Category Archives: Dutch

My 2012 in pictures

2012 was simultaneously long and short, but either way, it was a very, very eventful year for me:

The Netherlands Part I

A windmill in Leiden, the Netherlands

I started the year off still in Dutchville on my December 10th – January 7th trip to the Netherlands. This was the first time I had ever left my own country at all, much less gone to Europe. I watched bikes regularly come within centimeters of cars, witnessed just how liberal Amsterdam is, and participated in and saw the aftermath of New Year’s fireworks as well as an awesome example of the extreme efficiency of public transportation. I ate a ton of new food and had the best, barely-modified meat I’d ever had. I learned a lot about water control and saw many times over how the Dutch control water levels very intimately (the Dutch will regularly live barely a few inches above canals!) and I fell in love with the environmentally-friendly and effective way in which the entire country operates (not only do you bag your own groceries, but stores don’t even offer plastic bags, only reusable! If you don’t bring one to the store, you have to pay a quarter or so to get one). I went to the store a bajillion times a week like the Dutch and got a lot of practice in listening to the language. I felt the Netherlands become my second home. I watched Eurovision for the first time. And I experienced a friend group much like the ones I have in Florida and felt completely at ease in my new surroundings.

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Foreign music artists

I mentioned way back when that singing can help to learn a language. Listening to artists in my target language is one of my favorite ways to boost my vocabulary and listening/speaking abilities. Here are some of my favorite artists for each language; give ’em a try! The more asterisks (*), the more I love them.

Chinese
* alan (c-pop j-pop) – Japanese, Mandarin
* Alex Fong (c-pop) – Cantonese
* Janice (c-pop) – Cantonese
** Jay Chou (c-pop) – Mandarin
Joey Yung (c-pop) – Cantonese
* Jolin Tsai (c-pop) – Mandarin
* Stephy Tang (c-pop) – Cantonese

Dutch
Eva De Roovere (folk pop)
* Jurk (nederlandstalig pop)

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News sites in other languages

Here is a useful list of links for news article sites (like newsnow.co.uk and onlinenewspapers.com and newspaperindex.com) to practice reading in other languages (* means they’re some of my favorites):

Danish
Akhbar (Danish news in Arabic) – Arabic
** Avisen (news) – Danish
* B.T. news) – Danish
Berlingske (news) – Danish
* Børsen (news) – Danish
The Copenhagen Post (Danish news in English)
Dagbladet Information (news) – Danish
DR (news) – Danish
* Ekstra Bladet (news) – Danish
** Erhvervs Bladet (business) – Danish
Ingeniøren (news) – Danish
* Jyllands-Posten (news) – Danish
* Kristeligt Dagblad (news) – Danish
* Politiken (politics) – Danish
TV2 (news) – Danish

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Common foreign words and their pronunciations

Learning similar languages can be quizzical for a number of reasons. Here’s a quick glimpse into some incredibly common words in English, Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch. Notice how the Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch ones are pronounced:

English

Norwegian

Swedish

Dutch

yes ja (“ya”) ja (“ya”) ja (“ya”)
no nei (“nye”) nej (“nay”) nee (“nay”)
I jeg (“yiy”) jag (“ya”) ik
me meg (“my”) mig (“may”) me (“muh”)
me (stressed) meg (“my”) mig (“may”) mij (“may”, “my”)
you (nominative) du du je (“yuh”)
you (nominative, stressed) du du jij (“yay”, “yiy”)
you (objective) deg (“dye”) dig (“day”) je (“yuh”)
you (objective, stressed) deg (“dye”) dig (“day”) jou (“yow”)
it den, det (“deh”) den, det (“deh”) het

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Literal translation – Dutch

Services and auto-translators like Google translate and others take entire sentences and put together a meaning from all the different parts present. When learning a language, however, it’s sometimes more beneficial to see word-for-word translations, as it gives you a better idea of the most common sentence structures. In this post I’ll go over a few Dutch sentences. A Swedish version will come in the future! So here are some sentences in their original Dutch, a word-for-word translation, and then a reworded translation:

Hoe laat kom je morgen?
How late come you tomorrow?
What time are you coming tomorrow?

Ik moet het morgen halen.
I must it tomorrow get.
I must get it tomorrow.
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Germanic mutual intelligibility

I’ve written about how learning one language can help you learn another. Let me show you some examples of what I mean:

English

Norwegian

Swedish

Dutch

also også också ook
always alltid alltid altijd
expensive, dear dyrt dyrt duur
(to) have (å) ha (att) ha hebben
(to) hear (å) høre (att) höra horen
must måste moeten
north nord norr noord
tonight i kveld ikväll vanavond
(to) want, (to) will (å) ville (att) vilja willen
welcome back velkommen tilbake välkommen tillbaka welkom terug
with med med met

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My first major language breakthrough

Two nights ago I made a huge breakthrough in Dutch. When someone hears a language that they don’t speak, they’ll often think that the person speaking is doing so too quickly. More often than not, the listener’s ears are simply not attuned to discerning the sounds in that particular language. For me, this is no longer the case with Dutch, as my listening comprehension is catching up to my reading: I can now understand the individual words someone is speaking in Dutch instead of just hearing a jumble of sounds. This is a huge step in the right direction, and it came nearly all at once. I was studying my Lonely Planet Dutch phrasebook outside of my calculus class two days ago and found that, when I had come home and started listening to Dutch music, I could pick out individual words. I may not be able to spell them or even know what they mean, but I can’t complain!

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Help a friend speak, too!

I was able to encourage a friend to begin Michel Thomas’s Language Learning Method today, and he blazed through the first disc of French mere hours after he started it! I’d normally suggest he go a bit slower, but as long as he’s motivated, I won’t get in his way! This made me feel pretty accomplished given that he had a seriously stubborn attitude about language learning beforehand, even calling me overconfident and cocky for thinking I’d be able to speak Dutch this December! All it takes is the right materials to get you started, and once you’ve gained the insight that learning languages is not hard, you’re one step closer on your way to becoming an efficient language learner!