Throughout my travels, I have proved over and over that the best way to someone’s heart is by speaking their native tongue. It’s the Nelson Mandela quote all over again. The look on a Dominican’s face when I speak Spanish and help them find their way is rewarding, and one of the easiest ways to be a model citizen. All this is to say, I’m learning Dutch. Wait, what in the world? What for? Long story short, over the years I have continuously run into Dutch people. Then when I moved to Germany in September of last year, I was given the shocking news that I had Dutch cousins. BOOM. Language mission time.
Let’s go Dutch!
The Dutch ruled Indonesia for a total of 342 years, and just this past week on August 17th, Indonesia celebrated its 71st anniversary of independence from the Dutch. The problem was when the Dutch colonized the East Indies; they decided it would be great to make the Dutch language a thing of exclusivity. A caste system was created where only the rich and nobility spoke Dutch as a result of education. Most would think that a lack of a communication would lead to problems, but somehow the Dutch managed to work it out. When they realized they probably would no longer hold the colonies for much longer, they suddenly tried to implement it in the colonial school system. As a result, very few people in the Indonesian community at large actually speak the language of colonization. The people that did were purged by the government, and or in the present day are slowly disappearing due to age.
So you’re just gonna pick it up?
My plan is to model it off the Add1 Challenge by Polyglot Brian Kwong. The goal of this challenge is ultimately to have a 15-minute conversation at the end of 90 days with someone. I participated in this to learn German and having accountability was really helpful. Check out the website here.
I can already speak a bit of Dutch because I go to Holland to visit my relatives across the border and thus hear it continuously. Already being able to speak English helps with cognates and German for grammar. So at this point, all I really have to do is build vocabulary and mix and match. I will be using Benny Lewis’ A2 Level language goals as a guideline. For those of you that are curious, or maybe have learned a language but don’t know how to go further check out this article from my friends at Edulift here. The process is broken down in greater detail and shows that it’s all about baby steps.
Resources in my Arsenal:
- Assimil Dutch with Ease
Books aren’t evil. They are useful if you use them alongside other things.
- Podcasts from Dutch101.com
You need to train pronunciation from day 1 if you want to reduce your accent.
Authentic spoken target language on the streets.
- TuneIn Radio
Daily listening is needed. Hearing words and phrases live magically activates them in your brain and locks them in your long term memory.
- Random language PDFS in my Computer
For lengthier grammar explanations.
Language teachers are also a good thing, but further down the road for me.
- Friends and family that speak Dutch
DUH! These people can give amazing and honest feedback. Never underestimate the power of speaking with people.
As you can see, there is no one size fits all solution. Every language you tackle has to be done differently. The beautiful truth is that it’s all possible! As long as we’re willing to keep searching for adventure, and hitting it in the face, we’ll be ok.