5 secret skills that can help you speak Dutch with confidence and ease

5 secret skills that can help you speak Dutch with confidence and ease

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Have you ever wondered what you really need if you want to speak Dutch with confidence and ease? Albert Both from Talencoach knows!

Many people believe that it is simply a matter of having a knack for languages or not. But, if you look closely enough, you may discover that having a talent for learning languages is not just about having one talent. It is a combination of many different skills.

5 secret skills that can help you learn Dutch (or another new language)

Knowing these secret skills will make a decisive difference. Once you know how to use them, you’ll immediately notice the impact these skills have on your ability to speak new languages. And, you will probably find out that they may also come in handy in other aspects of your life.

1. Finding Time

Most people never think about it, but if you want to learn fast, then timing is everything! If you are like most people, then, unfortunately, you’ll notice that your time is limited. Finding time, in general, is often a huge challenge. It's no wonder that many people plan language lessons in the evening, after office hours.

This might seem practical, but… here is the thing. If you try to learn new things when you are mentally tired - which is often the case after a hard day’s work - then you’ll not be able to absorb new information fast.

Various brain experts have all come to the same conclusion: If you want to learn fast (and save time) you need to be rested, and if you can focus on a new skill for a couple of days in a row, it is even better!

2. It is all about objective perception

One might think that if you want to speak a new language, you can simply listen to what people say and repeat it. You just repeat the things that you hear and see around you. Although it seems logical, reality is often different. The problem is that usually people do not objectively see and hear things that are actually there.

Here is one example: Have you noticed that Dutch people always want to “learn” you things? “I learn people”, is a sentence that would never come out of the mouth of a native speaker of English, no matter how drunk or stoned he or she is.

But some Dutch people are absolutely convinced that this is the right way to say that you teach. The problem is that in Dutch “leren” is both “to learn” AND “to teach”. So, even when something sounds or looks obvious to you, it might not be the same for others.

If you look at it, you could call it the art of objective perception, to see the world how it really is, without the distortions of your own mind. This alone is a great and useful practice for many other activities in your life!

3. It is not about memorising, but recognising

Too many people believe that if you want to speak a new language, memorisation is key. But this is not really true. Actually, if you memorise too much, you’ll lose a lot of time. The problem with memorising is that somehow your attention span decreases and you will be in your own head too much. Rather than looking at the world to see what is really there, you are only in your mind, trying to figure out what you learned some time ago.

Here is an example: Do you know the word “veel” and “zijde”? Would you know what “veelzijdig” means? “Veel” means “many” or “much”, and it is one of the first Dutch words that you will pick up. “Zijde” looks like “side” in English, so this word is also quite simple.

Now it is time for some exciting stuff. Literally, “veelzijdig” means “many side-ish”. In English, you would call it “multifaceted”. “Multi” is another word for “many” and “face” (certainly in French) means “side”.

The great thing is that you can easily learn how to decode words, even if you have never seen them before!

4. Use your creativity

When you speak your own language, you simply open your mouth and words come falling out. When you are learning a new language, you’ll notice that your vocabulary is much more limited. That is okay. It only means that you’ll need to be more creative with the things that you want to say. Here is some good news: Creative thinking is very useful in many different situations.

Especially when you have to deal with certain limitations, creativity helps you to do all the things that you would like to do, even when it seems that it is not possible initially.

Here is one tip: Think in very simple ways and ask yourself how a child would describe things. Quite often the thoughts in our own language get quite complex, especially as we grow older. However, when you allow yourself to think in simple terms, you can say many great things.

5. Enjoy experimenting and making many mistakes!

Learning a new language is a whole new adventure. You’ll start to look at the world from a different perspective. This is why it is absolutely essential to have a playful mind, and not to be bothered by making a mistake. Realise that if you make a mistake, it doesn’t mean that you are stupid. Making mistakes is actually a smart thing to do.

Imagine that a Dutch person says that he/she would like to “learn" you new things. Is this a stupid thing to say? Not really… From a Dutch person's perspective it makes perfect sense, so now what this Dutch person needs to do, is to be open to the English way of saying it and then change it. That’s it!

What other secret skills can you think of?

So, here is the good news. If you don't think that you are talented enough to learn a new language, think again! You just read about 5 secrets skills that will help you learn Dutch much faster and speak it with more confidence! Of course, there are many more hidden skills that can help you learn a new language.

What do you think is a useful "secret" skill that could help people learn a new language? Feel free to share, because then you’ll inspire other people to speak a language :)

Albert Both is a specialist in learning Dutch fast while having fun. Sign up for his free workshop "Finding Dutch Flow: Opening The Floodgate to Dutch Fluency" on Sunday, October 29, 2017, in Amsterdam.

You can also: Talencoach Albert Both ebook

All free of charge!


Albert Both


Albert Both

I help with an approach of learning Dutch that is completely different from any other language course. It is called Dutch Brainwashing. The immediate result is that you learn at...

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