Take this step and speak Dutch now!

16 October 2012, by

Wouldn’t life be a lot more fun if you could communicate with everyone around you? Sounds good, but you must first ask the question: Is your mind open enough to accept it?

As a language coach, I have met many, many people who "want" to speak Dutch, but only a few of them actually succeed in doing so. So, what stops most people from embracing the Dutch language and fully enjoying their new life in the Netherlands?

The myth
"I should be able to automatically pick up the language." This is what most internationals believe, but unfortunately it is only partially true. Indeed, before you know it, you will be able to understand and use simple words or phrases such as alsjeblieft, doei!, tot ziens, ik heb een fiets, goede morgen etc. Seems like the rest of the language will just follow, right? I’m afraid that in most cases it won’t.

It is logical that there are many basic terms and expressions that you will naturally pick up in the beginning. For example, greetings and food-related words are easy to remember simply because you use them frequently and their context is clear. But what about the rest?

Like a child
As we all know, children learn fast - they are "learning machines" that absorb information by experience and association: they see something, they touch it; they hear it, they memorise it. It is a natural, and above all, a fun process. The same applies to adults, but the main difference is that children keep (by default) an open mind, whereas most adults don’t!

Memorising & studying hard is not the answer
So, you can "use" a few dozen words and sentences (especially those that resemble ones in the English language) and indeed, your life will be a little bit better. But what comes next? You can spend hours studying or memorising, but do you think this is the best or most enjoyable way to go?

Why don’t you just open your mind? Why don’t you allow yourself to be more receptive and "play" with the Dutch language?

Here is an example:
Waar is mijn paspoort? Ik zie mijn paspoort niet! Aha! Mijn paspoort is onder het bed...
Where is my passport? I see my passport not (I don’t see my passport). Aha! My passport is under the bed...

Is it difficult to "decode" these sentences? Not really. Is it more natural and fun? Absolutely!

blue eyes woman
Photo by Flickr user liquene

How to save time (and money)
I know that for many people, memorising was the "answer" back in the days. You spent hours cramming, and that earned you a (high school / university) degree. But do you have the time (and the resources) to do that today?

Stretching your mind will cost you some energy in the beginning - that’s why people often try to avoid it. But once you get the hang of it, imagine how many hours of studying this will save you down the line!

I realise that the vast majority of people out there do not like change - our minds hold on tight to the things we already know. But staying on "automatic pilot" will not get you anywhere, especially when it comes to new languages.

The smartest thing to do
It is difficult to adapt one's outlook, and many people give up very quickly. But as Einstein stated, once a mind expands with a new idea, it can never go back to the old state again. So open your mind to new ideas - it is by far the most natural and easiest way to learn.

Play with the language and allow yourself to have fun. Great Dutch is one attitude change away, so why wait any longer? Just go for it!

Albert Both is a specialist on learning Dutch fast and gaining Dutch fluency while having fun.
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 or simply comment below for inquiries / remarks. All free of charge!

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Comments arranged by date (Total 2 comments)  
October 16 2012, 02:47PM

Dear Albert,

I couldn't agree with you more!

When language learning is approached as something fun and as something you do alongside other things in your dalily life, progress will be made much more easily. Although I feel that some sort knowledge of language structure might help to further build one's language skills, this should never determine the main part of any language learning programme. In fact, most of the learning takes place outside class rooms, without course books, and not along any of the structured ways courses and course books make us want to believe anyway.

What I would like to add to your plea for playful and quick Dutch language learning is that most effective language learning will also take place when leanrners' goals are directly met. What's the use of learning how to communicate in the school environment of your children, when you are single and desperately looking for a job? Effective language learning is language learning that makes sense to one's context.

So, added to creating a new attitude to learning Dutch, by playing with the language and opening yourself up to a real-life-learning-experience, I would say that having your language needs directly met is the third important key factor in successful rapid langugage learning.

October 17 2012, 01:06PM

Yes Enigma! Great words! You will learn so much faster if you can talk about the things that you love from the very first start!


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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