Nieuws - 20 oktober 2010

Spot The 'G'


Any Indonesian can perfectly pronounce at least three Dutch words-koelkast (refrigerator), kraan (tap), and stopkontakt (electric outlet). Those three words have the same meaning and pronunciation in Dutch and in Indonesian. The real test of our pronunciation of Dutch comes when it involves the mythical 'G' sound.

After one year of studying in the Netherlands, of course I can say more than those three words. I can even handle short conversations quite smoothly. However, my Dutch friends still spot the imperfection of my 'G' sound!
In Indonesia, we pronounce 'G' like in the English word Game or Great, or like the way the Germans pronounce Guten Morgen. It's not the same in Dutch. We have this theory that our 'G' pronunciation is improving when we have a sore throat. It usually takes us some time to be able to pronounce Wageningen properly. In that case, we consider ourselves more fortunate than our friends who are studying in Groningen!
One evening after basketball training, a Dutch friend came up with a better theory. He said that everyone in the world can pronounce this mythical 'G' sound flawlessly when they are gargling-bubbling liquid in one's mouth, for example after brushing your teeth. Amazingly, people say that one of the hardest Dutch words to pronounce is gegorgeld! It has three 'G's, one in each syllable. And yes... it literally means gargled!  
Steisianasari Mileiva, MSc Development and Rural Innovation