Back in August, I attended a conference in Montreal which was all about polyglots and languages: Langfest. So many attendees at the conference had name-tags that said which languages they spoke or were learning to speak. Most people had 3 or more; several were even on their 7th or 8th language! While I was there, I started thinking on what my next language would be. Italian or Portuguese are obvious choices since they are so close to French and Spanish; they’d likely be relatively easier to learn. But they don’t inspire in me a strong desire to learn them right now. Then there was a quick presentation on Icelandic, which seems interesting! It’d be quite a challenge to learn it, though. So, I left the conference without a chosen language, and decided to think on it for a little bit.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to Automattic’s Grand Meetup, where all of my colleagues from around the world gather for 1 week of work and socializing. You can see some of my friend’s posts here: Lisa, Stephen, Kathryn, Ryan. While I was there, I chatted a bit with Ines, a colleague from the Netherlands. And that’s when it hit me: Dutch!
So I’ve started looking for Dutch courses in Montreal. I’m not finding any, though. I asked on Twitter for help, and another one of my colleagues, Mark, said this:
Great question, Mark! Here’s why I’ve settled on Dutch:
- I want to learn a 4th language as a personal challenge, but I also don’t want something TOO hard so that I don’t get discouraged along the way; I can try a hard one for my 5th. 🙂
- Dutch is close to English in many ways (written and spoken) which might make learning it a bit easier, but different enough that it will still require a lot of work and practice to get right. It feels like a good balance.
- I love flying KLM and have been through AMS-Schiphol airport a few times; maybe one day I’ll actually get to visit Amsterdam too! It’d be great to have at least a fair grasp of the language if I do.
- I’d like Automattic’s Grand Meetup to be in Europe one year, and Amsterdam would be a GREAT location for flights. Look at this!
So, those are the reasons! My motivation doesn’t have any deep meaning behind it or anything; I just want to see if I can do it!
So, my first step is to get some books & CDs from the library. I will also watch videos online. For example, I’ve started watching these:
They’re good, but I need more structure to learn.I’d love to be in a class and learn along with other people. To that end, I signed up on a site called Multilingual Cafe, and hope that a class will open at some point. If you’re in Montreal and also want to learn Dutch, sign up for a group session! (Thanks to Isabelle for the link!)
Once I have a book or two, I’m going to try to do at least 30 minutes a day of practicing, reading, and watching videos. It isn’t much, but since I don’t have anyone I can practice *with*, it will have to do for now. I will try to find a conversation group once I have the basics, later. If you have any leads for me for a group in Montreal, let me know!
So that’s it! I’ll update my progress here in a month or so.
6 thoughts on “Learning Dutch: Beginnings”
Well, color me surprised. Those are valid reasons indeed. I don’t agree with all of it, but KLM is still the best airline and Schiphol is still one of the best airports. I’ll see what I can find to help.
In the meantime, the DuoLingo app seems to be pretty good so give that a try!
I’ll definitely give DuoLingo a try but I feel I’ll learn better with actual listening to speech and conversations. But I’ll try adding it to the mix!
What don’t you agree with? I’m curious now! 🙂 Is it the “close to English” bit? If so, well, by that I meant, it’s closer than German or Russian or Arabic or Icelandic, at least! 😉
Looks like Italki has a bunch of Dutch language community tutors (and also teachers, if you want to go that route): https://www.italki.com/teachers/dutch?teacher_type=2
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Thanks! I’d really like to be in a class with others, but I’m going to start with some books first:
I will probably go for something like iTalki later.
“Italki early and often” is my motto 🙂
Hello, I am a year too late but I am actually interested in picking up some Dutch? Do you have any leads for a course?