Questions for Dutch
Well I've just started learning Dutch and I am wondering what are the difficult parts of the language? Is the grammar difficult, or is it easy?
Another question. If I were to visit Belgium but using this type of Dutch, would I be understood? Or is there a big difference? Thanks in advance.
The grammar is quite easy compared to many other languages. If you have ever learned German, Dutch will be both easy and pleasantly familiar to learn. Of course, as all languages, it has it's quirks that you just have to learn.
In the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, you will get along just fine with the Dutch taught here. In the French-speaking part you will not have any use for it. (Sorry if this sounds obvious, but I know plenty of people who have somehow not really understood which part of the language border they were going.)
A big challenge might be the pronunciation. For example using the soft "g", which is more used in the south of the Netherlands and Flanders (Dutch speaking part of Belgium). Can you say the word "gekkigheid" like someone from here? :) But don't worry about that to much, practice will get you there.
The grammar is well structed. I say this as a native speaker who has studied Hungarian (totally different structure) and if you speak English, German, Danish or some Germanic language you will get along with it. There will always be tricky ones and exceptions, but don't you were about that.
And yes, if you come to the Dutch speaking part of Belgium (where I am from), you will be understood. Depending on the province, you will experience that we are tend to use more dialect words.
I also must say that we Dutch speaking people appreciate it a lot when a foreigner tries to speak our language, because we don't often hear foreigners do this.
So, go ahead and impress us :)
As a native German speaker I have not encountered any real difficulties so far because the hardest things in Dutch tend to work precisely the same way in German. (But German has additional complications that don't exist in Dutch.)
But while helping out in the sentence forums I have realised that Dutch (and German) negation can be hard for learners, especially for English speakers. It appears that this is an area where English has lost some of its common heritage with the other Germanic languages. Nowadays it's even common to say "All is not good" when what you actually mean is "Not all is good". Dutch speakers still distinguish very carefully and, what is more, have the word geen (which you can perhaps think of as a contraction of niet een) for even more distinctions.
I can demonstrate this with the example sentence "Een vader leest zijn dochter een boek voor" - "A father is reading a book to his daughter".
- