How slow do you have to go?
Speaking great Dutch is astonishingly simple if you follow this important rule: in order to speak with elegance and ease you have to learn fast!
Fast is good! If you absorb a lot in a short time, you will feel good about yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the faster you learn, and above all, you will have much more fun with the new language. You will feel excited all the time and this will propel your learning.
Patience vs Snail trail
Let’s admit it: learning requires patience. Most people know that patience is essential but here comes the catch: learning too slowly may hold you back and eventually ruin your effort!
Unfortunately, it is extremely easy to hit the snail trail - the path that leads to failure and frustration. The problem is that most people do not even realize it.. They are getting bored, doubting their learning abilities - or even themselves - and eventually disliking what they are learning. A vicious cycle.
5 things that should ring your snail trail alarm
Strangely enough, many people walk the snail trail for years and years without even realising it. So, how do you know that you are not on the right track?
1. Evening courses
Attending courses after work may slow you down. You are already tired from your job so you have to slow down, especially when you can’t cope with the tons of homework they give you, and once you start skipping classes, there is no way back. You will soon realise that that you are so much behind that the "only" way is to stop.
The second indicator is that you don’t have a sense of what you are doing. Parroting what you hear from your teacher and hoping that that you are saying the right things is not learning.
If it doesn’t make sense, you will probably forget it. You have to invest time and be sure that you understand what you are talking about. It all starts with clarity!
3. Simple things
Weather, shopping, colours, numbers. Yes, learning simple things, themes, topics and subjects is essential, but if you catch yourself only talking about them and just move from one simple subject to another, you are definitely on the snail trail.
Everything is procedural and on the fast track the subject doesn’t even matter. Your goal is to be able to speak about multiple topics at the same time.
You can’t expect to learn only by studying. Fast learning happens when you live it! Indeed, certain (grammatical) terms, expressions etc. may sound very complex. So, make sure you take advantage of your sensory faculties.
Why not see, feel or taste the language? I know it may sound strange but have you noticed that it is somehow easier to learn about food while eating?
Many people think that memorising sentences is the way to approach a language. Indeed, it is useful but just sticking to "memorising" may be disastrous since what you will end up with are a few sentences.
The solution is to start making your own sentences. Can you make at least 100 sentences after your first lessons? If not, you are probably on the snail trail.
So, are you satisfied with your overall progress? Do you follow the right path? If not, stop blaming yourself - there is nothing wrong with you. Accept the fact that you have to change track and go for it!
Beware "good advice" about taking baby steps. Dream big and dare to learn fast. Stick to the plan and enjoy the ride - It is much more fun and much easier!
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!