Now what is everyone expecting from my second lesson? If you’ve read about My First Dutch Lesson you’ll know my expectations weren’t all that high. I was right to have such low expectations.
I was late, the weather is awful here at the moment it literally hasn’t stopped raining now for nearly a week! Plus (as I found out later on) Lady Gaga is in town tonight so there is literally NO carparking in Birmingham at all! As you can imagine I’m not all that happy being soaking wet and parking a million miles away from the college. On the upside, I walked in just as the final slide of “Dutch Culture” was being discussed, from what I could gather the topic was the monarchy and political structure. Nothing I probably didn’t already know (and quite possibly already blogged about!). So I wasn’t all that bothered about missing that.
We then covered the vowel again. The differences between the sounds of ‘a’ and ‘aa’, ‘u’ and ‘uu’. So we very briefly recovered what we did last week (lets face it the 3 sentences from last time as never going to take too long to recap) even the tutor laughed at how little we had covered. From the vocab list she gave us last week she now had a passage to read out to us. Everything was looking up and the passage was really good. The idea was that the tutor read it out, we told her what we understood about it. I understood a good 85-90% of it and was very impressed, I think the tutor was shocked at how much the group knew. Here is the text she gave us.
Hallo, ik heet Rosa. Mijn naam is genoemd naar een roos. Ik hoop dat het goed gaat met jou?
Ik woon in Nederland. Het is twee januari, winter en erg koud. Brrr…Alles is wit van de sneeuw. Mijn hand, voet, oor, neus en vinger zijn koud. Het voelt alsof ik in een vriezer sta. Ik wens dat ik in mijn huis was. Lekker in bad met warm water.
Ik lig in bed en lee een boek over een student die op de keukenvloer gras plant. Ik denk nij mijzelf “die student is gek!” Mama is in de kamer aan de telefoon. Zij praat luid. Ik lig in bed, maar kan niet slapen. De deur is open en mama praat luid. Maar als ik het licht uit doe, val ik in slap.
We then had another vocab list “Bits of Basics…” which was just loads of every day words, still no actual useful sentences, and again with there being 13 people in the class, asking people at random to say certain words seems to take FOREVER! The basic words are all words I have covered give or take one or two. (So far so good with this lesson!)
Vocab List 2 came out then a list of objecten en werkwoorden (Objects and Verbs). We seemed to fly over Vocab list 2 at great speed. The verbs too went by rather rapidly. I must admit there are a few more verbs on this list I didn’t know so I would have liked a little more work on this. Then from nowhere with no explanation (I don’t know how the super unexperienced language learners even knew what was going on) we where talked through how to conjugate a verb.
With no explanation of how to change the verb, or how to know the internal vowel changes etc. we where then asked to conjugate certain verbs from the set list. No help, no guidance just form these 20 or so verbs. I was ok, there where a few I wasn’t too sure on but felt like I could quite comfortable have a go at every one.
Some of the verbs we had to conjugate: voelen, willen, wachten, proeven, rennen, fietsen, luisteren, gebruken…
I saw some people really struggle with it. How where they supposed to know that, for example, proeven which means ‘to taste’ changes completely to become: ik proef, jij proeft, wij proeven, geproeft. It took me at least 5 minutes to remember the rules. When it came to going through them all apparently we didn’t have enough time so right now I am none the wiser as to the ones I got right and the ones I didn’t. I think she may have read out 4 or 5.
Then we got on to ‘t Kofschip. I haven’t actually blogged specifically out it so I will do in the very near future. This was explained in possibly the worst and most complex way ever. Even I got confused and I understand it! This is why I am going to blog seperatly about it for anyone who might be struggling with it, from my experience and my learning it is pretty darned straight forward, when its explained correctly. Which it wasn’t.
I think the problem in my class is the confidence the tutor emits. I totally understand that teaching a language is difficult and a class full of eager faces hanging on your every word is bound to be a little intimidating. But this class just starts to feel more and more awkward. When your tutor can say “participle” in English you know it’s going to be funny but there is a level where that funniness turns into a weird sort of tiring and pitiful laugh. It made me feel awkward anyway.
At this point apparently we all looked a little glassed over (and you wonder why?!) so she said she had a video planned for us to watch, it was a Dutch song. Now followers of my blog will know I enjoy a good Dutch tune. The “really good” song she wanted to share with us was by Ramses Shaffy its called Zing vecht huil bid lach werk en bewonder. Yeah I wouldn’t be in any rush to go listen to it but I’ve linked the youtube video here just in case you fancy it. Once we had started the ‘t Kofschip I knew it was going down hill a little. The last 15 minutes was what really grated on my, we’d come this far, actually got in to the useful knowledge of stuff and then the tutor puts on a youtube video of a man in Amsterdam exploring the Red Light District, smoking his first joint, visiting the Heineken Brewery and interviewing a sex worker on what he believed was the most important thing to ask “do you actually get an orgasm from clients?” The tutor believed that it was a really important Dutch culture topic for us to talk about as a group, now in my opinion what is more important is looking at conjugating actual verbs and making up a full and useable sentence (or maybe I am the only one to think like that with it being a language course and everything).
So yep, if you’ve actually read this far you can tell I’m disappointed by things. Apparently we wont be covering actual sentences until week 4! Really?! Week 4?! It’s hard to practice the oral side to language learning and this course really isn’t doing it for me. It takes us forever to get to the important aspects and when we do its not explained in a way that quantifies or reaffirms what I have already covered let alone teaches me something new. I am going to send an email to my tutor and explain my difficulties and (in a positive way) my lack of interest in learning about Dutch culture, after 6 years I’m pretty sound with the names of the monarchy and the customs in Amsterdam after dark.