Waarom Leer Ik Nederlands? | Why Am I Learning Dutch?

2014-09-27 18.15.24

As most of you know, I am currently learning Dutch. I am self teaching myself at the moment after being inspired by Irish polyglot, Benny Lewis, who is living proof that you can learn any language in any environment if you just put your mind to it. If you are currently learning a language (or would like to), I recommend checking out his websiteYouTube and book for some extremely helpful tips and tricks to successful language learning. But this post isn’t about Benny, it’s about me! More specifically, why I adore the Dutch language. So other than stating the obvious, here are a couple of reasons why I am learning Dutch (and loving it!)

1) It’s a language that just makes sense. Dutch is concise and to the point. New words are made by joining smaller words together. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Amsterdam Museum. I read the english descriptions for each exhibit, but occasionally came across a word and wondered what it’s Dutch equivalent was. That day I learnt the translation for octopus in Dutch is inkvis. Literally translated as ink fish. Another day, I learned that hoofdstad meant capital. Hoofd = Head. Stad = City. Head city = Capital. It. Just. Makes. Sense! All languages should be this clear and simple!

2) Spraakkunst*. English meaning: Grammar. Literal translation – SPEECH ART! I couldn’t agree more 🙂

3) I like the sound of it. Dutch reminds me a little bit of Irish when it’s spoken. It has a distinct melody, a bit of a lilt that resonates with me. I listen to a lot of Dutch radio, and even though I don’t understand the majority of what the presenters are saying, it is as if they are Irish speaking nonsensically!

 4) It’s not a common language that many people choose to learn. In Ireland, French, German and Spanish are the main languages taught in the majority of secondary schools. Even at university level, I have yet to come across someone who has chosen to study Dutch as a language to degree level. I was told by an uncle of mine that I should forget Dutch and learn German instead. Sure, German may be more useful to me in the EU, but I like it. I’ve been exposed to it; I’ve been immersed in the culture. Plus, it’s fun!

5) It’s not German. But it is related so it will help me when the time comes to learn it! It may be my biased love of the Netherlands blinding me, or hanging around with Dutch friends who like to tell anti-German jokes a lot, but I like Dutch more 😛 (This is not me hating on Germans, I have some lovely German friends – and German is one of my next languages to learn!!)

6) Lekker! This is one of my favourite words (as well as gezellig of course). It is directly related to food and can be translated as yummy or tasty. So naturally you may tell your waitress your meal was lekker. But that boy/girl you like may also be lekker. The weather can be lekker (or niet zo lekker as the case often is!), and at night time, you tell someone to slaap lekker! I don’t know about you, but sleeping deliciously sounds good to me!

7) The lack of rules! In French there are rules to know if words as masculine or feminine and sentences follow certain general structures. In Dutch, there are guidelines to know if a word takes a gender or is neuter, and even if you follow them to a tee you still may not be correct. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve asked a native speaker why a sentence is structured in a certain way. The answer is always there is no reason, it just is! I’ve come to understand and strangely appreciate this confusing language. Frustrating sometimes, but it keeps you on your toes always.

8) It’s a challenge. And I like my challenges. Now that I’m not longer studying, I need something semi-academic to keep my brain ticking over. Today I decided to formalise my learning slightly and create a reference folder, largely inspired by Maria, who is probably the only person who understands my love of the language and all things Dutch right now!! I was a little disorganised in my language learning so far. My brain seems to like remembering foreign words and working out grammatical rules… so far! Having physical backup is always a good idea!

Are you currently learning a language? If not, have you ever considered learning Dutch? 😉



*This word actually inspired me to write this post today! Who else is a spraakkunst nerd?!!


12 thoughts on “Waarom Leer Ik Nederlands? | Why Am I Learning Dutch?

  1. I’m trying to learn Dutch but it’s just so hard – everytime I talk Dutch to someone in a shop they reply in English, also the embarrassment of having to admit you can’t speak Dutch well enough to understand some questions in shops – why do they love gift-wrapping so much? I do not have that vocabulary!

    • Give it time. I am literally taking baby steps. I watch Dutch kids shows all the time at the moment – the more I watch, the more I understand! It is really annoying when people speak English to you (and you realise that their English is often better than your own!! 😛 ) but you can always ask them to speak in Dutch, or if they reply to you in English, just respond to them in Dutch to get your point across!!
      Have you tried duolingo to supplement your learning? I find it really helpful and I remember grammatical structures with ease now because of it!

      • Yeah duolingo is absolutely fantastic, helping so much! I am also not having any formal lessons which makes it harder

  2. Aw sweetie I love this post and I am so thrilled that you enjoy my blog! I love yours too! I would give anything to be out exploring The Netherlands like you are!

    I share the exact same reasons for learning Dutch! Another one of my favourite Dutch words in “Winkle” meaning “shop”, for me “Ga je naar de winkelcentrum? ” is just a crazy sentence!

    Oh and I always used to think that German and Dutch where basically the same but actually when you listen to them together, I drove to Aken in German from Holland, their languages sound totally different. Although I have been laughed at enough times for having a German accent especially when pronouncing numbers, I put that to learning German at secondary school and the numbers being the majority of what I can actually remember!

    I am really enjoying teaching myself at the moment but my night class starts this week so I am hoping that will bring on my actual speaking rather than just reading and listening.

    Keep up the good work hun, we’ll both be fluent this time next year!

    Maria xx

    • Vandaag ga ik niet naar de winkelcentrum 🙂
      I’m excited for you to start your night classes, and sharing what you have learned with us on your blog. Best of luck!!

  3. Wow, bloody amazing… Not one but two people who actually enjoy the dutch language! Even though it’s my native language, my dutch grammar sucks (though to be fair, all of my grammar sucks, I can learn languages well, I just hate grammar in general. The main reason my english is relitively faultless is because english grammar is more intuitive than dutch or german or french (all lanhuages I speak with differring levels of proficiency))… Most non-dutch people I know thinks dutch sounds uglym but they learn it because they live here and want to be able to participate in society…. Two people (maria and you) actually liking the language is a bit surreal to me. I hope you keep enjoying our harsh g’s our nonsensical grammar rules and some of our lovely words (because we do have lovely words). I’ll go on and try too get over the shock lol

    • I love grammar 🙂 I speak French and I find French grammar quite intuitive, but I’m slowly getting the hang of Dutch. I am still at a very basic level and I’m treating myself like a child. At the moment I am obsessed with Nintje…. haha. I’m lucky in a sense because the Irish language is often extremely confusing grammatically speaking, so if I can master that, I can hopefully get on ok with Dutch!!

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