Learning Dutch in 100 Days Project: In the Beginning

The goal I have in mind is to go from being a complete beginner in Dutch to reaching A2 Level in 100 days, this is my language journey…

In September I joined the Parleremo Language Marathon. I have been a bit of a language ‘hopper‘ in the past. This means jumping around different languages. It’s time to really knuckle down and focus on just 1 language consistently for a few months rather than juggling multiple.

I decided to go the full hog and take part in the Mega 100-Day Language Learning Marathon to kickstart my Dutch. There is a shorter option available for a Mini-26 Day Marathon if you want a taster of a language OR to check out the Parleremo Randomiser, where a language is auto-generated for you!

Then

Pre-language marathon I decided to do a warm up and worked on the 1000 Most Common Words in Dutch Course over 7 days! Although I wasn’t fast enough to get the certificate (yet) I learnt a lot and feel more confident with the challenge ahead.

Now…

I have just completed my first week in the challenge and decided to retake the placement test I did at the end of August. I was an absolute beginner, but now the placement test has put me at a firm CEFR A1 level!

Further Reading: Learning Flemish Dutch in 100 Days.

So what exactly is CEFR A1 Level?

The CEFR standard is short for the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. There are 6 levels that are widely accepted as the global standard for grading an individual’s language proficiency.

Being at A1 level means that I can now understand and use very basic everyday expressions and phrases. I can introduce myself and to some extent others too. I am still working on asking and answering questions such as where I am from, what I like to do and what food to order.

I look forward to seeing what the next 90 days will bring.

Additional Resources I am using…

KSL 10 Week Language Learning Course – every Sunday I have been checking out the free video course from the awesomeness that is Kick Start Languages

Utalk – To help retain vocabulary I have been using Utalk on the PC. Plus Duolingo and Drops whilst on the go.

Future Learn: Beginner’s Dutch – Learn to speak, write and understand basic Dutch, with this free, three-week, introductory foreign language course from The University of Groningen. A research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

Italki – I am taking part in the italki challenge and aiming do around 19 hours of lessons in October. If you are new to italki register using this link, and if you decide to purchase your first italki credits for a lesson we both receive $10 in italki credits!

Dutch in Three Months – I have been using the Di3M audio and language course to give me some focus for my learning.

Parleremo Languages Puzzle Books – I have also just ordered a Puzzle book for Dutch learners that I can work on during lunch breaks, waiting for appointments and traveling!

You can follow my progress on Twitter and via IGTV on Instagram.

Parleremo Language Marathon

Learning Flemish Dutch in 100 Days

Trisha founder of
Language Learners Journal

Hallo there, starting in September my next language project will be learning Flemish-Dutch in 100 days!

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 Belguim and parts of France!

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

  • Icelandic Basics in 28 Days – (Success).
  • Exploring Scots in 28 Days – (Failed).
  • Spanish in 90 days – 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, but the ultimate goal is for 30 minutes of conversation time!

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

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?

Bruges, Belgium. Photography by Simon Dunbar.

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 favourite 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.

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The Goal: To learn to speak and read in Dutch to A2/B1 cusp level within 100 days, so I can have conversations with the people I meet – in Dutch – and make sense of the menus!

The Starting Line…

Currently, I am an absolute beginner in Dutch, but I’ll aspire to a B1 ‘cusp’ level within 100 days. 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 you destination if you don’t know where you are going‘!

Further Reading: Dutch in 100 Days Project – In the Beginning… * Dutch in 100 Days Project – The Midway Mark

The Plan?

Bruges, Belgium. Photography by Simon Dunbar.

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

  • At the end of my ‘Dutch in 100 Days Project’, I’ll be doing a Facebook LIVE in Dutch!

Resources For This Project

Bruges, Belgium. Photography by Simon Dunbar.

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 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’ll be using Duolingo and Memrise to build my vocabulary.

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

If you want to follow my progress…

Like 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!