Why speaking fluent Dutch in 2023 might not be such a crazy idea
It’s that time again: one year is about to finish and a new year is about to begin. Many people see the new year as an opportunity to start fresh and accomplish new goals. If you’re wondering what goal to set for 2023, Albert Both from Talencoach suggests putting “Learning Dutch” as one of your New Year’s resolutions.
Yes, it’s that time of the year again! You may have been wondering what 2023 will bring you. It is always nice to imagine that somehow a new year could be different… We all like to experience positive change, right? So, what about speaking Dutch?
For most people, speaking Dutch - real Dutch - is something that is easy to put off for next year, again. It’s easy to understand. All of a sudden, negative thoughts may come up: “Oh no! I’ll have to study again”, “Dutch is one of the most difficult languages on the entire planet”, and here comes the queen of all excuses ever: “I already tried and it did not go well.”
If you’ve already attempted to master Dutch once, this last excuse is something that could paralyse you forever. It is very convincing. It is easy to believe that Dutch is difficult, tiring and boring. It seems to be an accurate conclusion then… But is it?
Let’s start with another question first. Let’s forget all the effort and difficulties that learning Dutch could bring you. Would you like to speak Dutch, yes, or no? If your answer is a genuine no, stop reading now. However, make sure that this is a real no, not because of some negative thoughts. If speaking Dutch doesn’t interest you, then problem solved, once and for all! If the answer is yes, keep reading, because:
There is reason for hope and optimism, even if nothing has worked yet
Speaking Dutch can have a great impact on many different areas of your life. If you live in the Netherlands, it makes sense you’d want to know what is going on around you. For example, if all of a sudden, you sit in an empty train all by yourself without knowing why everyone has left, it can be a somewhat annoying experience.
Another important reason to learn Dutch is that it can bring so much more fun to your life. It is nice when you can simply chat with the people around you, and experiencing and really understanding a different culture is always enriching. One thing that I personally love is when I can understand jokes and humour in another language.
When you really think about it, there can be many positive benefits to speaking a new language in 2023. However, there tends to be one important hurdle, and that is your mind. If you have a mind like most people, it tends to be quite negative… One perfect excuse your mind always knows how to play out successfully is the thought that you've already tried and that you “failed”. Your conclusion could be that Dutch is too difficult, that Dutch is useless anyway or that you do not have the ability to learn it.
Somehow, you do not have any talent for speaking a new language and, if you only speak English, it is very easy to walk into this trap.
More mean mind tricks
By the way, there is another important thing that most minds simply cannot do. A mind finds it hard to imagine that a new year could be totally different. Certainly, if you've tried to learn Dutch before, you will most likely fail again, right? Here is another mean trick that the mind plays: if you think that you’ve failed, it means that there was a good reason, right? Otherwise, you would speak fluent Dutch already!
Here are some simple reasons why you may not speak Dutch just yet
So here is the thing. If you’d like to see 2023 in a different light, it would be good to explore some simple reasons why you don’t speak Dutch on the level you desire. Here is a warning, the reasons could be ridiculously simple!
Learning at the wrong time
The first question is: how alert were you when you tried to learn Dutch? This question is very relevant. If you try to learn something new after a long workday, chances are high that you were very tired. That is all! it was not a matter of being intelligent or stupid. If you feel tired, learning is always slow, and the results are usually not great.
Not focusing on the language enough
How long did you focus on Dutch? If you are like most people, you may have tried to do a course, once or twice per week. It may look like a logical approach, but actually, it is not. In two hours, there is not so much that you can do, and it will not be enough to really get the hang of it. For learning anything new, it would make much more sense to focus on it for a couple of days in a row. You’ll learn a lot faster then and somehow it will enable you to really own it.
Thinking that memorising is key
You may have believed that doing your homework and memorising loads of things would be the way to fluent Dutch. Fortunately - at least that is what I think - this is not true. The most important thing is that you start to see how things work and that you pick up things from real life. Speaking great Dutch is not so much about studying, but about living your Dutch life to the fullest.
Making things too complicated
Here is a weird thing. We say that we like simple and easy things but, at the same time, we complicate stuff. Speaking a new language is one great example. Certainly, if you have a higher education, chances are high that you make it far more difficult than it really is. Speaking Dutch can be easier than you think, if you embrace some simplicity and playfulness!
Not being engaged enough
How engaged were you during your Dutch classes? Going to a boring course and gazing at the overwhelming pages of a textbook during class does not automatically mean that you pick up Dutch automatically. When you feel bored, it is hard to learn new things. One of the most important things is that you learn how you can have outrageous fun with Dutch and that you start to talk about things that really matter to you!
Thinking you need linguistic talent
Here is another fascinating thing. Many people believe that speaking a new language only requires one specific talent, a so-called linguistic talent. Although that linguistic talent is always a handy thing to have, it would not be enough. Speaking Dutch is something that requires many different talents at the same time. For example, how to think logically and in a structured way, how to overcome shyness or how to improvise with limited information.
A new year can be different!
I love to see all the new insights that my Dutch language students get and the discoveries that they make about life in general. If seems that if you learn a new language, somehow, you start to understand life more and things start to make more sense. This is why speaking fluent Dutch could enrich your life in 2023 in many different ways! So, if you’d like to speak Dutch in 2023, make sure that you do not stay stuck in the past. A new year can be totally different, once you are willing to give it some (new) thought!
Ready to take your Dutch learning to the next level in 2023? Check out the seven-day intensive Dutch Brainwash programme in the heart of Amsterdam. Get in touch with Albert Both from Talencoach at [email protected].
You can also:
- Download the e-book "3 Steps to Dutch flow"
- Download the e-book "Why You Hate Learning Dutch and 7 Secrets to Change It"
- Visit the website Talencoach.nl
- Check out the Facebook page
- Watch videos on YouTube
All free of charge!