Dutch the easy way
August 30, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

I would like to learn to speak Dutch. Would it be better to move to London and practice Dutch on weekends in the Netherlands, or just relocate there for full immersion?

Is moving to a country the language of which I'm not familiar Sysiphean, or a fast track to fluency?
posted by four panels to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Move to Belgium, you can learn Dutch and French !
posted by Baud at 9:14 AM on August 30, 2007

Recipe for disaster. What are the other factors about why you'd want to move?
posted by lilithim at 9:35 AM on August 30, 2007

Most people in the Netherlands are fluent in English (especially the kids). If you speak broken Dutch to them they will likely speak back to you in English.

So living there may not be as immersive as you imagine.

I don't think it's a recipe for disaster. Just be careful, because you'll be able to get away with speaking very little Dutch while you are there.

Favourite Dutch word: gezellig

posted by stungeye at 10:08 AM on August 30, 2007

I agree with stungeye. My husband is Dutch, so I have been there many times. I find the people are friendly and most of the younger people do speak English. Not so with the older generations. I have a very hard time speaking to my husband's grandmother, for instance.

I think you should just go to the Netherlands! The Dutch signs, television and people will make your job a lot easier. I wish I could go for an extended period of time! Try watching their children's television shows. There is a "sweet little bunny" whose song will get stuck in your head foreeeever.

posted by theantikitty at 10:29 AM on August 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: previous askme

I'd say you could try a multi-step approach:
1. learn dutch grammar and vocabulary to be able to read dutch and understand spoken dutch. Maybe you can follow a course in NY?
2. provide exposure to the language by hearing it. Get dutch podcasts (here's a podcast on learning basic dutch), find a way to rent DVDs where you can turn on Dutch subtitles (probably in London you'd be able to get DVDs for the European region), listen to Dutch radio and watch Dutch tv online. Read about a subject of your interest in Dutch online by selecting the language Dutch in Google.
3. do a one week or two week course in the Netherlands
4. find the Dutch community in NY.
5. then maybe move here. Of course you can move here first too. I'm not sure about the administrative details.

Btw I'm doing some Dutch conversation 'lessons' with a mefite from SF. It's a trade: she will help me with the English of my thesis. Maybe you can set up something similar.

Visit the small upcoming meetup in Amsterdam on the 15th. :-) Although chances are that we'll speak English since there's a mefite from the US/UK.

Maybe she'll chime in with her experiences in learning Dutch.

Oh, and it's true that most of us switch rather easily to english so that will make it a bit harder to learn Dutch. So you'll have to have a basic fluency to 'force' us to speak Dutch to you. :-)

My email is in my profile. We could discuss this over Skype if you want.
posted by jouke at 11:21 AM on August 30, 2007

« Older Won'tchew, don'tchew, can'tchew separate your...   |   Scrolling Sideways Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.