Just completed the Dutch tree!
Thanks to Lavinae, KaiEngle, Rhynn, kirlll, and MrsKwakker for all they've done for the course. Now I can go to Amsterdam with substantial experience in Dutch. Well, substantial for an American, anyways.
A few comments about the course:
I was impressed by how thorough the course was. Clearly you five were very committed to giving us the full Dutch experience. Kudos.
There were a lot of mistakes, though. Some happened to be the difference between passing and failing a level. Also, I must have gotten at least 30 emails a day saying my alternate translation had been accepted. But I guess that's why they beta-test it.
Really liked the culture section at the end. The Netherlands was the one part of Europe I never really learned that much about in school (probably because they never get involved in any wars). But now I'm really looking forward to experiencing Dutch culture firsthand.
I especially liked the food section, but I noticed one glaring omission: the best Dutch drunk food, bitterballen en mosterdsaus!
I still can't pronounce the Dutch 'g' or 'sch'. And when I try to, I inevitably end up getting a sore throat. Clearly I need speech therapy. That's why you don't smoke, kids.
Being a native English speaker and B1 in German, I was incredibly lucky to have completed the course so quickly. If I didn't have that German background, I'd be killing myself over the grammar and syntax. At least there's no cases in Dutch.
Owing to my (even stronger) French background, I would often mistakenly translate 'je' as 'I'. Must have made that mistake at least a dozen times.
On that note, I find the concept of strong versus weak pronouns incredibly annoying and arbitrary. Same with 'de' and 'het'.
Much as I'm looking forward to Amsterdam, I'm tempted to make a side trip to the Wadden Islands just to see those seals.
Bring on Irish and Danish!
Wow! That was fast. I'm still on level 5. :P I've been to Amsterdam, and it's a beautiful place. I'd recommend taking a ferry around, and visit some art museums (I went to Rijksmuseum and the van Gogh museum.) and just walking or cycling around. There are tons of little shops out there. No trip to Amsterdam is complete without buying cheese though, so you ought to get some. I wish I lived in a Dutch cheese shop...
Congratulations, in such a short amount of time too! I'm just up to Indefinite Pronouns, but I started a week into the 'beta' phase and my style is basically complete a level, and then practice it over and over, and then strengthen all my skills since I'm so scared of forgetting! Well, a big well done to you, and I hope you LOVE Amsterdam. I personally loved it when I went, be sure to try the Stoopwaffels and chips/french fries with mayonnaise. Lingot to you, my friend! C:
"I find the concept of strong versus weak pronouns incredibly annoying and arbitrary. Same with 'de' and 'het'."
As a Dutch person I full-heartedly agree. I have people around me trying to learn Dutch and I've come to find that Dutch grammer is impossible to explain with logic.
Please, go outside Amsterdam if you have the time too (and after you visited the highlights ;)). Amsterdam is beautiful, but the Netherlands are so much more than that! Visit het Groene Hart if you can, lots of pretty nature to discover (hire a bike if possible), the Wadden are great too. Maybe you can try 'wadlopen', mudflat hiking to see the seals (or go on a boat trip), just make sure to bring a pair of rubber boots :) And, of course: Gefeliciteerd on finishing the tree!
Sounds like a good combination of the 'old' and the 'new' Netherlands. Rotterdam (as marzman said) was bombed in WWII and therefore has a lot of modern architecture. Recommendations for Rotterdam: de Euromast, de Erasmusbrug, the cube houses, de Kunsthal, het Maritiem museum, boekhandel Donner (not a very interesting building, but it is a huge book store), de Sint Laurenskerk (never visited it, but sounds interesting), the SS Rotterdam (a cruise ship of the Holland-America Line that can now be visited, completely restored in his former state and you can take tours). I've probably missed a few highlights, but I only ever go to Rotterdam for the childrens' hospital. My favourite city in the Netherlands is Maastricht, but is in the far south and quite a long drive from de Randstad.
They are really similar in that it's easy to see a lot of the words have the same roots, but not quite similar enough that you could always just guess the meaning if you know only dutch/german. Knowing english helps too btw! The verbs are easy because they don't need to be conjugated based on the pronoun. There are also various false friends to look out for, as with any language, like 'bil' meaning 'buttcheek' in dutch and car in danish. Or 'fart' meaning speed- hehehe (sorry, this is my 5-year old brain speaking).
Some grammer concepts are different though- like in some cases you add 'the' to the end of a noun (i.e.- mand=man, manden= the man), which you don't have in german/dutch/english. So to conclude, the vocabulary will be recognisable but not always guessable, and there are some grammatical differences as with most different languages. (Interesting to note is that danish has a similar sentence structure and counting system as dutch, but other scandinavian languages may differ in this.)
The group here is 'erg snel ook' and not 'ook voor een Amerikaan' what could be an insult (and it's not, 'erg snel ook' is a compliment)
I don't think a lot of people speak the Germanic languages over there. And I have not finished the tree yet and I am dutch. So therefor the 'voor een Amerikaan'.
I tried doing the Dutch-to-English course when it came out (so I knew a few words like ik, kaas, paard, etc) but I couldn't get past the first checkpoint. Because I'm more of an audial learner, hearing the text-to-speech (even if it needs improvement) is absolutely crucial.
"probably because they never get involved in any wars" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_the_Netherlands
I just finished my German tree (took me 59 days of a lot of playing in my free time). I am able to listen to German pop music and pick up quite a few of the lyrics. More classical music would be slower and even easier. If I'm watching a lyrics video, I understand a lot of it. And if I'm reading the lyrics, I understand 75% of them usually. I've been talking to natives for a week or two, and I make a lot of mistakes, but I can actually hold a chat conversation. I have a ways to go before fluency, and I still look up a lot of vocab, but it's a hell of a headstart. I took a semester of German in class, and I don't think I was anywhere near this proficient.
thank you for such a speedy reply, i appreciate it. i happened to come across this website by chance (stumbled upon) and have always felt it important to at least try and learn another language, it seems only fair. But in school i always found it difficult (french and spanish, and latin to an extent) but i think i lacked motivation then, i feel a lot more motivated to learn, especially when these lessons seem very easy? but when i make a mistake i tend to go back and re do the lesson, how is it you've been talking to natives?
You're welcome. That's good. Motivation is really important. My strategy was to never go back and redo the lesson, because that would slow me down and (for me) probably kill my motivation eventually. The skills become colored anyway when Duo thinks you need to practice them, and you should definitely regold them when that happens. The skills do get harder.... quite a bit harder. The first section or two of the tree is pretty simple. I went on conversationexchange.com and mylanguageexchange.com. the first is free, the second requires you to pay 25 a year to contact people. I did not pay, but someone ended up contacting me from there a week or so later. I exchanged email / skype information with them and I talk to them on there.
i feel i have to redo lessons because i struggle a lot with suffixes and spellings of words? varkensvlees and schrijven for example, i assume it's just due to a different lay out and coupling of letters in comparison to english and obviously an increase in the letter v. Quite a bit harder isn't necessarily a bad thing though right! i mean difficult keeps the mind busy? right? tell me i'm right haha. the whole skype thing is really cool though.