Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Aandacht! Politie!

During a pleasant stroll through Brussels with a friend and a slow mooch around some cafés in St. Géry (in Dutch Sint-Gorikseiland) we marvelled at how where we walked there was once marshland and, later, a series of rivers and streams. Among our conversation we touched on the multi-lingual aspect of Brussels' life and my friend posed me a question concerning the pronunciation of '-tie' in Dutch. Ah yes! To English speakers this indicates a hard sounding 'T' and I myself was disconcerted when I realised that this has a soft sound in Dutch and is much more like an 'S'.

For example, police in Dutch is 'politie' but this is not pronounced /po'liti/ (with a hard 'T') but rather /po'litsi/ or softer even /po'lisi/.

Likewise the word 'Attentie' or attention (synonym of aandacht) is pronounced /a'ten'si/ with a soft 'si' ending. This, of course much like the similar word 'attention' in English; we don't pronounce the '-tion' exactly as the spelling of it might indicate. Instead we also employ a softer '-shun' ending.

Food for thought about pronunciation.

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