1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. How long until i can hold a c…


How long until i can hold a conversation?

I'm totally psyched to learn Dutch, my mother's family is from the Netherlands and I'm looking forward to speaking to them in their own language (and plan a trip there!). How long (or what level in the course) would you say I'd be able to converse on a basic level? And to the contributors, thanks for putting the course up, I'm already learning a lot!

July 19, 2014



I think it depends on what kind of conversation you want to have. If you want to talk about your life and your family, I think you can do that pretty quickly (within a couple of months) if you focus on the vocabulary that is necessary to have such conversations. I think it will take longer to be able to have conversations about various different topics, but it depends on the amount of time you practice vocabulary and sentence structure. If your mother speaks the language, you can practice it with her to build your confidence. You can also find language exchange sites where you can connect with people on programs like Skype to practice speaking and listening with a native speaker. I think the listening part will be the hardest, because you will not have a native's vocabulary. When you are a beginner, try to pick out main words that you understand in conversations so that you can try to understand the gist of what the person is saying. Happy studying. :)


Or you can start doing it right away. Yes, that will be difficult and awkward at first, but you can start with simple conversations. I think not being afraid of using a language, not being afraid to make mistakes and having some experience to build your own sentences in Dutch will help big time.

And learn these sentences, which can help you ask what things mean:

  • Wat betekent …
  • Wat bedoel je?
  • Kan je dat nog eens zeggen?
  • Ik snap het niet
  • Kan je uitleggen …
  • Kan je wat langzamer praten?

…and how to describe things:

  • Hoe zeg je …
  • Een soort … maar dan …
  • Het lijkt op …
  • Het omgekeerde van …
  • … maar dan anders/mooier/groter/kleiner

Once you can have some very simple and basic conversations, ones where you know what the topic is, then it's all about immersion, just keep on having more conversations, make mistakes, listen, read, make mistakes and learn (on Duolingo and especially from your mother and her family!).


I plan to visit this year, looking forward to answering this question myself :D

Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.