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('Holland' / 'The Netherlands'
The Internet makes it possible to hear the sounds of foreign languages at the click of a mouse - you won't find that in a book or a language course on an audio CD. My website makes learning Dutch easier - and more fun too, I hope. Allow me to pilot your course in Dutch.
Learning a foreign language is hard work. If you're serious about Dutch, you'll have to learn about a thousand basic words and how to pronounce them; you'll have to learn how words change like for instance in the plural, you'll have to memorize the verb forms and get a feel for the word order in Dutch sentences.
You've come to the right place for the rigorous learning. All that material is on my website - but my website also offers many pages that are fun to read while still teaching you some Dutch, telling about the country, the people and the 'culture' (including recipes.)
As I said, you should make those one thousand basic words your active vocabulary, words you can call up from memory when needed in conversation or writing. In addition to that, you should build a passive vocabulary for reading and listening, words that you recognize and know the meaning of.
In the lessons I tried to combine the serious learning with lighter reading like essays and picture vocabulary - but the lessons are a bit light on vocabulary. It would be a good idea to start learning 20 basic Dutch words a day after lesson 4.
We're not in school. You're free to learn Dutch whatever way you think best: set your own goals, follow your own timetable, or just pick up a few words or phrases as needed. If you just want to browse through my pages or hopscotch (rayuela) according to your own plan, that's fine with me. My pages can be a resource and a set of suggestions. But if you'd like some guidance, there's a Method below on the left, and a stricter Lessons Program below on the right. If you're only interested in reading Dutch, go to "Read Only," below on the right, lower down. You could of course also start learning Dutch with just reading, and go to listening and speaking later.
Then listen to a few longer Dutch texts, like
poems and songs, readings from
my Dutch short stories,
Readings from the Bible
(no religious endorsement implied)
just to hear the language. When you look at the text, you'll
notice that Dutch spelling is fairly phonetic.
I would recommend to take the instruction in small doses, like twenty minutes once or twice a day. For most people that will be much more effective than a few long sessions.
It's probably best to study the pronunciation first: How are the letters said in Dutch? Listen to the sound files. Wouldn't pronouncing Dutch words be a nice way to spend some time with a friend? Compare with how I say the words and rate each other's efforts. (The #2 links are not a continuation but another approach to the material.)
a, e, i, o, u
Check your Dutch pronunciation and build vocabulary by studying my collection of recognizable words: 'Easy Dutch.'
Then familiarize yourself further with the spelling rules. This is not as hard as it may look, for Dutch spelling is much more straightforward than English - but still, Dutch has exceptions and irregularities - 2 too - you might want to save this for later.
Work on the pronunciation exercises - 2. Try to say the words correctly, then listen to how I say them; invite a friend and work on it together. Listening to the sound files on this page is also good for getting a sense of the language. You could also work on the Listening Exercise.
At this point it would be good to learn some common Dutch phrases - 2 like "Good morning" (goedemorgen ) "Thank you" (dank U wel - polite - dank je wel - informal) "Please" (alstublieft - polite - alsjeblieft 2) and "What's the price on this?" (Hoe duur is dit? )
From there, I would recommend you try to memorize twenty to twenty-five words
a day. The nice thing is, it's not like in school, that you have to
learn all the words in the book. Choose words from a field that has
your interest, or words that you think will come in useful, and feel
free to skip words that look less useful. You can always return to
The mostly-text 'Basic, 'Everyday'
Dutch' pages are based on the list of about 850 very carefully chosen
'Basic English' words that Ogden and Richardson came up with in
the 1920s. They thought that this basic vocabulary would be enough for
almost all everyday communication.
You could also start with the Basic 'Everyday Items' picture pages:
conversation lines and a few
Following your own interests, start memorizing
Take breaks from your daily words lists to:
Once you have a basic knowledge of Dutch you could start reading
something simple, maybe Annie MG Schmidt's children's stories, like
'Jip and Janneke,' or 'Pluk van de Petteflet.' Some of her books are also
available in audio versions.
The children's Bibles 'Kijkbijbel' (graphics by Kees de Kort) or 'Bijbelse Verhalen voor Jonge Kinderen' (by D.A. Cramer-Schaap and Annemarie van Haeringen) might also be useful when you're familiar with Scripture. Dutch online Bibles: www.biblija.net - Dutch audio Bible: www.voorleesbijbel.nl
When you can understand written Dutch but have difficulty with spoken Dutch, the pages where I read longer texts will again be useful study material: Listening Overview Page
Dutch Language Lessons
I hope to publish a new lesson every
Hop on and let me be your guide to Dutch
Fietspad ('Bike Path')
The large entries for prepositions in dictionaries are in my own experience often not very useful. It may be helpful to you to study the basic, literal meaning of prepositions:
The 'Listening Overview' page links to many
of Dutch texts with English translation.
If you have time, you could start by reading the Dutch version of a book you're already familiar with. It is said that Schliemann of Troy taught himself foreign languages that way.
|Site Map||Pronunciation||Words and Phrases||Grammar||Reading and Listening||Hear Dutch Names|
Going to Pieces/Pulp
A Short Story in Dutch with a Re-Write in English
Read about Holland in my Christmas Stories
Copyright © Marco Schuffelen 2006. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, redistributed, or hotlinked to.
Don't be a dief (thief) - dievegge (female thief) - diefstal (theft) - stelen (to steal) - heler (dealer in stolen goods) - hear Dutch - 2