Spelling rules

Vertaalwoordenboek Nederlands Engels
Vertaalwoordenboek Nederlands Engels
Bilingual Dictionary Dutch English

There are some spelling rules that have to be observed in Dutch. They become especially important when modifying words into different forms as the spelling can change.

The first two rules rely two different types of syllable. They are:

  • Open syllable: A syllable that ends in a vowel
  • Closed syllable: A syllable that ends in a consonant.

Short vowels are always in a closed syllable. So, for example man (man, husband) is a single closed syllable, but in its plural form it is mannen (men, husbands). The extra “n” is needed to close the first syllable so the two syllables are man~nen.

Long vowels end an open syllable, but must be doubled up in a closed syllable. So, for example kool (coal) is a single closed syllable with a long vowel, it becomes kolen (coals) in the plural, the syllables are ko~len.

Words that end in the letter “f” changes to “v” and words that end in the letter “s” changes to “z” if the additional ending starts with a vowel. For example, huis (house) becomes huizen (houses), and wolf (wolf) becomes wolven (wolves).

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Colin Angus Mackay

I blog at ColinMackay.scot. I help run Scottish Developers which is a user group for software developers in Scotland.

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