We used to live in the cult of busy. We were always rushing to and from work, running to events and trying to juggle agendas. Multiply this many times over if you have kids. It seemed like downtime was a luxury and having time to learn new things was a rarity. Then the Corona Virus happened and time seems to stand still. Many of us are now working from home and perhaps keeping the kids at home. The days seem to last forever and how can we fill them in a useful way ? It is the perfect time to start learning Dutch or to brush up on your Dutch language skills. Even during these times, lessons are available with local online courses.
But, why learn Dutch at all? A lot of people think they can get by perfectly without the need to speak Dutch. Let’s be honest, they probably could. But, would you live in France or Italy and not bother to learn those languages ? Of course not. You would learn them to better assimilate, to have an enhanced experience during your time there and also, to fit in better. Well, the very same reasons are true for learning Dutch. It’s a pleasure to understand what people are saying. I love being able to hold basic conversations in Dutch and now that I can I really am aiming to move to the next level. Also, the Dutch themselves love it when a foreigner has taken the time and effort to learn the Dutch language. How do I know that for sure ? I always ask them and they always have the same answer. They absolutely love to hear non dutch people speaking Dutch.
I used to fear learning Dutch until I heard one very important thing that completely rewired my brain. One day, I heard someone explaining that Dutch is so similar to English that is probably be the easiest of all languages to learn for an English speaker. There are so many Dutch words that are similar to their English equivalents : huis, straat, vader, later, kat, dans, bakker etc, etc, etc. That makes starting easier! Ok, ok, on the flip side there are a lot of words that sound nothing like their English equivalent, but the basics are easier!
I had a German teacher at school and I remember a lesson with her where she said we just all needed to cheat to make progress. What she meant was if someone asks you a question, 80% of your answer is in the question.
Question:”How was your weekend ?”
Answer “My weekend was good. How was your weekend?”
She said doing this allows you to make progress and build confidence. It is the early wins that matter, because once you feel more confident, you will naturally seek out new words and phrases to vary your spoken skills. Just the same as you did as a child….naturally. It is the person that makes little progress that so easily gives up and slips back into English. Accept you will make mistakes and keep pushing through. I remember her well, Mrs. Lees, because it was the year at school when I had a massive ‘click’ with the German language and started to really enjoy learning it more.
Fake it till you make it.
Anja Vreeburg, The founder of Flowently language learning has a similar approach : Fake it till you make it. Anja, has put together a series of ‘fixes’ which allow you to make early progress, while avoiding all the complications of the Dutch language. She noticed that many Flowently students were getting bogged down by the word order in Dutch. The conjunctions and flipped words and when word order is affected. These can be huge stumbling blocks for beginners in Dutch. Anja devised work arounds that allow students to ‘fake it’ and keep making progress in Dutch until such a time that students can ‘make it’
I asked Anja to tell us more about this……
Hi David, it’s all about seeing the world as a friendly place. Teaching kids mathematics, it helps a lot to point out there are friends among numbers you can recognise, which makes it much easier to solve ‘difficult’ calculations. The same counts for languages! We just need to see patterns, to break complicated looking grammar down to a few simple rules. Then we simplify terms, see similarities. In short: be smart and have fun in recognising friends. That’s the theory part. For the most challenging part, speaking Dutch, we use a simple method to improve pronunciation and automise speaking skills. This formula has proven itself.
Online ? Are Flowingly courses all done by online at the moment?
Online and face to face sessions is what we normally always offered. For example, in case a student is on a business trip, or when there is not enough time to meet up for a live language session. Now of course, all our teachings are online. We even continue our in-company group courses online now. To encourage virtual socialising in this time of isolation we have a special discount, two students can have lesson for the price of one.
Flowy Songs and stories
A new element coming online from Flowently has something for everyone. Flowy is a young blackbird that has stories and songs from all over the world for kids from the very young to 100 years old, in different languages. That can help during these long days stuck at home, a very useful resource for everyone learning Dutch!
Thanks Anja. As with many things in life, the first battle is with ourselves. We have to rewire our thinking as adults. It’s all too easy to convince ourselves that we do not have the time or that we are too old to go back to structured learning. It is often just an excuse not to start which is where the real effort is. However, the job started is the job already half finished ! It’s Time to learn Dutch
Contact details :
Tel : 06 41 33 93 23