Learning Flemish-Dutch in 100 Days: A Language Learner’s Journal

Language Learners Journal Founder Trisha Dunbar

Hoi there, in September 2019 my language project was to learn Flemish-Dutch in 100 days! Going from an absolute beginner to being able to introduce myself and order food.

Dutch is spoken by around 23 million people. It is a Germanic language at the heart of Europe. Spoken in the Netherlands (Holland) and Belgium. Flemish is the Belgian variant of Dutch and is spoken by over 5 million people in Belgium and parts of France!

Over the last few years, I’ve undertaken a number of language projects including…

  • Icelandic Basics (2016) in 28 Days - (Success).
  • Exploring Scots (2017/2019) in 28 Days - (Failed x2).
  • Spanish in 90 days (2017)- with the goal of having a 15-minute conversation with a native speaker. I managed 20 minutes PLUS a Facebook LIVE! (Success - goal smashed!).
  • A Year of Mandarin 2019 - I’ve had a 15-minute conversation in 2018, but the ultimate goal was for 30 minutes in 2019 of conversation time - I made 28 minutes (so close)!
  • 100 Day Dutch (2019). To go from an absolute beginner to being able to introduce myself and order coffee (Success).
  • Swahili (2020) - LangJam Weekend Challenge (Success).
  • *New - Another 100 Days of Dutch (2020) - In the hope to get to a comfortable B1 level.

During each challenge, I’ve documented my personal language learning journey on social media to inspire and (hopefully) help motivate other language learners. I also wanted to freely share the resources I have used with others.

For this challenge I want to demonstrate…

  • What you can achieve in just a minimum of 15-30 minutes consistent study a day over 100 day period.
  • Prove that you don’t need to move to a country to learn the language!
  • Demonstrate that you can learn a language independently and without breaking the piggy bank.

Why Learn Dutch?

Simon Dunbar, Bruges

More often then not English is spoken better in Europe than by UK natives! So if that is the case why bother!?

During my last trip to Belgium just saying things like please and thank you seemed to earn me the respect of the locals and they appreciated me trying.

As Holland and Belgium are my favorite places to visit I’ve been feeling for some time now that learning Dutch would be of great benefit to me - even if it’s just to read the menu without a double-take.

The Goal for 2019 Project: To learn to speak and read in Dutch to A1/A2 cusp level within 100 days, so I can have conversations with the people I meet – in Dutch – and make sense of the menus!

The Goal for 2020 Project: To recap on A1/A2 level and move towards an intermediate understanding of Dutch within 100 days, so I can have more in-depth conversations in Dutch.

The Starting Line (2019 Project)…

I was an absolute beginner in Dutch, but I aspire to be at a B1 ‘cusp’ level. Given my native language and knowledge of other Germanic languages, I feel this is challenging, but not unrealistic.

Goal setting is really important in language learning and I will have a plan in place because “You will never reach your destination if you don’t know where you are going!”

Further Reading Dutch in 100 Days 2019 Project - In the Beginning… * Dutch in 100 Days Project - The Midway Mark

The Plan (2019 Project)?

To set aside a minimum of 15-30 minutes of consistent study time per week for the next 100 days. I’ll spend the first 10 days listening to materials and building vocabulary. Then I will move on to reading and writing before speaking.

I’ll be documenting the whole thing via my blog and on social media and post updates every 25 days. I’ll be working in blocks of 25 days.

Prep Week

To take a placement test to determine my current level of Dutch (done). To learn 1000 most common words in Dutch and complete the mini-review tests and exams. Then retake the placement test to see what progress I have made.

Block 1 : Greetings and Survival Phrases

  • The input method through audiobooks, podcasts, and vocabulary builders.
  • Work through the ‘Learn Dutch’ modules.
  • 15-30 minutes study per day.

Block 2: Dutch Grammar and Reading

  • Start to speak and read in Dutch.
  • Continue to work through the ‘Learn Dutch’ modules.
  • Increase study time to 30-45 minutes per day.

Block 3 : Getting Conversational

  • Book some lessons with professional tutors.
  • Find a Dutch-speaking study buddy to speak with!
  • Continue with the input method.

Block 4: Wild Card and Final Review

Resources for the 2019 Project

I’ll be using all of the resources on Parleremo. This free language learning platform is packed with useful tools and materials. This will mean that I do not need to waste time searching the web.

I’ll also be taking part in the Parleremo Language Marathon to help keep me motivated whilst learning Dutch. Many challenges tend to use Facebook Groups, but what I like about this challenge is that it is hosted on the Parleremo platform. It has a wide range of tools and resources in 35+ different languages to help build a consistent study routine within a very supportive language learning community!

I have invested in the Dutch in Three Months Course from DK and the Lonely Plant Dutch Phrasebook, which is available on Amazon.

UTalk is one of my favorite resources for learning languages. It uses verbal, visual, and fun exercises to teach languages. A fabulous free alternative to this is LingoHut.

Not to forget that I’ll be using Duolingo and Memrise to build my vocabulary.

Finally I’ll be checking out the Learn Dutch course and Dutch Pod 101

You can check out my progress on…

Follow my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter / Instagram

Please leave me your comments below, as I’m very keen to hear from you about this project and any resource recommendations!

4 thoughts on “Learning Flemish-Dutch in 100 Days: A Language Learner’s Journal”

  1. Just moved to the Netherlands so I am only just beginning the learn Dutch journey. I am def going to try some of your tips! Bedankt! 🙂

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