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September 19, 2013 / Roel

Lesson 3 – Ik spreek Nederlands


Ik ben Kees. Ik spreek al een beetje Nederlands, maar het is een moeilijke taal.


ik spreek (spreken) = I speak   irregular

al = already

een = a, an

beetje = bit

Nederlands = Dutch

maar = but

het = it

moeilijk(e) = difficult, hard

de taal = the language


How words are formed which don’t use the root

There are words which have elements within the verb conjugation which are different from the root. This has to do with the pronunciation. The root ‘spreken‘ is pronounced like ‘spreyken’ (ey like in hey and e like in e in ‘user’)

Although you write just one ‘e’, it’s pronounced like a long e, the ‘ee’. This has to do with the k. If you write kk, it’s a double k and it would be pronounced with the short ‘e‘, which is pronounced like ‘a‘ in ‘and‘. If in a word you see a vowel and after that vowel there is a double letter, you have to pronounce the short version of that vowel. ‘bellen’ means ‘to call’ and isn’t pronounced like ‘e‘ in spreken, but with the short ‘e‘ which sounds like the ‘a‘ in ‘and‘, because you see ll there and not l, which means that you use the short pronunciation.

Now let’s look at the verb ‘spreken’. When we say ‘I speak‘, we write ‘ik spreek‘, because if we would write ‘ik sprek‘ there would be a wrong pronunciation. The long ‘e‘ needs to be retained, so we write the double ‘e‘.

We write ‘ik spreek‘, ‘jij spreekt‘, ‘hij spreekt‘. Now let’s look at the plural forms, they contain the double ‘e‘, wij spreken, jullie spreken, zij spreken. This is because there is one k, and if there is one k and this k is immediately succeeded by another vowel, this means that we have to use the long pronunciation. The same for the verb ‘praten‘ (to talk), after the t there is an ‘e’ and not a consonant, so we have to use the long ‘a’.

verbs with a root-change:




ik spreek

jij spreekt

hij/zij/het spreekt

wij spreken

jullie spreken

zij spreken


In Dutch you have 2 defite articles, de and het. The indefinite article is een, which is always the same and because of this not hard to use. There aren’t rules about when to use de and het, you just have to learn them all, which is why you will always see which article you have to use in the vocabulary section.


bellen = to call

praten = to talk

Vocabulary: 11 new words = 31 words


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