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, ‘A’ in English is pronounced ‘ay’ but in Dutch it is pronounced ‘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 ‘G’! It is not a sound we tend to make in English! The Dutch ‘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 ‘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
22tweeëntwintig
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.

February 2019 Language Goals: The Romance Month

February is the month of romance, therefore, I have decided to brush up on my Spanish. After my short break from language learning in December and January, as of February I plan to re-focus on Mandarin Chinese.

Don’t forget that 2019 is also the internal year of indigenous languages!

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

To help keep me motivated I’ll be posting my Chinese Mandarin and Spanish progress in the #15x100Challenge. It’s a motivational community aimed at a creating a more mindful approach to achieving goals by focusing on just 1 thing a day, for a minimum 15 minutes over a 100 day period.

My Language Goals for February

My goal for February is to reactivate my basic vocabulary of Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. I’ll be working through a beginners course on Memrise and completing my Duolingo tree in Spanish. I also plan to use simple crosswords and word search puzzle books to actively engage in reviewing vocabulary.

Memrise is a rather addictive resource and luckily I have found both a Spanish and Mandarin course that are well organised with audio throughout. This month I’ll also be boosting my vocabulary for free with LingoHut to get back on track with Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

Spanish

I want to get back to at least  B1 conversational level in Spanish and work towards my HSK level 1 in Mandarin… So that I can feel more confident when talking to native speakers. I am a false-beginner in both Spanish and Mandarin; having learnt the languages on and off over the last few years.  I have a basic understanding of the grammar and somewhere buried in the back of my head is an awesome vocabulary list that needs to be reawakened!

Public accountability of taking part in language challenges really helps my motivational levels and this year I plan to get involved in a few of them!

Scriveremo Publishing have a series of puzzle books that will help actively engage with the language learning materials and I’ll be using these to improve my Spanish.

Anglo-Romani, Gaelic and Irish

As it is the international year of Indigenous languages I don’t want to neglect our very own indigenous languages in the UK. So I plan to go back to my ancestral roots this month with Anglo-Romani (Romany Gypsy). As well as exploring Gaelic and Irish. I have created a Pinterest board for Anglo-Romani.

Chinese Mandarin 

Mandarin is the main language that I will be studying this year. Learning a foreign language isn’t easy. I feel the best way to truly learn is to actively speak and listen to the language as much as possible. Therefore I have booked a package on Italki so I can get as much tutoring in as possible. I plan on 2/45 minute tutorials a week.

Italki is an excellent resource and one that I regularly use to help me learn languages via Skype lessons. These lessons offer flexibility that fits perfectly into my busy lifestyle. Lessons can vary in price but start from about $5 for a 30 minute session. Register using this link to receive an additional $10 in credits after you have complete your first paid lesson!

The Power of Accountability

Throughout February my Spanish and Mandarin study time will be held accountable by being in a language challenge and my desire to stay at the top of my Memrise and Duolingo leaderboards!  My public pledge to study a language for at least 15 minutes per day, everyday has certainly helped my motivational levels.

What languages are you studying this month and will you be taking part in the indigenous language challenge in 2019?


#CleartheList is a goal setting network of dedicated language learners. I have to say I really enjoy reading the other blogs and I am inspired deeply by the dedication of the #CleartheList community. I would like to say a big thank you to the hosts Lindsay (Lindsay Does Languages) and Shannon Kennedy (Eurolinguiste). The aim of Clear the List is to set and share your language learning goals for any given month and then obviously try your best to achieve them by the end of it!

Mandarin Resources that I’ll be using in February.
#CleartheList

Clear the List: Slovenian September – Language Learning Goals

Become fluent in any language! Visit italki.com

Hola! 你好! Živjo, Bonjour…

It’s September ALREADY!!! Welcome to #clearthelist. Hosted by the lovely Shannon of Eurolinguiste and Lindsay of Lindsay Does Languages. Clear the List is a FREE monthly support and accountability linkup for language learners who like to set and blog about their regular language learning goals…


This post may contain affiliate links. You don’t pay more, but I may receive a modest commission that supports the running costs of this site & the FREE content it has to offer!

