Dutch Language Blog

The Super Scary Dutch G Posted by on Oct 17, 2015 in Dutch Language

If you are learning Dutch at the moment, you are undoubtedly trying to pronounce the words too – and one thing I found many people find very difficult is the pronounciation of the letter G in most cases. Now, I am referring to the Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands (ABN), in which the G is not soft.

Gezellig een broodje eten op het terras! (Image by David van der Mark at Flickr.com)

Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands, or ABN is pronounced like this, by the way:

For example, how do you say the word gezicht (face)?

Well, so how do you get this right? It depends – if you just want to say the capital letter G, it sounds like this:

It is pretty much the same sound you would get if you gurgle without water, or the sound you make just before you spit. Just the gross things you could do with your throat, really, that is what is the right kind of sound of the g.

You have to open your mouth well, and forget about your vocal chords. They don’t have any job in the pronunciation of the g!

So you are left with this sound – and that is what you want. Now add the other letters of the word, and you are fine.

As for the chsch, and when there is an right after it, as in for example schik (fun) or schrik (scare), they basically have the same sound, just a little “lighter”. The r makes it a bit longer, or creates a sort of “transition” to the other letters in the word.

This is how you pronounce schik

and this is how you pronounce schrik

Do you hear the difference?


The most important word of all unfortunately has 2 of these g in it, but you can get your head around it, I am sure:

Anyways, you might think now that this is a lot of work – but you will manage! Oefening baart kunst! (Practice makes perfect).

Good luck!

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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. Bill (Papa Van Twee):

    I’ve been with my wife for 15 years now, so the G is nothing to me (88 space heaters? No problem!) But subtle stuff like the “ui” I still can’t do easily. I wanna say “ow” instead of the smooth”ah-w-oo” I should. Also “oe” is not “oo”…. agghhhhhhh!

  2. Marie-Jacqueline:

    Yes, the ABN-G. I am Dutch living in the Province Limburg. We are not, including Province North-Brabant, in de business of this G.
    Our G is much softer in my opinion sounds much better.
    LOL: It is also much better for your throat. Also you don’t have to practice the examples you give to aquire the hard G.

    It is a pity that the rest of the Netherlands don’t accept the soft G.

    This does me think about Rowen Heze, the band from America in North-Limburg. They have big success in the country and beyond with their songs in the local dialect. I refer to the hit they had, among many others:
    Het is ein kwestie van geluk, te wachten op den daag det heel Holland Limburg lult!
    In Dutch this means:
    Het is een kwestie van geluk te wachten op de dag dat heel Holland Limburg praat.
    Which in English means:
    It is a (kwestie?) of luck waiting for the day that the whole of Holland speaks Limburgish.

    You might have noticed that the name Holland is used, not the Netherlands.
    The reason is that, as we say, those above the rivers are Hollanders and they live above the Moerdijk. The term Hollanders is not used as a compliment. It represents the not that good relations between those above the Moerdijk and below for several centuries.