7 tips to help you speak Dutch for real this year
It is a new year and for most people it seems like the perfect time to improve certain aspects of your life. Really speaking Dutch might be one thing you’d like to achieve this year.
But we also know what often happens if we make something a New Year’s resolution… it never succeeds!
So here are seven tips, just to make sure that it happens now in 2017, instead of in 2018, 2019, 2020… or never.
1. Admit (at least to yourself) that you want to speak Dutch
This first tip is really obvious, but for many people it’s difficult to apply.
Have you ever noticed that Dutch people often speak English to you, but if you leave for a second they immediately switch to Dutch again? When you come everyone eventually changes to English again, just for you.
Although Dutch people may assert again and again that the conversation topic was exactly the same, you might notice that something’s different. It often feels like they are not sharing everything with you and… probably you’re right.
Therefore, the first step is really easy, and it requires real honesty. Simply ask yourself if you would like to be part of life in the Netherlands for the full 100 percent.
Just answer yes or no. Do you at least like this idea? If the answer is yes, then simply admit that speaking Dutch is something you would really love!
Too many people fail already at this first step. They might worry that speaking Dutch is too difficult. As a self-protection mechanism, it is easy to pretend that speaking English is good enough for you.
But if you really want to speak Dutch in 2017, simply admit that it's important and that you want to do it!
2. Realise that speaking Dutch is about freedom
Initially the idea of speaking Dutch is not that groovy or sexy. When most people dream of speaking another language, they often fantasise about speaking French or Italian, because these languages sound more intellectual and romantic. Compare these languages to Dutch and it immediately feels like a poor choice, right?
But, for whatever reason, you have decided to hang around in the Netherlands, instead of the French Riviera or Tuscany. So now that you spend most of your time here, then it would be good to speak Dutch. It seems the logical choice.
Although it can really help if a language sounds beautiful or romantic, one of the most important reasons to learn a language is that it gives freedom.
Imagine what would be possible if you didn’t have to depend on other people to read your letters. Imagine all the different jobs you could have if you spoke Dutch. All the things you could do, all the courses that you could take. If you really want to discover new things in the Netherlands, then speaking Dutch will definitely help!
3. Imagine how Dutch can give security in the long term
If I ask people why they don’t speak Dutch, in many cases they say it’s because they work in English. But times go by, jobs change and maybe you want to have another job one day.
Also, chances are high that you’d like your career to grow. One day, you would like to move up to the ladder a bit, right? One thing that I often hear from many people is that when you really want to have another job - for whatever reason - speaking Dutch suddenly turns out to be an important factor.
The sad thing is that if you realise you need to speak Dutch when looking for a new job, then basically it’s too late.
Although you can learn a lot of Dutch relatively quickly, you’ll need more time and practice before you can start to use it on a professional level.
Therefore, if you have a job in which you speak only English, then start learning Dutch right now! That way, if you find you really need it one day, you’ll be much more relaxed about it.
4. Work with a plan
How do you know if speaking Dutch will turn into a reality or if it will just remain a dream or nice entertaining thought? It’s simple: if you have not planned anything, then speaking Dutch will not happen.
Do you notice that you are not willing to put in time and money? Then it is easy to predict the future: nothing will happen.
If you really think that learning Dutch is important, then of course you must make the commitment. So if you want to speak Dutch, then take your schedule and set a date. Make sure that you literally plan it!
5. Take radical action
If want to see a radical change in your Dutch, then you need to take radical action. A lesson, once a week after work will not do the trick.
But if you learn Dutch intensively for a couple of days in a row, then you’ll notice that fast progress is possible and it's easier to enter the flow that can take you to a higher level.
6. Focus on all the benefits of the short term
Many people think that you only benefit if you speak the language fluently, but luckily this is not the case at all.
Long before you start speaking Dutch with real ease, you can already see on the first day that things are changing. You’ll start to see the world with new eyes.
You can begin to understand what is going on much more and you’ll have a greater sense of belonging. When things around you start to make more sense, then it is easier to feel at home.
My students tell me all the time that things change when they speak Dutch. Conversations are different, social interactions are more fun and much nicer. On top of that, if you know you are learning new things every day it makes your whole life much richer.
Learning Dutch can have a great positive impact on your ideas about learning. First of all, you’ll discover many interesting and funny things about English and all the other languages that you speak.
Also, once you experience how easy it is to learn when you feel relaxed and playful, then you’ll often see a whole range of new possibilities. If you can learn Dutch, then you can learn anything! Isn’t that a fantastic thought!
7. See it as a great adventure
Last but not least, discovering Dutch can also help you to remember another aspect of life: that it is a great adventure! You’ll discover new things about the place where you live and you’ll discover a lot about yourself.
One thing is certain, great surprises are waiting for you! Just say yes and really go for it!
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, February 12, 2017, in Amsterdam.
You can also:
› Download his e-book "3 Steps to Dutch flow"
› Download his e-book "Why You Hate Learning Dutch and 7 Secrets to Change It"
› Visit his website Talencoach.nl
› Check out his Facebook page
› Watch videos on his YouTube channel
All free of charge!