3 great ways to waste your time while learning Dutch

14 October 2014, by

There is one very disagreeable thing about learning and speaking a new language: it takes time.

You could easily say that the first challenge you’ll encounter when speaking Dutch is finding, or creating, the time. This is not always easy, and here’s the annoying thing: even if you find the time, chances are high that you’ll waste it.

What not to do

Here are the top three things to avoid if you want to learn Dutch fast. Why wait, if you can have great results right now?

1. Learn Dutch after work

This is time waster Number One, mainly because initially it seems like such a big time saver, at least in theory. Just go to work and then, before going home, you can also grab a great amount of Dutch at an evening course. Logical, right?

Unfortunately the opposite is true. Try to learn Dutch after work and you can be sure of one thing: you will waste a lot of time.

Check it yourself: how do you feel after work? Energised or tired? The fact is, to learn a new language you need to familiarise yourself with a whole new way of thinking. If you feel mentally alert than you can absorb new information fast. But if you already feel tired, then you probably won’t learn that much.

There is also another risk. You may start to think that you are not gifted in languages, because your learning is so slow.

Luckily there is one simple thing that you can do. Take a couple of days off from work (if you can) and start learning during the daytime, maybe with an intensive course. You’ll notice a radical difference immediately.

2. Follow explanations in Dutch

Here’s a great myth: if you follow grammatical explanations in Dutch, it will help you familiarise yourself with the language and you‘ll learn faster. Teachers certainly believe this.

But if you think about it, it doesn’t make sense. How can you follow an explanation about grammar if you don’t understand it in the first place?

On top of that, you will hear outlandish linguistic terms that even Dutch people find difficult to understand, such as nevenschikkend voegwoord (coordinating conjunction) and naamwoordelijk deel van het gezegde (nominal part of the phrase).

It’s already easy to predict the outcome: you will feel uncertain about many things, your learning will slow down and you’ll constantly feel like you’re missing things.

This calls for radical action! Does your book explain Dutch grammar in Dutch? Then throw it away immediately!

Don’t waste time listening to long commentaries in Dutch that you don’t understand. All you need is some clarity, in plain English, explained in a logical way. Then you can grasp grammar concepts within a couple of minutes.

Only then can you move forward at a faster pace and start to enjoy the language.

3. Converse with your fellow students in Dutch

This teaching method is so ridiculous that it definitively deserves a place in the top three greatest time wasters. By the way, most teachers love it, certainly if they teach bigger groups.

waste time learning dutch

It goes like this: your teacher asks you to have a conversation with the person sitting next to you in Dutch. Sure, it sounds like a great idea. Now you can practice your Dutch, right?

Here’s the problem. While "practicing" with your neighbour you have no idea about what you’re saying. Is it correct? Is it wrong? In most cases your teacher will be on the other side of the room, so there is no one to correct you.

You probably already feel that this exercise is completely senseless and, on top of that, you might even pick up some incorrect speaking habits from your classmates.

Ask your teacher to listen in on your conversation with other students, or ask native Dutch-speakers to correct you when talking to them.

Use your time wisely

So there you have it: the three greatest ways to waste your time while speaking Dutch and how to avoid them.

One more tip: if you really want to speak Dutch, then make fast learning an absolute priority. This is simply because if you learn quickly, you‘ll enjoy it more, and if you enjoy it more, then you‘ll learn even faster!

If you are learning Dutch already, then congratulations! It means you have already decided to dedicate time to the language. Now you just need to use it wisely and many great things can happen. Succes!

Albert Both is a specialist in learning Dutch fast while having fun. Download his e-book "3 Steps to Dutch flow" for free!

speak learn dutch

Download his e-book "Why You Hate Learning Dutch and 7 Secrets to Change It"
Join his workshop "Finding Dutch Flow, How to Open The Flood Gate to Dutch Fluency"
Visit his website Talencoach.nl or simply comment below for inquiries / remarks.
Check out his videos on his YouTube channel

All free of charge!

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Comments arranged by date (Total 8 comments)  
October 14 2014, 07:53AM

Yeah in the best of all possible worlds we'd learn Dutch like you say. In this world, though, we work in pairs, we waste some time, and the book is in Dutch. And this works too :)

October 23 2014, 01:50AM

Misschien, volgende keer, je mag intikken jouw commentaar in het Nederlands zodat we kun jouw superioriteit zien? Of Duits? Of Frans. (Sinds dit advies is duidelijk niet voor jij!)

October 14 2014, 10:25AM

Isn't making a ridiculous caricature of your fellow teachers, a very cheap (free, or did the author pay?) marketing trick?
Don't be scared people, there are many good professional teachers teaching Dutch in small groups or private lessons, after work, not grammar focused, using good books. Not as fast as one might wish, but you're getting there.

October 16 2014, 09:03AM

Hi Maurom! You are right, there are many great teachers and luckily there are many different books out there.... You can take whatever feels good for you and you can also combine...
This article is about learning Dutch fast, and yes, if this is what people like to do then there, are a couple of things that you have to do differently... This is only an option of course, but... it is the way that I personally like best! It is always good to have a choice, right?

October 16 2014, 03:37PM

The three items mentioned above are exactly the reasons why I quit a Dutch course recently. It was in the evening after my daily tiring work, the teacher was explaining everything in Dutch where we did not understand and she was letting us make groups where she wanted us to practise and I hated all!

October 23 2014, 01:45AM

I have to agree with you, Baris. Lorenzo obviously learns differently from me, but I found this article to be SPOT ON! I am guilty of all three. I got so discouraged that I stopped speaking Dutch at all. And am really out-of-pocket for it, too!

October 16 2014, 03:45PM

My German teacher never explained anything in English to the class and we were able to work this out. I wish this happened with Dutch now, as mixing 2 languages is slowing us down IMO.

October 23 2014, 08:11AM

@GloriaMkushi sure, as soon as I'm able to speak some Dutch we'll have a chat, yeah? :)

About the Author
Albert Both

I help with an approach of learning Dutch that is completely different from any other language cours...



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