Learning Dutch in 100 Days Project: The Midway Mark!

I have been learning Dutch as part of the Parleremo Language Marathon (#PLM) Challenge. The challenge is to learn a language for a minimum of 15 minutes per day, everyday, over a 100 day period. The challenge is hosted on it’s very own platform and not on social media. #PLM has access to lots of language related tools, resources and a super supportive community.

The hope for me is to ‘level up‘ my language skills within the 100 days going from an absolute beginner to an A2 CEFL Level in Dutch. Back in August, I was a complete beginner in Dutch. I have learnt a number of languages over the years, but I have to say that for me Dutch has not been an easy language to learn! In fact, I found Mandarin Chinese easier to learn!

Here are a few hurdles that I have faced whilst trying to learn how to speak Dutch…

The Pronunciation of the Dutch Alphabet!

Many letters of the alphabet are pronounced differently in Dutch than they are in English. For example, β€˜A’ in English is pronounced β€˜ay’ but in Dutch it is pronounced β€˜ah’ and ‘E‘ is ‘ay‘. Being an English speaker my brain sees the letters and words and instantly tries to correct my pronunciation to English. I need to make new neuro connections that branch off from English and the only way to do this is through consistent practice.

EnglishDutchEnglishDutch
AehahNenen
BbeebayOohoh
CseeseePpeepay
DdeedeeQcuecoo
EeeayRarerrrl
FefefSeses
GgeehayTteetay
HeychhaUyouooh
IeyeeeVveefey
JjayyeeWdouble-youvay
KkaykaXexicks
LelelY / IJwhyaye
MememZzeezed

The biggest challenge for me so far has been the pronunciation of the letter β€˜G’! It is not a sound we tend to make in English! The Dutch β€˜G’ sound originates in the throat prior to reaching the mouth – it’s almost as if I want to spit. To overcome this hurdle is going to undertake a heck load of practice.

Problematic Pronouns

I didn’t think this was so bad until I discovered that the Dutch have A LOT of words for you! Depending if it is formal, informal and plural. Then I discovered Zij could mean she or they depending on context! The formal ‘u‘ is pretty much like my teenagers informal ‘u‘ text speak.

jij/je (Informal Singular)you
u (Shirt and tie type formal)you
hij, zij/ze, hethe, she, it
jullie (informally plural)you
zij/zethey

Further Reading: Learning Flemish Dutch in 100 Days Learning Dutch in 100 Days Project: In the Beginning

Dutch Grammar Joys

Dutch grammar does not follow the same pattern as English. In English the sentence structure begins with the subject and is followed by a verb. An example of this is β€˜I do not break the glasses’. With Dutch, the action typically precedes the subject with something a little like, ‘The glasses break not‘ To overcome this I just think “How would Yoda say it?

Then there is the drama of ‘het‘, ‘de‘ or ‘een‘! Het and De mean ‘the‘, whilst ‘een‘ is the equivalent of the English a/an and not be confused with the number een that is pronounced differently! Don’t get me started on where to place the ‘niet‘, negative particle in a sentence.

Back to Front Numbers!

0nul
1een
2twee
3drie
4vier
5vijf
6zes
7zeven
8acht
9negen
10tien
11elf
12twaalf
13dertien
14veertien
15vijftien
16zestien
17zeventien
18achttien
19negentien
20twintig
21eenentwintig
22tweeΓ«ntwintig
30dertig
40veertig
50vijftig
60zestig
70zeventig
80tachtig
90negentig
100honderd

Did you spot the difference between the Dutch and English numbers? Ja, the second number in a double-digit number is always spoken first! Thanks to learning a little Slovenian a couple of years ago I am used to this way of numbering!

How am I over coming these hurdles?

PRACTICE + PRACTICE + PRACTICE

The Past 50 Days

I have been studying consistently every day using a range of resources. There wasn’t a Dutch Meetup group in my area so I have created a one!

This month I also became a Volunteer Global Ambassador for Duolingo. I am passionate about supporting Duolingo’s mission to bring free education to the world.

I’ll be hosting a range of free language learning events over the next 12 months in my local community. The first official Duolingo event will be in November, ‘The Dutch Language Club‘.

#Clearthelist: Goals for the Next 30 Days…

For anyone new to Clear the List, each month the awesomeness that is Lindsay Williams and Shannon Kennedy host a language blogging goal setting community called ‘Clear the List’.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Speaking

Daily – Recording myself speaking on Instagram and Parleremo.

Weekly – 1-2 hour weekly Dutch lessons or language exchanges.

MonthlyThe Dutch Language Club (Monthly community meetups)

Listening

Daily – Listening to the radio or YouTube for about 10 minutes per day. Parleremo has a great collection of resources that are freely available to use.

Weekly – Checking out Netflix and YouTube to watch some shows.

