Learning a new language is though. It is certainly easier for some than for others and there are countless of variables that will change your experience. For the past three years, I have been learning Dutch, which has been quite of a rollercoaster.
In this post, I want to sort of reflect on how the learning process has been and what I’m doing to improve it, and, hopefully, accelerate it. In the beginning, I started with Duolingo and aso having some classes at the university.
The university offered free Dutch courses, so why not taking them? I think they were okay-ish. Maybe the fact that it was only one hour per week or the fact that it was online didn’t make it feel incredible useful. Nevertheless, they were extremely useful as an introduction to the language.
I’ve also recently finished Duolingo’s Dutch course. I know Duolingo is not usually regarded as the best and there’s way too many memes of Ik ben een appel. However, after the first introductory sessions, I think Duolingo is quite good at introducing a lot of new vocabulary for different topics.
Most recently, what I have been doing more often is to consume more content in Dutch. I have already watched a few series, such as Anne+ and Dirty Lines. Now I’m trying to watch Luizen Moeders. I have also read Minoes and some other basic books.
I think books is quite hard to make a consistent habit out of for me, so I’m trying to read more news and comic books. I have even subscribed to NRC and to Donald Duck (comic books). In addition, podcasts have been quite helpful. At the moment, Een Beetje Nederlands is mijn favorite, but there are many others.
Practice! Practicing by talking is very important and, even though I live in The Netherlands, I find that the hardest. I think a lot of foreigners have a similar experience, including those with Dutch partners. Nowadays I always try to speak Dutch in stores, cafés, restaurants, or any other place where a little interaction might be necessary. I also try practicing with my partner, but that doesn’t always last very long.
Something that I want to try is to write more in Dutch, but where? I could write in my little notebook, or something just for myself, but I feel like if it’s something to publish online, I would force myself to ensure that things actually make sense. My fear of making mistakes in public is the worst part in all of this. That’s something I have to work on.
2023-10-19: I had forgotten, but also listen to music, whether or not it is passive or active listening. It will help you nevertheless. I have this Spotify playlist in Dutch that I frequently listen to, and sometimes I find myself singing those songs.
Finally, I am joining new classes. In. Person. I did an intake exam and I was placed on an A2+ course. I chose the one with two classes per week, so I expect it to be quite intensive. Starting in less than two weeks from now! Wish me luck! I also want to add a special thanks to Sebastiaan for answering to too many of my language-related questions.