The beginning of a New Year is for some a chance to start over and for some the continuation of something great. It is also the perfect moment to set some goals. I came up with the plan to finally learn Dutch in 2021. The beginning of a New Year here in Groningen felt like the perfect moment to get somewhat serious about this. But adding a language course to my already busy schedule did not seem possible at all. So I started looking for ways to improve my language knowledge in a fun and easy way. Whether you just moved to the Netherlands or you have been living here for years and struggle with the same problem, this blog is for you. We have come up with some tips and resources to help you get started.
How to start?
As with most things, finding a good way to start is usually the hardest. Especially in learning a new language, the beginning can easily become frustrating. The task of having to memorize vocabularies is – at least for me – connected to memories of weekly vocabulary tests in school. Not necessarily the most fun and motivating memory.
This time I was looking for a more fun, less pressured, and quick way of learning vocabulary and I found it. On Quizlet, you can create sets of vocabulary and use different kinds of learning and testing techniques. It is an easy and quick way to learn new words in a ten-minute session. To help you get started, we have come up with some basic phrases and words and added them into a set you can access here. Once you are done with this one you can find more sets online.
Broadening your knowledge
Learning vocabulary – no matter how fun the quizzes are – still feels like work, and not necessarily fun work. The goal is to memorize some basic phrases and words and then move on to broaden this knowledge. The easiest way to do so is simply getting used to hearing and reading Dutch. The more the language is around you, the more words you can pick up.
The easiest thing that can be added to your day, is putting on some music. Listening to Dutch music will mean in the beginning that most of the lyrics are a mystery to you. But you will notice soon the more you listen to certain songs, the more words will stand out and get stuck in your head. For finding Dutch songs you like, you can access two different playlists on Spotify here and here. You can click through the songs and we hope you will find something that fits your taste in music.
Improving writing and reading skills
A great way to get familiar with a language and the way it is used in writing is by reading a book in the language. Though in the beginning, it can be overwhelming to read through a full novel in a foreign language. An easy way to start is by reading a children’s book and then moving one’s way up to the more advanced literature. You could also look for a book you have read before and know from the inside out. This way you already know what the words are supposed to mean, and you only have to match the meaning. The reading will help you to learn how the language is used in writing.
Dutch in a motion picture
The ultimate combination of both listening and reading – and in my opinion the most fun way to learn – is watching a movie or series in Dutch. For beginners, it will be easiest to watch in your preferred language and only turn on Dutch subtitles. This way you will be able to fully enjoy the movie but still pick up some words. If that seems way too easy for you, you could do it the other way around, watching a movie in Dutch with subtitles in your language. Since most foreign movies are not dubbed in Dutch, it might be harder to find the right movie for this step. To make things easier we have come up with some recommendations for Dutch movies to watch. Once this task has turned into an easy exercise, the next and highest level awaits. Try to watch the whole movie or episode without any subtitles.
Minoes: A cat who turns into a young woman helps a journalist protect their town from a factory boss with an evil plan.
Undercover: Inspired by real events, undercover agents infiltrate a drug kingpin’s operation by posing as a couple at the campground where he spends his weekends.
Verliefd op Ibiza: A vacation to Ibiza with a lot of parties. A part of a family lives on the island and the rest is visiting and that causes a lot of drama.
Bankier van verzet: In Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, banker brothers Walraven and Gijs van Hall face their greatest challenge yet when they decide to help fund the Dutch resistance.
In Oranje: An 11-year-old talented soccer player, Remco, has one big dream: to be selected for the national team under 12 years. His father Erik coaches him and everything seems to work out fine, until…
All Stars: Leading up to their 500th match, the late twenty-something members of a Dutch amateur soccer team have their intimate bond put to the test as they each find themselves facing increasing responsibilities off the pitch.
Bro’s before hoes: Two brothers have their friendship put to the test when they both fall in love with the same girl.
New Kids nitro: Five friends from ‘Maaskantje’ are getting fired because of the economic crisis. They decide that they won’t pay for anything anymore.
Descriptions copied from IMDb.