Reading

Daily – Maintain my Duolingo streak – 15 minutes per day. Now I am feeling slightly more confident with Dutch check out Clozemaster. Read some blogs and online news articles.

Weekly – Re-take some older Duolingo lessons, Use the UTalk app and Learn Dutch.org flashcard app to brush up on vocabulary.

Writing

Daily – Start making regular social media posts in Dutch. Some of my posts are in part English/Part Dutch at the moment.

Weekly – Throughout November I would like to make regular journal articles in Dutch on Parleremo.

Other

Although Dutch is my priority language I will also be exploring some languages indigenous to the UK.

Scots

For the next mini-marathon I’ll be doing a short Scots Project. You can follow my progress with Scots here…

Irish Gaelic

I will continue to check out some Irish Gaelic on Duolingo.

In Summary…

Obstacles aside I love the Dutch language, thankfully as my focus is more Flemish Dutch the dreaded ‘G‘ sound is softer. Breakthrough moments have included understanding basic texts and conversations, finally getting a green (after about 20+ red crosses and dings) on Rosetta Stone for my pronunciation of the letter G. Those that have been following my progress have felt my pain!

I look forward to using the language when I visit Holland and Belgium (Flemish) in the new year. I still have a long way to go. I’m not sure at this point if I’ll hit my target of Absolute beginner (A0) to a talkative A2 and confident reader in 100 days, but what I have achieved so far is a comfortable A1 level.

At the end of the Parleremo Language Marathon Challenge I hope to do a 10 minute Facebook LIVE completely in Dutch!

If you have any tips about how you overcame any obstacles when learning Dutch OR recommended resources/Dutch blogs/articles please post a link to them in the comments section below.

Project: Exploring Scots

Clan Dunbar

2019 is the year of Indigenous Languages. With this in mind Language Learners Journal Founder Trisha Dunbar explores the Scots language. The aim is to be able to have a basic conversation within the next 28 days!

***

The Scots language is not to be confused with Scottish Gaelic and is actually from the Germanic family group. Although closely related to English, it isn’t speaking English with a Scottish accent!

It is a language in it’s own right and is sometimes referred to as Lowland Scot so not to confuse with Scottish Gaelic.

Scots is spoken in central Scotland and the main cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.

Why Scots?

Trisha and daughter Sophia have decided on tackling Scots in honour of the 2019 year of Indigenous Languages. It is a language close to their hearts as the Dunbar family originated from Scotland.

Project Mission

The goal is to be able to greet and have a very basic conversation in Scots by the end of the month.

Main Resources: Scots VocaBooster Course, OU Scots Language Course, Parleremo and The Parleremo Language Marathon.

Clear the List: Mandarin March – Language Learning Goals

My focus in 2019 is Mandarin Chinese, #AyearofMandarin. Here are my learning goals for March! To keep me focused and motivated this month I will be introducing monthly themes and taking part in the Yoyo Chinese Challenge and the 90 day My Language Challenge.

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Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Week 1 – Food and Professions

Week 2 – People & Pets

Week 3 – Places & Directions

Week 4 – Shopping & Transport

Chinese -Mandarin

Vocabulary – I have been vocabulary building with uTalk and LingoHut. Both services cater for a wide range of languages! I’ll also be using Memrise on a daily basis too.

Grammar – I am working my way through BBC Talk Mandarin.

Reading – My daughter and I are using the Chineasy method to help us recognise Chinese Characters.

Listening – I’ve joined the My Language Challenge pilot, which will act as a 90 day booster. The first mini-challenge will focus on listening skills. I’ll be using Pop-up Chinese, that has audio for all levels. I am also taking part in the Yoyo Chinese Challenge.

Speaking – I am having regular lessons on Italki with an amazing community tutor. In 2016 I founded the Hampshire Mandarin Meetup. It’s now facilitated by a friend who has done an amazing job at promoting and getting others interested in learning Chinese. People from the local Chinese community also attend! I’m going to swing by a few sessions this month and get involved with some of the amazing activities they run.

I am really looking forward to the Women In Language’s event this month! In the UK language learning is now more important than ever yet the amount of students studying languages is in decline! There are some amazing guest speakers all experts in their fields. I’d highly recommend checking this out. Men are welcome too!

Other resources I’ll be using this month:

Chinese in 9 weeks from Domino Chinese (via Udemy and their website).

Mango Languages

Join Clear The List + Share Your Goals!

1. Share your goal post whether it includes your aspirations for the month or year. Submissions unrelated to the theme or links to your homepage will be deleted.

2. Link back to this post.

3. Follow the hosts: Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages and Shannon from Eurolinguiste.

4. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE: Please visit the site of the person who linked up immediately before you and leave them an encouraging comment! By hosting this linkup, we’re hoping to create a positive community where we can all share our goals. If you do not do this, you will be removed from the linkup.

5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList.