Does Dutch have any rules?
If you have ever tried to learn Dutch, you must have thought this more than once: "%$#! What is this? I do not get this! I do not understand this at all... This is really hard, I simply do not get it!"
And then, also Dutch people love to say it: "Dutch is exceptional." But what does it mean? That there are no rules? For some mysterious reasons there is a hard core myth that Dutch is a very difficult language to learn and that in Dutch, there are many exceptions. However, nothing could be further from the truth...
Rules of the Dutch language
Most people are willing to accept that a language like German has a clear set of logical rules. So, guess what! Dutch has fewer rules. There is only one reason: Dutch is less complex than German and therefore Dutch is a lot easier.
As a matter of fact, you could even see Dutch as an outlandish form of ancient English. Dutch is also the closest language to English. Therefore, learning Dutch should even be relatively easy, if you know how to see it and as long as you know what you are doing.
Of course, there is also some bad news. The chances for you to discover that there are some logical rules - not so complicated - while doing a language course are not that big. It might take you months and even years to discover them without any help. It does not mean that you are not smart enough. On the contrary...
How most Dutch language courses work
The strategy of most Dutch language courses goes like this: they assume that if you just repeat hundreds of sentences then your brain will do the rest. It will draw it’s own conclusions and your learning will go off automatically. Something magical will happen and all of a sudden you will be able to create hundreds of sentences that are also grammatically correct.
The only problem is… it is not true. Certainly not on a short term!
How to learn Dutch
The truth is this: your brain will only accept new information, when it looks logical or highly amusing. If not, your brain will reject it. It is that simple! Whenever you are too much confused learning stops or it slows down considerably.
So now, can you imagine what happens if you sit in a class with a teacher that only speaks Dutch to you? What happens with the clarity? It disappears. And now you still wonder why learning Dutch takes so long?
The most important thing is that while learning Dutch, never ever doubt yourself. Find clarity instead. Most things in Dutch are absolutely logical and make perfect sense. So find the right person that can show this!
Also make sure that the explanation of the rules will be clear and simple to you. Unintelligible words like onvoltooid deelwoord en nevenschikkenvoegwoord will make it look even more complex, so keep it simple!
The most important thing is that you take some time to learn some rules and that you learn them in a certain order. Be willing to have an open mind and be willing to do something different. And then, when you can understand it and when you see it, learning will go so much easier. Another unexpected thing may also happen: you have fun. And then, when you like it, learning will even go faster!
In essence it is very simple. Do the right things, think in a new and logical way and you will speak Dutch, sooner than you may think... It is virtually guaranteed.