One month in…I’ve been studying Dutch rather intensively for 31 days. So far so good I would say. It not been easy I’ll be honest. The first week or so I powered through some topic stuff e.g. talking about myself, shopping, ordering meals, and asking directions. This was great fun and a brilliant way to build up my vocabulary bank. I have surprised myself with how much I know as well as how hard certain things have been.
Learning a language, I think, is a bit like learning to drive. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks or so doing theory work, learning about different tenses and word orders and at times it has got me down and frustrated because I have focused so much on theory I haven’t been speaking as much as I would have wanted to and this is something I am going to change in the next 30 days leading up to my first official class lesson.
It has been great fun up to yet and I do celebrate the small (sometimes very small) achievements. I’ve got reference cards coming out of my ears but it will all come together.
For now I fully understand each of the sections I have covered and with the pages in front of me I can translate and understand about 80% which feels really good, my problems come when I’m put on the spot. If someone was to speak to me now I don’t think I would have a clue if I’m being quiet honest. I have found that when I tell someone you are learning a language the first thing they say is “Say something to me in Dutch”, not aside from the obvious “Ik ben Maria” I do get a little lost from their onwards. I have run through a few ‘scenarios’ e.g. talking about going to the cinema etc. and this is something I am going to build up. When I studied GCSE French part of the speaking exam was centered around 12 or so questions on different themes with the last two questions being about continual speech for a up to five minutes. I am going to try and replicate this with the Dutch. I want to build up a catalog of question and answers on different topics. Now this might be something we do on my course, it probably is but I want to use my course as a way to build up my confidence and my speaking supplementing this with what I have learnt myself and what I will continually aim to do along side home study and this blog.
In short I am loving the language so for and cant wait to just start improving. Hoping to book a little trip over to Holland before Christmas (or just whenever the hell I can get over there!) to try it all out on the unsuspecting Dutch public. I am sure my class will help with the speaking too.
I do feel like I have spent so much time learning theory that i haven’t been as actively talkative as I NEED to be. The truth is I’m still nervous about it and in my head i sound like an idiot. I’ve taken to talking to my dogs in Dutch, they haven’t got a clue and to be honest neither have I!
I got asked that awkward question the other day “why are you learning Dutch?” I’m learning it for me! I’m not out to prove myself to anyone but myself. I’m not doing it for a boy, or for a job or for school I am learning it to prove it to myself that I can go over there and be super confident and independent in the little things like restaurants, bars, shops. I can’t wait for the day I can be in Holland and not depend on anyone but me.
The next 3 weeks I’m going to be talking, talking, talking. Not that that will be too difficult given the length of my blog posts and how much I rabble on!