Dutch Language Blog

Tweeklanken 4: oe, oei, oi, ooi Posted by on Aug 23, 2017 in Culture, Dutch Language, Dutch Vocabulary

In the past weeks, we talked about tweeklanken. Today is our last instalment with one of the least common combinations: those with an o. Let’s start!

The past posts in this series:

Tweeklanken 1: ae, ai, aai, au/ou

Tweeklanken 2: ie, ieu(w), ij/ei

Tweeklanken 3: eeu(w), ei, eu, ui


Right at the oever (riverside)

Oe is actually super common. It also has a little specialty: It sounds different than any other vowel combination. Normally, we just glide letters together, and we have the right sound. But here, that is a bit different. Oe is a combination of and e. Glide that, and it sounds more like a long oo. But it is shorter! Compare it to the German Ufer – in Dutch oever (which means riverside). The German sounds pretty much the same as the Dutch oe! Comparing it to the English oo, like “cool” and the Dutch equivalent stoer, you can hear how they are similar. The English oo is just a bit longer! Let’s go to the next one, which is not as common.


Boeien (buoys)

This one is composed of oe and i. Glide: oei! Examples where you will find it are groei (growth), boei (buoy). Interestingly, boei is very similar to the English word! There are also verbs that have a stam (root) that ends with oei, for example roeien (to row) – roeis the stam. Make sure to get that long list of vowels in roeien right!


Hoi! (hi!)

Oi! Hoi! (Hi!) You can say hi with this one. And that is about it. Oi is super rare! But it is quite an easy one: it is a combination of o and i, glide: oi! It sounds just like the English oi, as for example in oil. You will find it mostly in foreign words in Dutch, for example toilet or voiceover. Even if it is so rare, it is not bad to know! On to the last one!


Ooievaar (stork)

Ooi is more common than oi, just like ai and aai. It is a combination of oo and i. Glide that: ooi. It is for example in ooievaar (stork), gooien (to throw) or mooi (beautiful).

These are all tweeklanken! Thank you for sticking around all the way until here. Do you have questions about them? Or is it all clear? Also, did the videos help you? Let me know in the comments below!

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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. Peter Simon:

    Thank you for these instalments and the videos as well. Here, however, I have to protest: you’re saying the Dutch boei and English buoy sound similar … Well, as much as /bui/ and /bɔɪ/ are similar, about 66%, on account of the b and i/ɪ being similar, somewhat. But u and ɔ similar … please, no.
    Otherwise, nice and useful part, this too, thanks again.

    • Sten:

      @Peter Simon Thanks for the phonetics! I said “similar”, but read “somewhat similar”, sure 🙂 And you are right, u and ɔ are not the same at all, yet I find it interesting how English deals with ɔi compared to the Dutch “oei”.

      Glad you found it useful!

  2. tony:

    I look forward to you explaining consonants especially f , v , w.
    In any case thanks
    and this nederlandstalige classic: Johan Cruyff – Oei oei oei (dat was me weer een loei)

    • Sten:

      @tony I will dive into those in another post! Thanks for the suggestion and the classic. Great song! 😀