https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

Learning Dutch after German: The upsides and downsides.

Hey Everyone. I have been learning Dutch for about a month now and German for a few years. I have already noticed some upsides and downsides to learning Dutch after German in the short time I have been learning it which I'd like to share with you today.

Upsides: I think one of the biggest upsides of learning Dutch after German the similarity of the languages in many respects. I have sometimes been able to understand Dutch people (like my mum) from a combination of Dutch, German and a bit of logic. It has helped me learn Dutch much quicker because of alot of the similarities.

Another big plus is that many of the sounds I learnt in German are also in Dutch like the ch sound.

Downsides: One of a downside I have had is actually what I mentioned as my first upside. Although this may sound contradictory it is infact not. The similarity of the languages does help to learn Dutch quicker after German and help to understand but it is also easy to mix up your speaking sometimes. Egleast I find that for me. I often find myself saying something like 'Dat ist gut' or 'Ich esse Appels'.

I can't think of many other downsides for learning Dutch after german but I am sure there is. I hope you guys have enjoyed or learnt something from my discussion here. If you have learnt Dutch after German or visa versa tell me how you found it. I'd be interested to hear. Anyway that's all from me now.

Regards cluney

1 week ago

38 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/angus390025
angus390025
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I also found that Dutch is easy if you have prior knowledge of German. I had lived in Germany for a year and became fairly proficient. Then, after many years back in the United States, I worked in Amsterdam for a semester. At first it was very easy. I could recognize not only words but sometimes entire sentences. But after a few months of hearing, speaking, and reading Dutch, I found myself misspelling German words, such Äpfel/Appels, just as you did.

These things always happen. I was a very good speller in Spanish for many years, having studied Spanish for four years in high school and several semesters at university. Then I studied Portuguese. At first I found it to be too easy. I could immediately recognize not only Portuguese words but also entire sentences without effort. Then, after some time, I started to work on Spanish again, and found that I was misspelling words. I'd write quando instead of cuando, or ela instead of ella. I started being more careful not to spell Spanish words like Portuguese. It still happens from time to time, but I haven't been to Mexico since May. I generally spend a few weeks out of each year in Mexico, and I think that when I do go back, after a few days I'll get into the Spanish-only groove.

Similarly, I think you will adjust to one or the other pro re nata. Once you become proficient in both, when you find yourself in Germany for a few days, your brain will switch to that one. When you find yourself in Netherlands, you will switch autonomously to that one. (You'll probably hear someone say the letter G, as in the word negen, and you'll immediately know that you're not in Germany and it will trigger the correct neural pathway.)

Ganz gut. Es wird in Ordnung sein.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cluney2

Yea it's those subtle differences that are confusing like is and ist. Like you mentioned with words like ella and ela. It's so close that you just don't think about it and end up writing something with a bit of German and a bit of Dutch or in your case a bit of Portuguese and a bit of Spanish. I sometimes have trouble making that mental switch between German and Dutch as I use both frequently but hopefully over time I will get better.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert-Alexan
Robert-Alexan
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Dat ist gut.
Ich esse Appels.

Congrats, you are also close to mastering Low German. ;-)

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/hm437e
hm437e
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Ik et de Appel - as spoken in Plattdeutsch (Hamburger Platt) One of my goals is to get a better handle on this dialect; I am finding Dutch to be helpful in this regard.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kari.T
Kari.T
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Yes, dat for das is in Berlinerdialekt too. Watch "Babylon Berlin" and you can hear the lower classes speaking Berliner and and the upper classes speaking Hochdeutsch.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert-Alexan
Robert-Alexan
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Berlinerisch. :-) That's what it is called for whatever reason.

Dat (also ikke for ich) is a remnant of once endemic Low German in Berlin. Nowadays, you won't find genuine Low German dialects in Berlin. Berlinerisch became a dialect of High German. However, Berlinerisch adopted many Low German or Yiddish words and words from other (High) German dialect regions.

I am a German native from the north. But I wasn't able to understand my grandparents talk Low German. My exposure to Low German was too low. Learning English helped me to better understand some words and grammar features. Learning Dutch was a breakthrough, though. Dutch shares many words, pronunciation and grammar features with Low German. Knowing Dutch and German (and to a much lesser extent English), I'd surmise that I understand 80% or even more of daily reasonably paced Low German discussions without ever having learnt Low German systematically. Something like that is comprehensible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRZnIBifwkQ

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rolfi_Popolfi
Rolfi_Popolfi
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Dat (also ikke for ich) is a remnant of once endemic Low German in Berlin.

