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Friday, January 13, 2012

Learning Dutch?

As the Dutch language is Germanic with some words and the sentence structure similar to modern German. It is easier than German as Dutch grammar is much simpler, though a lot of people are scared off with the “gutteral” pronunciation!
As a native English speaker, I came to the Netherlands in 1995 after having lived in Germany for 2 ½ years. I didn't take the language too seriously at the start as I didn't know if I would remain, but after a few months I started to learn the basics - numbers, telling the time etc. Eventually I enrolled in a basic Dutch course (2 evenings per week for 6 months) at the local buurtcentrum (neighbourhood centre).
As a result of my speaking the basic Dutch I'd learned, I eventually got a job with a small Dutch company, who enrolled me in the 1 week “total immersion” course at Berlitz in Amsterdam. A few months after this, and with the help of some coaching I managed to pass the Dutch NT2 at the second attempt (Nederlands als tweede taal – Dutch as a second language)! I managed to build up my Dutch vocabulary by writing a couple of programs, English-Dutch, consisting of a vocabulary list and a program to test my knowledge. This was of great help, enabling me to pass the exams!
I've since added a lot more words and also added more languages. See JAGeZe for more information.

One thing to bear in mind for English speakers living in the Randstad, is that most Dutch people speak (some) English so it is difficult for the Dutch learner to practice. My solution was to play ignorant and pretend I didn't speak/understand much English!

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