Tag Archives: Belgium

Test Driving Languages – Dutch

Flag_of_the_Netherlands.svgThe next language to take a look at is one that is probably closest to English than any other language (other than Scots). It’s the native language of The Netherlands, and is also spoken in several other places, such as Belgium, Suriname, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and is also the mother language of Afrikaans, which is spoken in South Africa and Namibia. Considering it’s similar to English, it’s said to be one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. Let’s find out.

Ik ben een man.

— I am a man.

Alphabet

Basically the same as in English. There are a few accents, though. But quite easy.

Pronunciation

For an English speaker, the pronunciation based on the spelling takes a little getting used to. It’s not as expected. For example, “j” has a “y” sound. The vowels can sound different than expected, as well. It’s not as straightforward as some of the Romance languages, but I think I can get used to it after a short time.

Grammar

Quite similar to English with a few exceptions. Some pronouns have several forms (“zij” and “ze” for “they”, “wij” and “we” for “we”, etc) and nouns have gender. Articles can also be a bit different. “Een” is “a”/”an”, and pronounced similar to “an”. However, the definite article, “the” is either “de” or “het” in Dutch. The rules don’t seem clear for these, so they just have to be remembered. Verb conjugation seems fairly straightforward, though.

Overall Impression

I found it easy to remember the words and grammar, and could translate the very simple introductory sentences into English quite easily. I retained the vocabulary pretty well, and needed little review. I think pronunciation will need the most work. I enjoyed Dutch, and look forward to learning it. I believe I’ll be able to learn it quickly, compared to some other languages.

Have you studied Dutch? Are you interested in it? Let me know in the comments below.

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