj row + yes boikot
oo uˑo loot soom
ooi ɔiː oil strooi
ou ɔʊ tow mou
p p map paar
r ɾ very rooi
s s sun sein
sj ʃ shin sjoe
t t top taal
tj tʃ (initial position), kj top + shin, kick + yes tjek
u ɵ urn uit
uu y breed duur
û œː no English approximation brûe
ui œy play lui
uy œy urn + east ly
v f fox voël
w v, w (after consonant) visit, winter water
y əi play ys
z z zulu zirkonium


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