Stages of learning Dutch

Dutch: a language renowned for its synthetic compound words and as many velar fricatives as you can shake a stick at. It’s a beautiful language and much, much less complicated than English—which is, frankly, a collection of hacks.

I never really had a roadmap when I started learning Dutch. Between Christmas and April last year (2010–11), I was learning it as a hobby more than anything else. When I landed in the Netherlands all those ten months ago, my knowledge of Dutch was pretty basic—I’d learnt quite a few words, but had no real knowledge of how to put them together; but I was only planning on staying in Hilversum for three weeks. Ten months later, I’m still in the Netherlands with a full-time job and a flat to furnish; I think it’s about time I settled down and planned on staying here. So, like I do, I thought about it while commuting and jotted a few notes down and came up with a few milestones I’d like to accomplish:

Stages of learning Dutch

Now clearly, I’ve left out a number of things that other people might find more important, but these are the things that I‘d to accomplish.

I try to speak Dutch wherever practical but sometimes, it doesn’t always work out how I expect. My supervisor at work Nelson, for example, speaks a lot of English to me—”[he’s] always spoken English to [me] before” and it’s now become a habit for him to switch to English when speaking to me. Team meetings can and regularly do get quite confusing at times; with alternating sentences in Dutch and English.


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