Ik spreek Nederlands: Documenting a journey of learning a new language

Learning a brand new language is never easy. It feels daunting to think that almost every word in English has its foreign counterpart. Some words may have letters that need a diacritical. A word might change completely. And it’s never as simple as translating a sentence word for word.

All of that binds together in your mind and suddenly you feel as though your brain is on fire. The thought of learning a new language may send a shiver down your spine – especially if you are required to learn it – but just how hard is it exactly to learn a new language? Is it really as hard as it looks?

First and foremost it really comes down to your approach to languages. Some people are born to be scientists but that goes nowhere to indicate a person’s strength and knowledge in other aspects of life. You may find it easy to learn a new language. You may not. But your approach is important. How are you going to learn? What resources will you use? Are you going to pay for tuition? Are you going to download an app?

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I wanted to find out just how hard it can be. I remember my high-school days learning French at GCSE. That was difficult. But the part of interest here is that I can remember very little after just five years since my last lesson. Perhaps that is down to the fact that I just haven’t been practicing it during that time. It’s a shame. However if I’m going to pick up a language I may as well start from scratch, right?

I decided to start to start learning Dutch though I wanted to take a casual approach to the language. I wanted to be able to practice and learn here and there rather than have a fixed schedule. I did some research. I downloaded some apps. I set myself off on what would surely be thrilling adventure.

My partner is from the Netherlands, in fact, and I have a number of Dutch friends. It makes for the perfect exercise really. I have been practicing for some time now and I think it’s finally time I put it to the test.

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I decided to flex my fingers and my brain and get to work. But I’m not going to tell you the result just yet. You’ll have to wait for that!

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