As a citizen of the UK, Dutch is not my native language and is rarely offered in a school setting. However, with my passion for languages and the Netherlands I took on the challenge of learning Dutch, which I am still in the process of! Either way, if I can do it, you definitely can! In this blog I will share all my tips and ways in which you too, can learn Dutch!
Now, there are many ways you can take upon learning Dutch, with the internet there are endless possibilities. However, I am going to take it old school with this first tip which is books! One of the best ways I have learned Dutch is through work-books full of grammar tips, pronunciation and facts on Dutch culture and language. Personally, as quite a visual learner, these are great! I find the “Dutch for Dummies” book perfect as it gives you all the basics for learning conversational Dutch. It features real life scenarios and scripts which you can act out (along with the CD version to make sure your pronunciation is correct), grammar, punctuation, helpful words and so much more. I honestly feel this book has been the best ‘self-learning’ Dutch language tool I have ever used, especially as it’s so interactive. Once your Dutch is at a good level, you can also try basic books which maybe you already know in your native language in order to learn the words and work your way up!
Buy Dutch For Dummies here
Another more modern way to learn Dutch is apps! Now I’m sure most people have heard of “DuoLingo” and for good reason! The basic features on this app are pretty good considering they are free. They also cover an endless basis of the Dutch language which you can access, granted you pass your levels to the required level, which is good incentive to learn even more! I would recommend this app fully to anyone learning a language, although it may not teach you everything, for a free app you can learn a lot in a short space of time in fun minigames. What’s not to like! It also uses all good aspects when learning a language; speaking, writing, reading, and listening. However, if you tell some Native Dutch people the sentences you hear on there, they may be a little confused at the randomness of some of them! Some other good apps are “Mondly” and “Babel” but the free versions of these are very limited, requiring payment to gain access to the best parts of the app.
If you are looking to gain a higher level of Dutch, be it conversational or an actual qualification, online courses or e-courses are a great way to gain that skill. There are many types of online courses available. For example, you can do one on one tutor sessions, class sessions or self-learning through online courses. All of these have their own individual benefits as one on one tutoring sessions mean you can get full professional help tailored to your needs, class sessions can be more fun and help you meet people who are also learning and self-learning can be great for those who are learning Dutch who cannot commit to a set routine, they also happen to often be the cheapest option. It’s up to the individual to decide what works best for them! Often, all these courses end in a qualification or give you the skills to access them, although this depends on the provider. However, these courses are a great way to gain a good knowledge of Dutch and perhaps the confidence to speak, which for me is probably the scariest part of learning a language! The only drawback of these are that they obviously cost a lot more than the previous options such as books but if you are looking for a good knowledge of Dutch perhaps it is worth the small investment!
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One company who offers online class sessions and self-learning options is ‘Taalthuis’ a company based in the Netherlands. They are also extremely helpful in helping you decide which course would suit you best and their system gives you the chance to gain higher qualifications on completion of other courses. The courses are also reasonably priced for this kind of style of learning. Also, they offer face to face learning sessions in classes, with a discount of 20% to AuPairs (current as of 2020), which can be a great way for people who have recently moved to the Netherlands to learn Dutch. Face to face classes are such a good learning source as you can meet people and learn with them and also have interaction with a tutor. There are many courses all around the Netherlands where you can learn one on one or in a class setting and I really think these are such a fantastic and social way of how you can learn Dutch. They may also help you gain the qualifications you may need for a job for example.
If you are looking to enhance your Dutch and also learn more key words, there are many ways you can fit this into your day to day routine. One example is to put Dutch subtitles on the shows you watch as you can hear the words in your native language and see the Dutch translation. This is a great way to learn words and it’s also pretty simple to do! You could also watch Dutch series with the subtitles in your native language to switch it up! Furthermore, I have a huge love for Dutch music and I guarantee that you can find your favourite genre of music with Dutch lyrics. I rarely listen to English music anymore! I do really feel like this helps you learn the pronunciation of words and is also a really good way to immerse yourself into the Dutch language learning experience!
Another great way to bring learning Dutch into your daily routine is by listening to CDs and podcasts about the Dutch language and you can do this on the way to work or when you’re falling asleep! These are really a great way to incorporate Dutch into your day, every day! You can find multiple CDs online or you can find podcasts on apps like ‘Spotify’. This is a great tool for people who learn really well from audio.
I hope I have given an insight into some ways you can learn Dutch, whether you want to enhance your skills or gain qualifications. There really is a way for anyone and it’s about finding what works best for you. However, one thing is clear and that is that if you really want to learn, you can find all the tools to help right at your fingertips! I hope you find learning Dutch as fun as I do!
10 Basic Dutch Words and Phrases (informal);
Hoi – Hi/Hello
Doei/Dag – Bye
Goedenavond – Good evening
Dank je – Thank you
Ja – Yes
Nee – No
Hoe heet je? – What’s your name?
Ik heet – My name is
Hoe gaat het? – How are you?
Goed – Good