How to: learn Dutch

Not to sound arrogant, but Dutch people, especially students, are pretty okay when it comes to English. Well, mostly. We can tell you about the times in goes wrong. But it’s quite possible to get around Groningen without speaking Dutch. Most people who you come in contact with are happy to practice their English on you. But, well, it might make you feel lonely if you’re the only non-Dutch speaking person at the party. Maybe you should learn some Dutch?
Getting closer to our culture, getting a job, getting to know more people, making everything easier: there are a lot of reasons to start learning Dutch.

Can you say ingewikkeld?

Dutch is a weird language. Dutch people are very surprised if someone starts learning it, let alone master it. So how difficult is it? Well, that depends on what your native language is and which other languages you speak. Dutch is a Germanic language, so if you speak German or English (which you probably do, since you are reading this, right?), you have a head start. There are a lot of similarities. Grammar-wise Dutch is more difficult than English, but not as complex as German. Pronunciation can be a problem tough as there are a lot of hard G’s, the letter combination “sch”, “ch” and wonderful sounds like “eu”, “ou” and “ui”.

Some handy tools for you

Off course, we will provide you with some helpful tools!

Duolingo
This website (and app) is amazing. It’s a free platform to learn languages, without hidden fee’s or ads. The courses use gamification to make learning more fun and Duolingo reminds you to practice. Duolingo is a good place to start: it’ll learn you the basics of the language, words, and grammar. It’s not that good for practicing conversation, though.

Hello Talk
This is an app that you can use to apply what Duolingo has taught you. Find someone to swap languages with, and correct each others sentences.

Café de las lenguas
The best way to learn a language is to just do it. It might be frightening, but jumping in the deep is the easiest way to improve! You can’t do that alone, of course, do you’ll need to find people to help you. Every week PS Koffie organizes a language café.  There is also a Facebook group you can use to meet people. It’s free, it’s easy and you can use the group to see if anyone can help you.

There are so many things you can do! The best way is to combine multiple tools. You can also try to read books, watch television and ask your friends to speak Dutch to you. For more tips on language learning, check out Fluent in 3 months, a pretty interesting blogs on multilingualism.

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