Where does the time go? As you may recall I signed up for the Languages of Slovenia Challenge at the end of July. So my main focus for September is on Slovenian. I am lucky enough to have a really awesome tutor who has just started a YouTube account! I highly recommend her brand new channel for any Slovenian beginners.

 


Updates…

Little Language Learner did her presentation at the end of July on Chinese culture and spoke in Chinese Mandarin for 2 minutes – Proud mummy moment! Back to ME – I have nailed greetings, can give very basic introductions and count to a thousand in Slovenian. This is brilliant as back in July I knew nothing of the beautiful Slovenian language!

In another news: Feedspot has currently named Language Learners Journal as being one of their top 100 Language Learning blogs! It is a real honor to feature in their list.  Thank you to all of our readers and supporters.

September also marks our 3 year anniversary on WordPress. Language Learners Journal started off as just a hobby blog to provide some peer support to other independent language learners and had 10 local followers. We now have 6000+ followers across social media and operate as a not-for-profit limited business.


The Take Action Calendar for Language Learners #TAC4LL. The calendar is designed to help motivate, inspire and spread a little kindness across the language learning community.  The theme for September is ‘Scroll Free’. This means logging off (or cutting down) on social media and re-investing this time into learning or getting more creative with languages using vision boards, journals or interactive notebooks.

Keep an eye out for our ‘spookey‘ themed #TAC4LL in October…


How will ‘we‘ be learning languages in September? 

This September I will be having weekly tutorials on Italki as well as trying to keep my Memrise streak going. I’ll be working my way through the material on 50 Languages and Slovene Online. I have to say that I have totally fallen in love with the SLOVEnian language 

Little Language Learner will be back at school and having foreign language classes twice a week…


Our September Goals

Little Language Learner

Triple L (Little Language Learner) will be returning to school after the summer holidays and continuing to learn Spanish/French via Duolingo. Plus her weekly school lessons/home work. Mandarin Chinese is being introduced to the school and I am hoping that Triple L will be able to learn this language too. Some schools can be selective on who attends certain lessons, but hopefully they will recognise that Triple L already has experience and a keen interest in Chinese Mandarin. No real goals set as this month is all about getting back into a routine after 6 weeks off school!!!

Mama Language Learner

As for M Double L (Mama Language Learner)… Well my main focus will be on Slovenian, but I’ll still be using Duolingo for Spanish and helping the little learner with Chinese. I have booked an Italki package for Slovenian and will be posting regular updates in the Languages of Slovenia Challenge Group and on my blog Learning Slovenian in 90 Days. This month I am going to try get my head around the 6 grammatical cases (Skloni).

Vocabulary – I’ll be keeping up with my daily dose of Memrise and using the 50 languages website.

Grammar – This month I’ll be focusing on the 6 grammar cases (Skloni) with the support of my Italki tutor(s) and YouTube.

Speaking – I’m planning to speak more! As of September I am looking to increase my Italki lessons from 1 to 2 a week. Plus I want to start speaking Slovenian on my brand new Instagram account.

Reading – I’ve setup my laptop and phone in Slovenian and installed Readlang on my Google browser. I have downloaded a magazine that is written Slovenian and followed a few blogs too. PLUS I have a workbook that one of my tutors has sent me. The workbook takes on average 80 hours to complete. If I want to complete my end goal I need to complete the workbook in 30 hours!

Listening – I’ll be using a range of resources from YouTube to Italki to Wespeke and Tandem.

Writing – Although my main focus is on speaking and listening I will write 10 sentences every day in Slovenian. These sentences will be on topics that are likely to arise in general conversation.

Main Goal: To go LIVE on Facebook on or around 20th October speaking for 10 minutes in Slovenian.


Resource Roundup

Chinese – Mandarin 

Spanish 

Slovene

French (Little Learner) 


JOIN CLEAR THE LIST!

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. You can use our button code below if you wish.

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 link-up.

5. Share on social media using #ClearTheList 


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This post may contain affiliate links. You don’t pay more, but I may receive a modest commission that supports the running costs of this site & the FREE content it has to offer!

Become fluent in any language! Visit italki.com