Dutch is an official language in Netherlands, Suriname, Belgium (Flanders), Aruba, Saint Maarten, and Curaçao. It is also a regional minority language in the French Flanders. The language is West Germanic and is closely related to Low German and Afrikaans. You should consider leaning Dutch if you trade with the Dutch speakers, if you want at the EU, Union of South American Nations, and Benelux where it is an official language, if you intend to settle, to marry, and to school in a Dutch-speaking country, if you are planning on visiting a Dutch-speaking country, or if you simply want to learn a new language. There are several tips that will help you learn Dutch fast.
You could learn Dutch the traditional way – by going to class. This is, however, only a good option if you have the time and the money. When you go to class, you will be guided by your teacher on the best reading materials and where to get Dutch resources. The interactions with your teacher and fellow students (in Dutch) will help you gain confidence fast.
Another effective way of learning Dutch is buying books and English-Dutch dictionaries. The only drawback of this option is that you will not learn proper pronunciations. If you are adamant on teaching yourself the language, you could buy CD-based learning materials to help with pronunciations.
The use of CD-based learning materials and other multimedia such as video guides, games, and quizzes is effective in helping you learn Dutch fast since it prevents boredom. Learning a new language can be frustrating.
Take advantage of the Internet to learn Dutch fast. There are many online Dutch courses that you could enroll in. These courses are as structured as those in a traditional class. This option offers flexibility, anonymity, and cost benefits. You could also use the Internet to learn Dutch by joining a relevant online discussion forum. A forum that has Dutch students or Dutch speakers will help you practice.
Immersion is one of the most effective ways of learning Dutch. If you are luck to live around, school with, or work with Dutch speakers, immerse yourself completely in the language. Speak in Dutch when around Dutch speakers and with time, you will start understanding what they are saying.
Start with the basics (pronunciation, vowels, diphthongs and double vowels, consonants, definite and indefinite articles, personal pronouns, the verb ‘to be’, the verb ‘to have’, the question vorm, numerals, possessive adjectives) as this will make going deeper into the language easier.
If you are going to have success learning Dutch, it is important that you be awake to the fact that the language has a reputation of being hard to master. This is despite the fact that Dutch has simpler grammar compared to other related languages such as German. Understanding the common challenges learners face when learning the language will help you know where you need to put effort.
One reason why some people find learning the language a challenge is the fact that it is difficult for learners to reproduce Dutch words. There are many Dutch word couples (words made up of the same letters) whose meanings are completely different. In these words, only the vowel length is the difference. As an example, boom means tree in Dutch while bom means bomb. You should talk to native speakers and get feedback from them to help you realize your shortcomings.
Like French and German, Dutch nouns have gender (feminine, masculine, and neuter). The genders have 2 articles, de and het. Many English speakers find it difficult to learn the different genders of nouns, which is important for the proper use of personal pronouns. Things are made worse by the fact that some nouns have more than one gender. To get through this challenge, you have to practice each and every day and to have a Dutch dictionary at hand. There rules when it comes to some nouns, but you should not attempt to fit into these rules if you want to learn the genders of different nouns by heart.
When it comes to idioms, the Dutch language is very creative. One would be forgiven to think that the Dutch deliberately use idioms to distinguish native speakers from foreign speakers of the language. Dutch idioms make it easy for you to understand daily conversation and/or context, even when you understand the words individually. To overcome this challenge, be persistent in speaking with native speakers.