AFAIK did the Berlin area have Flemish influx during the "Ostsiedlung".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostsiedlung

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berliner_Dialekt#Einfl%C3%BCsse

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdamKean
AdamKean
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Yes, I can barely understand a word the lower class people are saying, and then in the next scene in the police department, my ears suddenly start working again :P

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Salariman
Salariman
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I learned Dutch and German at the same time and I was fine separating the two in the online course. However, trying to speak to people in either language is a nightmare as I keep mixing up words. Sometimes they understand regardless, but often I just confuse the person I speak to.

I want to continue doing just one of the two languages for the time being, but can't make my mind up about which one!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/don_p75

My first language is Dutch so for me it's not that hard but I can undertand why you have trouble with this. I only started using this website a few days ago, and I love this website! I didn't know a single word of German when I started and I'm already improving a lot. So in my case it's pretty handy that Dutch and German are so similar.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN
slamRN
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don_p75 - Welcome. Is it true that Dutch and German have very few nouns in common? So, why is Dutch considered so alike to German? Veel succes! Or as we say on this site: Viel Glück!

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert-Alexan
Robert-Alexan
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It ain't true.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN
slamRN
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Thanks. I am mistaken then.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/don_p75

No, I'd say it has a lot of nouns in common. Most of the times they are written a bit different, but the pronunciations are a bit alike. It's hard to explain but a good video is this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWVKzdyWRps . it explains the differences and similarities very well. Oh and in Dutch we sometimes say: veel geluk and that is pronounced almost the same as in German.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert-Alexan
Robert-Alexan
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BTW. Dutch spelling rules are way more logical than German spelling rules. That is supposed to say, that Dutch represents its pronunciation better in writing. And I don't think that it's harder to pronounce. However we Germans will never get rid of our melodic and smooth accent when speaking Dutch... ;-)

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN
slamRN
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Ich finde, dass die deutsche Schreibweise für mich einfach ist.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN
slamRN
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don_p75 - After listening to the video you posted, I am convinced that the word sounds in Dutch are much harder to understand or pronounce than German.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Clive.Thomas
Clive.ThomasPlus
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I have been doing german for some time, several years on duolingo. I started doing dutch a few years ago, but I was forced to abandon it when I started finding that it was confusing some german for me - most especially the plurals, some other stuff too.
I have not found this to be as bad with french and spanish. Although they are similar, I find that they are different enough that generally the one does not confuse the other for me to any worrying degree. There are certainly some issues, but at a level that I am prepared to live with - also, I find that the confusion for me is mostly in spanish, very seldom in french, and that for me is the lesser problem.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/judyholzwart
judyholzwart
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I learned Dutch after German. I mix up the two, on occasion. I learned Italian after Spanish. Those two, I also mix up, on occasion.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MoHO1exw
MoHO1exw
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The process that is being described I recognize immediately! Had the same problem in Portuguese/Spanish. I solved it in taking a little bit more time by putting on the radio in either one of the languages before really starting to study. Without even listening to what kind of broadcasting it was, I thus already focussed and I didn't have the problem of mixing the languages anymore. Nowadays (with the Portuguese tree completely gold and a bit of an advanced learner in Spanish) I don't have this problem anymore; I get tuned to the right language as soon as I start reading, listening, speaking or writing it. But it has helped me a lot! Good luck and especially a lot of fun in learning Dutch and German; beautiful languages, I think.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN
slamRN
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Isn't it funny that when children are exposed to several languages at a time that they (almost?) never mix up the grammar, nouns and verbs.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rolfi_Popolfi
Rolfi_Popolfi
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Some others already mentioned Portuguese and Spanish, two other languages sharing the same dialect continuum. I also had the problem that after learning Spanish and spending 3 month in Brazil I ended up speaking a kind of Portugnol, a mix language which is understood but incorrect.

But I rarely have the problem to mix French and Spanish words, even I'm using French as a base for Spanish (from a German perspective most of the grammar is similar) ... I think the point is the different pronounciation and melody.

If I were you I'd learn to pronounce and sing both languages in their proper "melodies", this will help you using the right word.

Though I have to say I don't know if there is really an accepted standard Dutch which is spoken by most speakers, like Standard German. I have the impressions local accents are dominating the Nederlands lingo sphere. I once witnessed a dialog between two ladies from Antwerpen and Amsterdam, and it was very weird that I was only able to follow the Flemish part of it.

Standard German is based on "Bühnendeutsch" a theater language which was designed to be understood in all regions. (This pedantic pronounciation is the base to the myth that German is an "aggressive" language.)

