Introducing: #BiLingoBoxes

At Language Learners Journal we believe in a mindful approach to language learning. This means using more tangible products in addition to online resources.

We are delighted to announce our Crowdfunding campaign for #BiLingoBoxes. It is supported by NatWest’s ‘Back her Business‘. We have been working closing with top publishing companies and stationery suppliers to be able to offer premium quality materials.

We will be officially launching this campaign on the 16th December, but we wanted to share the news with you, our dedicated subscribers as the first edition boxes are limited!

Dutch in 100 Days: Top Tips for New Learners

Hoi! Back in September 2019, I started learning Dutch.

For this 100 day language project I wanted to demonstrate that…

  • There is no secret ingredient to learning a language. You really can make good progress in 15-30 minutes of daily consistent study over a 100 day period.
  • I wanted to prove that you don’t need to move to a country to learn the language!
  • Finally, I wanted to demonstrates that you can learn a language independently and without breaking the piggy bank.

The Goal: To learn to speak and read in Dutch to a minimum of A2/B1 cusp level within 100 days. I wanted to be able to have basic conversations in Dutch – and make sense of the menus!

Getting offline I hosted my very first Duolingo Dutch meetup in my local community.

Progress so Far…

It has been a heck of a journey and no plain sailing! Just as I thought I was making progress something would knock me off track! However, I persevered and enjoyed the process as well as having my eye on the final goal. Being part of the very supportive Parleremo Community really helped me.

I recently did an online Dutch proficiency test that has now put my level at A2. I have had conversations in Dutch and now have no problems reading menus in Dutch. I’ve also learned a little about the history and culture and the close connections between the Netherlands/Belgium and England. I have made new friends who are Dutch. This month I also became a Volunteer Duolingo Ambassador and now host free Dutch Meetups in my local community.

Top Tips for Dutch Learners

1. Struggling with grammar? Familiar with Star Wars? Speak like yoda!

2. Struggling with some Dutch Pronunciation? Put on a Scottish Accent! The Dutch ‘G’ can be a hard sound to pronounce for native English speakers. However ‘CH’ in ‘Loch’ is a similar sound and great practice. Other words such as the Dutch word for Brown can also be hard to pronounce, but try saying it in a Scottish accent (Bruin)

3. The Input Method! Watch Dutch TV with subtitles and listen to Dutch Redio stations. Parleremo has a huge collection of radio stations in over 30 different languages. Don’t worry if you you are not understanding everything you can hear. Become familiar with the accents and patterns of the language.

4. Less is more approach. Have a daily focused goal and working towards that goal for as little as 15 to 30 minutes a day over a consistant period can really help with achieveing over all fluency goals.

5. Practice makes Permanent! It may seem morning to repeat same materials, but in doing so you are building those memory muccles.

Goals for This Month…

Complete the 100 Day Dutch Project, then I am taking a break for Christmas! In January, I will be continuing my Dutch Journey for another 100 days to work towards mastering the B1 level.

Resources For This Project

During my 100 day project, I used Parleremo. A free language learning platform and community of language learners. The website is packed with useful tools and materials.

I took part in the Parleremo Language Marathon to help keep me motivated whilst learning Dutch. Many challenges tend to use Facebook Groups, but what I liked 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 used the free 10 week video course on Kick Start Languages. This showed me the key words phrases to use to really ‘kick start’ learning a language.

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

UTalk is one of another 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 also used Duolingo and Memrise to build my vocabulary.

Your Invitation to a Virtual Coffee Morning & Games Night for Language Learners

In 2017 Language Learners Journal supported Macmillan Cancer Support by hosting a virtual coffee morning. Our goal was for over 50 different languages to be spoken within our community group. We didn’t quite make our target, but we did have over 34+ amazing languages spoken in the group.

World leading polyglots and avid language learners from around the globe got together to raise awareness and money for people who are affected by cancer. The online language learning community raised over £100.

On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November we plan to ‘try again‘! The aim to have over 50+ different languages spoken within our group during the weekend. The games evening will run from 6 pm till Midnight (UK time) on Saturday 23rd. The virtual coffee morning will be Sunday 24th November from 10 am – 2 pm (UK time). This year we will be raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Studies have shown that studying a foreign language can delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias for over 4.5 years. More recent studies into bilingual people with early-onset to mild Alzheimer’s have shown them to have a ‘cognitive reserve‘!

How do I Join?

  1. Join our Facebook Group
  2. Post a short video greeting in the language(s) of your choice. The theme is ‘Coffee and Cakes‘. Tag @alzheimerssoc #LanguageCakes
  3. OR/AND post a selfie with cake/coffee and a message written in the language of your choice and hashtag Tag @alzheimerssoc #LanguageCakes #gamesnight
  4. Share this blog post with others to help raise some awareness of this event and help us achieve our target of 50+ languages.

Interesting in Speaking?

If you would like to give a live talk or a recorded presentation on any aspect of language learning during the weekend event please get in contact.

What is the Alzheimer’s Society?

As the largest and most influential dementia charity in the UK, we are calling on everyone to unite. Working together we know we will achieve our vision – a world without dementia.

To Make a Donation

I will be donating a percentage of my proceeds from the Parleremo Language Marathon in November to the Alzheimer’s Socity. I will also be donating a pound for every new language spoken during the challenge (up to the target number of languages).

If you would like to donate to the event check out our Just Giving Page. (If you can’t donate via this method, but would still like to donate please contact me directly).

For more information on this charity check out: Alzheimer’s Society