How to Pronounce the Dutch 'g'

Like the Japanese 'r' the Dutch 'g' is a very hard sound to make for people not speaking Dutch.


  1. Image titled Pronounce the Dutch 'g' Step 1
    Listen to the sound so you know when you have it right. See the Sources and Citations section below for some example recordings.
  2. Image titled Pronounce the Dutch 'g' Step 2
    Get the air moving. The Dutch 'g' is a "fricative", meaning that the air is moving past a partly constricted opening in your mouth. Other examples of fricatives in English are "f" as in "fee", "s" as in "hiss" and "th" as in "thistle".
  3. Image titled Pronounce the Dutch 'g' Step 3
    Don't let your vocal chords vibrate. This is a voiceless sound. For an example of voiced versus voiceless sounds, pronounce the word "zap" in English. The 'z' is voiced. Then pronounce the word "sap". The "s" is unvoiced. All the fricatives mentioned in the previous step are voiceless, too.
  4. Image titled Pronounce the Dutch 'g' Step 4
    Make the sound by pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth at the point where the uvula hangs down (point 9 on the chart). The sound is similar to the 'ch' in 'loch', but to the Dutch that still sounds too much like a 'k' as in 'cat', because it is made against the "velum" (point 8 on the chart), rather than the uvula. The Dutch sound is also found in German (e.g. in "Dach" = "roof")[1]
    • To pronounce the 'g' like a native Dutch speaker, you should try make a sound as if you were gargling. It may sound kind of gross, but that is generally how it's pronounced.
  5. Image titled Pronounce the Dutch 'g' Step 5
    Try saying the word 'gek' which means 'mad'. (See the sources section for a link to the audio.) The '-ek' part is pronounced exactly the same as the '-eck' part in 'check', so you would get a short gurgling sound followed by 'eck'. Or if you think the 'ch' in 'loch' works better for you it would be 'ch-eck'.
  6. Image titled Pronounce the Dutch 'g' Step 6
    Practice. This is not a usual phoneme in English, so practice using it. You'll get used to it after a while, and be able to produce it easily.


  • In the southern parts of the Netherlands and in northern Belgium they speak with a so-called 'soft g', which sounds more like the letter "h".
  • The sound comes from the very back of the roof of the mouth.
  • Try not to get drawn into a discussion which of the two ways of pronouncing the 'g' (the hard or the soft one) is the proper one. (Even while the soft one is more widely used (also in Germany, written as ch), the speakers of the hard 'g' will claim theirs is the proper one...)
  • If you grew up with Sesame Street, try laughing like Bert and Ernie. Their typical laugh is exactly like the Dutch pronounce their hard 'g'.


  • You won't come to any harm from practising this sound.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (1)

Article Info

Categories: Dutch