Learning Dutch

"Learning Dutch has certainly made my life a little easier, especially when interacting with locals or reading signs in Dutch."
Posted by Aurelia
From Indonesia
Photo of a bookstore in the Netherlands

Hi! My name is Aurellia, I am a master’s student in Neuropsychology at Maastricht University. As someone currently living in the Netherlands, learning Dutch has certainly made my life a little easier, especially when interacting with locals or reading signs in Dutch. You may also need it if you’re searching for a job or internship. So here are a few tips that could help:

1. Read children’s books in Dutch

Children’s books contain simple sentences and helpful vocabulary for people at the beginner level. My advice is to read stories you are familiar with in Dutch. As an example, Little Red Riding Hood or Roodkapje. Already knowing the story and the characters help with making associations between Dutch and the language you know. However, if you prefer reading children’s stories by Dutch authors, then some examples would be Pluk van de Petteflet (Tow-Truck Pluck) and the Jip en Janneke (Jip and Janneke) series, both by Annie M. G. Schmidt, a famous Dutch writer.

2. Change your phone settings to Dutch

I do this on my phone and it’s quite useful to pick up words in Dutch. It may be a bit tricky adjusting at first, but I try to translate words I’m not familiar with and I use the icons on my phone as hints as to what the words could mean. Additionally, when you change your phone’s language setting, the language on your social media apps could change as well. For example, on Twitter, when you change the language setting on the app, it would show tweets in Dutch and trending topics in the Netherlands. You can use this to learn how people communicate with each other on a day-to-day basis, since social media language tend to be more casual.

3. Find a language-learning partner

Having a language-learning partner could motivate you to learn Dutch. If they are native Dutch speakers, then they could help with pronunciation and more casual dialogue. Alternatively, there are many apps out there that offer language learning exchange. You can chat and make friends while learning the language as well. However, it is important to be careful when giving out information about yourself and please be mindful of people on the internet.

4. Watch Dutch YouTube Channels

Many Dutch YouTube Channels make videos about the Dutch language and culture in general. They usually have skits, interviews with locals, grammar and vocabulary lessons, and Dutch phrases that could be useful to get around. Some channels I know are Dutchies to be - Learn Dutch with Kim, Easy Dutch, and Learn Dutch with Bart de Pau. You can also find Dutch channels that focuses on topics and hobbies you are interested in (i.e., health and wellness, movies, gaming, comedy).

5. Journaling in Dutch

You can write some basic sentences about your day; with the words you know. This method familiarises you with writing in Dutch and how sentences are structured. It could provide a relaxing pastime as well.

I hope some of these tips are helpful. The key takeaway is that you can incorporate Dutch into your daily life. Don’t forget it takes time to learn a language and finding a method you are comfortable with is important. Good luck!

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