Improve your Dutch or pay the price!

New rules from the Dutch Government that came in to force earlier this year mean that people with poor language skills will be forced improve themselves by attending language classes or suffer the consequences.  This rule is for people claiming benefits in Holland. Those who refuse to improve themselves risk having their benefits cut. 20% for the first 12 months before being cut all together if no improvement is made.

It sounds like a harsh new rule but one I thought would harness debate. 

Continue reading Improve your Dutch or pay the price!

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Technology – taking the learning out of language

57008980With technology evolving faster than us humble humans are are we risking the lessons learnt by developing a second language? My smartphone is never more than a meter away form me, sad i know but its true. Its not shock that the little handheld device is clever than me but should it be that clever that I no longer have to study?!

Continue reading Technology – taking the learning out of language

The thin line between what you want to say and what you actually say!

There is a thin line between getting something right and getting something completely wrong and Dutch, being the lovely guttural language that it is has its fair share! I had a comment recently on my blog asking if I was a hedgehog. Alas my prickles and love for rolling in leaves make me an over grown child not a garden loving creature who roams about in the dead of night. Just for the record I don’t actually have prickles!

I’ve spoken a lot before about mistakes Dutch people make in English so i thought it was only fair to repay the insult and discuss the subtle but embarrassing mistakes we make when trying to drag our selves around The Netherlands.

Animal-memes-hedgehog-in-a-baking-traySpot the difference:

ben jij egels? – Are you a hedgehog? 

ben jij engels? – Are you english? 

Another one:

Ik ben hete Maria – I am hot Maria  – This was my first attempt at introducing myself. It was subtly laughed off at the time as apparently its a common mistake!

What I meant to say (obvs): Ik ben heet Maria – I am called Maria 

Now to the uneducated Dutch learning British gal these sentences sound exactly the same.

Ik hou van vis – I like fish

Ik hou van vies – I like it dirty

I’m not one to just judge, maybe there is a use for both sentences in some peoples vocabulary 😉

So there we have it. The difference can be a vowel, or simply the pronunciation of it. There are hundreds of mistakes easily made in Dutch many more than I can’t remember right now, maybe helped with the fact that autocorrect changes what we mean if the dictionary is or isn’t activated or if we get the pronunciations of our vowels a little off. Its these are the mistakes that are worth making rather than getting tenses mixed up which is simply frustrating. Inspiration came from a hilarious little video The Dutch Review had on the bottom of one of their posts last week! Check it out!

THINGS PEOPLE ASK WHEN YOU SAY YOU’RE LEARNING DUTCH

Over on The Dutch Review this week I have shared my experiences in Leaning Dutch. Head over there and check it out!


I could quite comfortably write reams and reams on this topic therefore I thought limiting myself wasn’t such a bad idea. In this post I am going to talk about 5 English responses and 5 Dutch responses you can expect when you tell someone you are learning Dutch. These are genuine responses I have had from people when they’ve found out that I’m attempting to learn, and I quote, “Freaky Deeky Dutch”.

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I’ve got a confession…

I haven’t done any Dutch for…wait for it…7 weeks tomorrow. How bad is that?!

Even I’m appalled. Apart from my flirtation with the language in Breda the other week I haven’t even looked at it. Two reasons:

1. I haven’t had the actual time. When I’ve not been in work I’ve been unconscious trying to catch up on sleep.

2. I’ve lost my motivation! This is what upsets me most. I’m putting reason No.2 down to reason No.1.

One fuels the other and as I’m lacking both right now theres no massive surprise I’m finding it difficult. My ‘other life’ is demanding a little more focus than my Dutch one at the moment.

So…

Suggestions in getting my mojo back? Any thing? Any offers? My current plan involved the translation of Jip en Janneke Book1. For a children’s book its pretty intense and although I am vehemently against writing in books I am prepared to see this book as a learning tool. Lets face it I haven’t had time to read the 4 other new books that have been sat on my book shelf for the last 4 months! Maybe when work gets a little quieter…like that is going to happen for a while! So yeah if you have any suggestions or input into getting my Dutch-mojo back let me know! Until then I’ll be sat with my Dutch buddies Jip en Janneke, a dictionary, a pencil and a highlighter.