Dutch is so hard! or is it
For new learners that are new to the Dutch course. Just saying it is not that hard if your native langue is English. I don't know what it would feel like for learners that doesn't speak English......but I know that Dutch from English is not very hard so don't worry.
Personally I believe although the languages English and Dutch are more similar than French and English, I think French is easier, but that's just me. Mainly due to the pronounciation, and I feel grammar is more similar, it is really hard for an English speaker to read Dutch since:
Sara wil naar Zuid-Afrika gaan. (Sara wants to go to South Africa)
It feels weird for me reading that, since I read it as:
Sara wants to South Africa go. Since that is how it would be translated word-for-word. It's little changes like that in Dutch that logically shouldn't be much, but really are a knockback to learners. Plus all these new idioms and expressions and subordinate clauses!
But I really love Dutch.
Ik Wil Nederlands Spreken <3
Yep, I find it quite helpful to know English when studying French since the cognates are easy to spot. But I've noticed that it gets easier and easier for me to spot the cognates in German, Dutch and English over time since there are certain patterns. When I compare Dutch and English I find them much more similar in vocabulary. Take for example the dutch daar. Dutch underwent a consonant shift so that th changed into d. If we reverse that we get thaar. In turn in English many vowel sounds changed (e.g. A->E), so we get thaar->theer. From here it's only a small step to the English there. If you pay attention to these things you'll start seeing the cognates.
That's fascinating - however I would like to clarify that by vocabulary I really mean the nouns and verbs. I agree that Dutch is closer to English in every other part of speech.
Once I had mastered the basics and began reading fluently, I found Spanish easier. In Dutch I am often tripped up by unrecognizable words, whereas in Spanish the cognate is usually correct and I can keep reading without looking it up.
I believe it can be challenging, specially if your native language is a romance language. I´m a spanish speaking person so when I see it and hear it, it´s crazy. But I´m also fluent on German and that makes it soooo much easier! Specially when it comes to grammar, it makes so much sense.
However, Dutch is the hardest language to pronounce, except maybe for Portuguese. Look at the many diphthongs: ij/ei, ui, auw/ouw, aai, ooi, oei, ieuw, eeuw, uw. Of these, UI is the hardest to get right. Then there are the guttural consonants: g, ch, and especially SCH- and GR. Het is een grote probleem! How, exactly does one distiguish the G from the CH?
Please, I'm learning Vietnamese... The list of different single vowels is already pretty much endless (a á à ả ã ạ ă ắ ằ ẳ ẵ ặ â ấ ầ ẩ ẫ ậ are just all the different "a" sounds) and then there's the diphthongs!
But, yes, I agree, Dutch isn't a very easy language to pronounce. I do have a British colleague who does the CH sound almost perfectly but then he's Welsh and they have their LL that sounds similar. :D
As an Australian English speaker, I did not find ui to be too difficult. It doesn't exist in English, true, but my mouth didn't struggle too much.
What I find difficult is speaking multiple H and G sounds next to each other, such as in "hoe gaat het met ge?" without it devolving into a guttural mess.
And "sch" is practically impossible, so I pretty much do not bother.
Dutch is hard in the way that all languages that are not your own can be difficult. You spend a lifetime thinking automatically within a certain vocabulary and grammatical structure, and suddenly have to think in a different one.
Dutch can be one of the easiest for an English-speaking learner, as it, along with German, is one of the most similar languages to English in the world. However, it's still not trivial!