The Dutch language certainly isn’t the easiest language to learn, and even after living here for nearly two years, I’m still struggling with Dutch grammar. However, there are a few easy steps you can take that will really noticeably improve your Dutch.
Read: Anything and everything. As long as it’s in Dutch it really doesn’t matter. I read Jip and Janneke story books, and Pluk van de Petteflet. This will increase the amount of Dutch words and phrases that you will learn. Invest in a good dictionary to help. I use The New Routledge Dutch Dictionary because it has Dutch to English, and English to Dutch translations.
Listen to Dutch Radio: Not only will this help you learn Dutch pronunciation, it will help you with vocabulary and spelling. When you hear a word you don’t know you can easily look it up to find the translation. You will also see how it is supposed to be written. This is an extra bonus and will aid you when it comes to writing in Dutch. I listen to BNR radio.
Watch Dutch Television: Make sure you have the subtitles on. This way you can read what you are hearing at the same time. Some TV shows that are broadcast in English have Dutch subtitles in them already, but you have to really pay attention to them. If you hear a word seven times (not one after the other) it will stick in your head.
Practise at every available opportunity: Learning Dutch is made easier by practise. If you don’t use it, then you forget it. Stick at it – I know how difficult it is when a Dutch person hears you’re English and replies to you in English. Just keep replying in Dutch. There are loads of ways to do this. There is a Dutch meetup you can go to, and if you have a couchsurfer profile you can improve your Dutch at speakers corner.
Enroll in a class: Dutch grammar is complicated, and confusing and it’s so much easier when you have a teacher at hand to explain it all to you, in a way that you can understand. It also means you will use it every week, and you will see an improvement. I go to Mercuurtaal because it’s cheap, and the teachers are good.
Do you have any other tips for improving your Dutch?