Dutch Primary Schools to Conduct 15% of Their Lessons in English

Dutch primary schools will soon be able to conduct 15% of lessons in English, French or German in an effort to boost language skills. Junior Education Minister Sander Dekker wants to extend the use of other languages following successful trials that shows young children pick up foreign languages more quickly. It’s no secret to anybody that I’m learning Dutch, I have been doing so now for nearly 10 months. I’m in my 20’s now and fitting in as many Dutch hours as possible but it’s hard!

I am British and went to English schools. I was never even introduced to another language until I went to secondary school when I started learning French aged 10. At age 14 I did one academic year of German, most of which I have completely forgotten (Geburtstag means Birthday right?)! Is my French any good? Meh. Well I lie; I can watch Engrenages rather well only refereeing to the subtitles occasionally and still get the gist of what’s going on. The truth of the matter is that learning a language is hard. I have talked on this topic many times on my blog, about my motivations and my methods but in actual fact, and science has proven this, learning a language from a young age improves recallmemory and future prospects. I have many friends speaking many different languages and it has set them all up really well now we in adult life.

Language dictionaries

Continue reading Dutch Primary Schools to Conduct 15% of Their Lessons in English

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Pre-Level 2 Exam Worries

D-2 days! De laatste les is op woensdag 25 maart. Wij doen dan ook het examen.

Feeling rather apprehensive of this for some reason. I think its because I had a script for my Level 1 Exam. There is no real script to practice from for a ‘general conversation’ try as I might to write one. Within level 2 we haven’t covered set topics as such to be certain of conversation areas. In many of our group discussions we talk about ANYTHING some examples have been: “Who should pay on the first date – the man, the woman or 50:50?”, “Do you prefer shoes with a high heel or flat?”, “What is your favourite animal?”, “Tell me about your daily life.” You see there is no real structure for that, it is an open book. Which makes revision so much harder!

I have been listening to Dutch Radio, and Dutch bloggers on Youtube but its not been easy! I am conscious of the fact that I haven’t been over to the Netherlands since November so I’m hitting 5 months away from it. Basically the entire time in which I have been trying to learn it. It will be interesting when I next go over to see just how much I know. I’ll probably pick up a lot more and understand a lot more than I expect. The key is talking slowly to me! I can get the gist if you speak correctly and slowly…I think!

Things I am most worried about:

  1. Panicking. Sitting there and not knowing what on earth is going on.
  2. Not knowing the right word.
  3. Getting my tenses wrong! I’m pretty good talking about ‘here and now’ but I get SO confused on my tenses when put on the spot!
  4. Sounding / Looking like an idiot. I think this is my biggest problem in general. Dutch is a language with words and sounds that don’t come naturally to me. I have only just mastered that guttural ‘g-he’ sound.

 

So here are my Main Exam Tips that I use and encourage you all to do too!

  • Slow Down. The conversation is 5 minutes. There is no prize for finishing first, just more talking and more questions!
  • Be Confident. I know this is easier said than done. For me especially! We are supposed to be talking Dutch confidently and as fluently as possible, its time to speak with conviction. What is the worst that can happen? Most people in my class don’t understand dmy accent when speaking English. They’ve got NO chance understanding my Dutch!
  • Dont panic. I’ve decided that if I don’t know the exact word my method will be to describe what I mean. I have talk about this technique before. Whether under pressure I will be able to actually do this I’m not sure but I’m giving it my best shot.

 

Level 3 starts on 22nd April. Technically a month away. It is the last one. As of September the are re-running level 1 again. There isn’t a 2nd Year which is a shame! The Entry Level 3 will focus on:

  • Pronunciation
  • Verbs
  • Word Order
  • Past and Present Tense
  • History and Culture
  • Understanding and interpretation
  • Fluency

I have thought about the options of doing level 3 or not. Its 10 more weeks. Its not going to do my Dutch any harm and after the last 6 months of lessons I don’t have any other plans for a wednesday night. I think I am going to do it. I have to enrol on Wednesday, providing I pass my test obviously!

I’m going to try and squeeze and hour of revision in tonight. I’m definitely not going to have time to do it tomorrow. I could have and probably should have done more. Anyway Grote Success to everyone in my class. Exams are shit regardless but they are there for a reason! Alles komt goed!

Christmas Break Revision

Over the festive season my Dutch practice has indeed slipped, like that wasn’t expected! Its holiday time and I have been enjoying some very splendid family time. Everyone has that confusing dead week in between Christmas and New Year when nobody knows what the actual day is and you can’t quite stop eating the small mountain of Christmas chocolates and biscuits. I can definitely resonate with the “What did you get for Christmas? I got fat!” mantra. Anyway aside from my expanding waistline I’m here to talk about all things Dutch. holiday-fat-weight-gain-eat-christmas-season-ecards-someecards

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Practice Makes Perfect…not quite reached the perfect yet!

I’m off to Amsterdam, granted for only one night, at the end of this month. Then I have a few days away with my best Dutch buddy to practice on and hopefully get over my embarrassment of speaking and using what I know!

Time to recap my vocabulary. Today I covered 3 weeks of vocabulary and two sets of verbs *melted brain* indeed! Vocabulary 3 has been the hardest for me. You can find those details in this post here. I think its because I haven’t heard much from this list.

Continue reading Practice Makes Perfect…not quite reached the perfect yet!

Een nieuw huis voor Tom!

A great way of learning a language in the context of actual sentences and stories is children’s books. There are a few really famous Dutch ones and i have managed to come across some pdf stories. I’ve found quiet a few about a dog named Waldo, some are generic and some are Christmas themed. I’ve saved them all onto my laptop but cant find what website I found them from to tell you all. I will tag the pdf in this post though if any of you fancy a read. I was quite impressed with how much I understood of the text i read “EEN NIEUW HUIS VOOR TOM“. I’d say from the first read through I understood about 60%. When I went through it again page by page that probably increased to about 75%. I was very impressed. Here is my understanding of the story on a semi-page by page basis:Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 22.51.18

Continue reading Een nieuw huis voor Tom!