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Please note that the Dutch 'a', 'e' and 'i' are pronounced quite different
from the English way ...
The 'y' is a bit confusing in Dutch. The sound we use when spelling 'y'
is the way 'ei' and 'ij' are pronounced in words like 'tijd' and 'leiden'(sounds
the same as 'lijden'). The 'y' in 'imported' words like 'gymnastiek' or
'cylinder' is the same sound as the Dutch 'i'or 'ie' in 'real Dutch' words.
When spelling words in Dutch, it is common to mention 'y' as'Griekse
y', 'ij' as 'lange ij' and 'ei' as 'korte ei'.
About sounds in Dutch
Vowels are represented by the way they are usualy written. The sound
written as 'a', for example, represents the sound of the dark and short
version of this vowel (like in man) and 'aa' represents the clear
and longer version (like in maan). Nevertheless the 'aa' sound is
written as a singel a when it stands at the end of a word or syllable
(like in ma-nen). This works for all vowels except the e at
theend of a word (see ':' for the pronounciation of a single e).
To make this as clear as possible, I write it like this:
'a' - this is the representation of the sound
('aa': ...) means that sometimes a singel [a] is pronounced as 'aa'
[a] - means that sometimes the sound 'aa' is written as a single
To prevent the dark/short version of a vowel (like man)
from arriving at the end of a syllable (especially in plurals), the consonant
that follows mostly has to be doubled. So the plural of man is not
manen (syllables would be ma-nen, so the a would become a clear/long
sound) but mannen (syllables are man-nen).