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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Welcome back to AfrikaansPod101.com. This is All About, Lesson 4, Afrikaans Pronunciation Made Easy. I’m Eric.
Pieter: Hallo, I’m Pieter.
Eric: In this lesson, we're going to share our take on Afrikaans pronunciation with you.
Pieter: Pronunciation of the Afrikaans language is often considered one of the hardest parts of learning the language, but it’s probably the most important one.
Eric: From experience, one of the best ways to get Afrikaans pronunciation down is to listen and repeat, and listen and repeat.
Pieter: Yes, just copy the sounds a native speaker makes.
Eric: Then, just like an annoying song, one day Afrikaans will get stuck in your head, and you'll be set for life!
Pieter: So make sure you repeat all the sounds I make today. That will get you on the road to speaking Afrikaans.
Eric: So first, learning about the Afrikaans alphabet is going to help make things clearer. Let's briefly review the characteristics of the Afrikaans alphabet.
Pieter: There are twenty-six letters in total in the Afrikaans alphabet.
Eric: Six vowels and 20 consonants.
Pieter: Let’s start with the vowels. They are “a, e, i, o, u, y.”
Eric: It is important to know the reading of the alphabet, because letters are often, though not always, pronounced the same way when they appear in words.
Pieter: Let’s have a look at the first three vowels, the “a,” “e,” and “i.” If we spell these vowels in Afrikaans, we would say “a, e, i”
Eric: That can be quite confusing. Let’s hear the English pronunciation followed by the Afrikaans one.
Pieter: “a” is a, “e” is e, and “i” is i. Now let’s see how we can use these in a word. The letter a in the Afrikaans word kat, or the English word “cat” is pronounced like the letter “a” in “what.” The letter e in the Afrikaans word melk, or the English word “milk” is pronounced like the letter “e” in “bell.” The letter i in the Afrikaans word sit, or the English verb “sit” is pronounced like the “a” in “about.”
Eric: We won't go through the whole alphabet in this lesson. But if you really want to sink your teeth into correct Afrikaans pronunciation, you can listen to our pronunciation series. For now, there are a few important points about Afrikaans pronunciation we need to tell our listeners.
Pieter: Yes. The first things we need to mention are Afrikaans accents.
Eric: Yes. I'm sure you're all wondering what that little line above some Afrikaans letters actually does!
Pieter: Well, as in many other languages, it indicates which syllable is stressed in a word.
Eric: And be careful, because depending on where the accent is, the meaning can change too!
Pieter: For example, sê and se are both spelled “s-e.” But the first sê has the accent and means “say”, while se without the accent is used to show possession. For example, Jan se boek means “Jan’s book.”
Eric: Let’s move on to the second point, the consonants.
Pieter: We have 20 of them and many of them sound the same as English.
Eric: That’s true, but some do sound different. For example, the letters d and b, when occurring at the end of a word, are in fact pronounced as /t/ and /p/ respectively.
Pieter: Like goed, “good” in English. The last letter, d, in the Afrikaans word, sounds like a t, goed. Another is klub, which means “club” in English. The last letter, b in the Afrikaans word, sounds like a p, klub. We can also combine consonants and they will produce different sounds. For example, the ng in the Afrikaans word piesang, which is “banana” in English.
Eric: Yeah, the “ng” sounds like the last sound in the English word “sing.” Actually that doesn't sound too difficult! Many of these sounds are used in English as well.
Pieter: Exactly. So we combined two consonants to make a new sound, and we can also combine the vowels and make new sounds.
Eric: So what combinations can we make here?
Pieter: Well, we can double the vowels. For example we use two a’s in the Afrikaans word maar, meaning “but,” or two e’s in the Afrikaans word meer, meaning “more.”
Eric : Sounds great!
Pieter: To make more combos, we can basically put any two vowels together. Like eu, oe, or ou.
Eric. Wow, there is a lot of creativity in this language! Okay, that’s it for this lesson.
Pieter: Thanks for listening!
Eric: And we’ll see you next time.
Pieter: Totsiens!