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Lesson Transcript

Eric: Welcome to AfrikaansPod101.com, where we study Afrikaans in a fun and educational format. This is Pronunciation Series, Lesson 1, The Pronunciation of Vowels in Afrikaans. Eric here!
Pieter: My naam is Pieter! Hello, everyone! I’m Pieter. We'll help you brush up on the Afrikaans you started learning long ago, or want to start learning today.
Eric: Thanks for being here with us. In this lesson, our focus will be the pronunciation of vowels in Afrikaans.
Pieter: And here they are! A - E - O - I - U - Y
Eric: Sounds very nice, Pieter.
Pieter: Now, some vowels might be a bit difficult to pronounce.
Eric: But we want to help all of you out there to master them!
Pieter: So this lesson will focus on proper pronunciation of Afrikaans vowels.
Eric: Please keep in mind that in this lesson, we won’t work on ALL the sounds in Afrikaans – only vowels. And listeners, we recommend you read the lesson notes while you’re listening to the lesson. They will help reinforce what we say.
Pieter: Also remember that pronouncing Afrikaans is only hard if you don’t open your mouth.
Eric: Exactly, it really makes it easier for you if you make your mouth work.
Pieter: Don't hesitate to exaggerate the width of your mouth. Like this…"AAAAAAAAAAAAAA." Wide open!
Eric: You might be in the line at the bakery or driving your convertible right now. But pay no attention to the confused looks of strangers and repeat after Pieter…
Pieter: "AAAAAAA" – "EEEEEEE"- "IIIIIII" - "OOOOOOO." “ UUUUUUU”. These should be easy to pronounce, now that your mouth is stretched...
Eric: By the way Pieter, how many vowels are there in Afrikaans?
Pieter: Six. But we’ll focus mainly on 5 of them today. The letter Y is considered either a vowel or consonant. You basically only see the letter Y as a vowel in borrowed words, which will be pronounced like the word in the original language.
Eric: Are there a lot of similarities between English and Afrikaans vowels?
Pieter: Yes, there are. Sometimes the sounds are close to German, sometimes to French and, often, very close to English
Eric: That’s helpful. Now let's start!
Pieter: The same single vowel can have a different sound depending on its use.
Eric: That's right – vowels can have a long or a short sound IN Afrikaans.
Pieter: For example, the letter A can sound like “ah” or “aaaah”
Eric: Let’s start with the single vowel short sounds.
Pieter: Good idea.
Eric: Usually, a single vowel is short when it’s followed by more than one consonant, or by a single consonant at the end of a word.
Pieter: Ok! Let’s take a look at the letters - First we have the a as in sak, S-A-K ( spell out ) which is the word sak, meaning “bag”.
Eric: This a sounds like the “a” in “father” in English. Once more, sak.
Pieter: Let’s move on to the e in spel, S-P-E-L ( spell out ) which is the word spel, and it means “game”
Eric: e sounds like the “a” in “cat”. Once more,
Pieter: spel. And next is the i in dit, D-I-T ( spell out) which is the word dit and it means “this”
Eric: i sounds like the “u” in “put”. Once more,
Pieter: dit. Next is the o as in vol, V-O-L ( spell out ) which is the word vol, and it means “full”
Eric: This o sounds like the “a” in “hall”
Pieter: Next is u as in nul, N-U-L ( spell out ) which is the word nul, and it means “zero”
Eric: u sounds like the “u” in “umbrella”
Pieter: Finally, we have y as in ys, Y-S ( spell out ) which is the word ys, meaning “ice”.
Eric: y sounds like the “i” in “rice” or “ice”. Ok, now that we’ve covered the single vowel short sounds, let’s move on to the double vowel long sounds.
Pieter: Remember listeners, the double repeating vowels AA - EE - UU - OO will ALWAYS have a long sound.
Eric: Let's have a listen to the long sounds.