In the end please note that Appel or Äbbel are well understood dialect variants of Apfel, so you will be certainly understood.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert-Alexan
Robert-Alexan
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In Dutch there's ABN Standard Dutch. It's heavily influenced by the dialects of (North) Holland. But as a German from Northern Germany, where German dialects are no big thing, it's really astonishing to notice the dialect differences within such a small region (Flanders+The Netherlands). How come that these differences were not eradicated? There are no mountains or untamed rivers that separate the provincial dialects from each other. Is it the liberal attitude of our western neighbors towards dialects? Or is it their federal/provincial structure? Or is it a (more or less) classless society that has not developed a prestigious dialect? Or is it just that we Germans obey the pronunciation rules that a higher authority has issued? But then again, I'm always struck by the incomprehensible and motley dialects in the South of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_Sas_
_Sas_
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I think the reason why dialect usage is much more prevalent in Flanders compared to the Netherlands has to do with the fact that Dutch was suppressed for centuries.

The southern and northern Netherlands were united in the fight against Spain at the beginning of the eighty year war. The southern part (modern day Flanders) was reconquered by Spain, whereas the northern part became the current Kingdom of the Netherlands. Dutch became a standardized language in the north, but in Flanders it had the status of an uncivilized dialect for at least 300 years. Flanders was reunited with the Netherlands between 18185-1830, but when the Kingdom of Belgium was established Dutch once again became the language of the lower classes whereas the gentry, bourgeoisie and clergy would rather speak French. This finally changed in 1898 when Dutch became an official language in Belgium. Twenty years later Flemish universities stopped teaching in French. But all of this meant that the Dutch standard language was hardly spoken and taught in Flanders for more than three centuries and dialects could flourish, unaffected by a dominant standard language.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN
slamRN
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Sehr interessant! Danke.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rolfi_Popolfi
Rolfi_Popolfi
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additionally to all your points I think it's also practicallity. The Dutch dialects are still geographically much closer while German speakers need to tone down their dialect/accent when meeting someone from another part of the bigger "Sprachraum". It's rather comparable to a Swabian conversing with a Swiss in their own alemanic dialect - something that I already witnessed.

BTW: I had a colleague from the Dutch border said his lokal Nedersachsisch dialekt was well alive and the lingua franca when crossing the border.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Appletree761932

My mum said Dutch and German are the same thing, even though D has courses for both of them. Can you tell me how they are different? It's a bit puzzling.

1 week ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert-Alexan
Robert-Alexan
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They are the same...if you consider Spanish and Portuguese the same ... and if you believe that Scots and English are the same.... and if you think that Swedish and Norwegian is the same language... or Polish, Czech and Sorbian... you get the idea...Say hello to your mum ;-)

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MoHO1exw
MoHO1exw
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Wow, Appletree761932, that's a quite remarkable opinion, your mother has! I wonder what arguments she has; please tell us when you know those arguments. Robert-Alexan and Rolfi_Popolfi are right, I think. Meanwhile, since you started to learn German, I suggest you start learning Dutch as well. If your mother is right, it shouldn't be too hard for you to combine the two courses. But I'm quite convinced you'll find out that the two may have some parallels but are actually really two different languages. At least you'll be able to explain that to your mother!

5 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Appletree761932

I have absolutely no idea what her reasons are!! Will try learning Dutch too, Mum is Polish and knows quite a bit of German.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Peter920713

Your mum is having you on (lol) and its not even April yet (LOL) Have a look at both languages and let us know. There is a surprise waiting

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Appletree761932

Thanks, I will. Haha

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rolfi_Popolfi
Rolfi_Popolfi
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Well, some linguists consider English and German two dialects of the same language. ;-)

Dutch and German are two standardized languages inside the same dialect continuum. Someone from the border region might consider both the same while not being able to understand a dialect speaker from Zurich or Vienna.

6 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rolfi_Popolfi
Rolfi_Popolfi
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How Similar are German and Dutch?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWVKzdyWRps

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Appletree761932

I started the Dutch course, and after only one lesson I can see what everyone means haha! Will show it to Mum and tell you all her response, as she was quite convinced! But I don't think I will follow it up, as am happy with what I am learning already.

3 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MoHO1exw
MoHO1exw
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Well done, Appletree761932! If you should want to learn Dutch at one day: of all the Duolingo-courses I did or am doing, there wasn't one with so much humor in it as I noticed in the Dutch course. And as for the answer of your mother: I'm seriously interested in the reason why she thinks/thought Dutch and German are but one language.

1 day ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Peter920713

If you find that you are comfortable with both German and Dutch then a follow on ( and a much easier language to learn) is Afrikaans. The similarities in many words are the obvious giveaways but the grammar is much much easier plus there are no gender labels/definitions ie everything (noun) is "die". Have a look, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Enjoy

4 days ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rolfi_Popolfi
Rolfi_Popolfi
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Trying to separate Dutch and Afrikaans should be far more difficult for a learner.

4 days ago
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