Pieter: The “double a” is aaah
Eric: Right, first, open your mouth and imagine you're at the dentist and say "AAAAAA"
Pieter: While you open it though, remember to keep your mouth relaxed. "AAAA" Excellent! Isn't that fun?
Eric: Okay, now the last step is to put it in a word.
Pieter: I'll say a series of words, leaving a short silence between each one.
Eric: Listeners, your job is to repeat each word after Pieter.
Pieter: Ready? Go! maan [pause]. This means “moon”. Next, traan [pause]. This means “tear”. Next, laan [pause]. This means “lane,” “avenue”. Once more, maan, traan, laan.
Eric: Great, now let's hear what the long “e” sounds like
Pieter: Okay, now for the sound "double e." or ee. This will put a big smile on your face, everyone.
Eric: Let's have some words with the "ee" sound. Listeners, please repeat.
Pieter: We have veel [pause]. This means “many”. Then geel [pause]. This means “yellow”. Then seel [pause]. This means “soul.” Once more, veel, geel, seel.
Eric: For the next vowel sound, “double o” we have to make our mouth round.
Pieter: We have boot meaning “boat”, stoot meaning “push”, and groot meaning “big”. Once more, boot, stoot, groot.
Eric: Nice, now let’s move on to the last sound, which is made up of two letter “u’s”. We have to make our mouth into a small round circle.
Pieter: uu. Here are the examples. uur meaning “hour”, muur meaning “wall”, and duur meaning “expensive”.
Eric: So that was the double vowel long sounds. Listeners, how are you doing so far?
Pieter: We hope you’re keeping up!
Eric: Let’s move on to the single vowel long sounds. In Afrikaans, a single vowel can have different sounds – short and long.
Pieter: Hmm, that sounds a bit harder.
Eric: Yes, so now we’ll teach you two rules for when a single vowel gives a long sound.
Pieter: Rule 1 - a single vowel is usually long when it's at the end of the word.
Eric: Let's give an example. Pieter can you first spell and then say the word “YES” in Afrikaans
Pieter: It’s J-A, ja.
Eric: This word is spelled with only one A but it has a long sound. How about the word “shadow”
Pieter: That’s S-K-A-D-U, skadu.
Eric: Rule 2 – a single vowel is pronounced long when followed by a consonant and another vowel.
Pieter: so it’s vowel - consonant - vowel
Eric: How would you spell and say “schools” in Afrikaans?
Pieter: It’s S-K-O-L-E,skole
Eric: So the first vowel, O, is followed by a consonant, L, and vowel, E
Pieter: This is the reason that the O sounds long like OOOH and not short like “o”.
Eric: Okay, now let's look at another one. How would you spell and say "clothes."
Pieter: K-L-E-R-E, klere. We don’t say klere with a short e, we say klere with a long e because the first E is followed by R and then E.
Eric: I see. So that was the single vowel long sounds. Let’s now move on to the voiceless E. Listeners, the letter E has a third pronunciation.
Pieter: Right, it's a multi-talented letter. And we call this third pronunciation the 'voiceless E'.
Eric: So what does this voiceless E sound like?
Pieter: It sounds like “uh”!
Eric: Pieter, can you explain when we use the voiceless E?
Pieter: Sure. For example, we have V-R-I-E-N-D-E, vriende meaning “friends”, E-I-N-D-E, einde meaning “end” and T-E, te meaning “too.”
Eric: When else does the voiceless E rule apply?
Pieter: It also applies when the word starts with BE, GE, TE and VER. Here are some examples – bestuurder meaning “driver,” gevaar meaning “danger,” terug meaning “back,” and vertaling meaning “translation”.
Eric: Thanks Pieter, now we’ve come to our last rule for the voiceless E. It’s used when a word ends with “EN”, “ER,” or “EL.” Please say “legs”, “tasty,” and “table” in Afrikaans.
Pieter: Those would be bene, lekker, and tafel respectively.
Eric: Well done, listeners! You’ve come to the end of this lesson. Be sure to check the lesson notes for more information. Thank you for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
Pieter: Goeie dag!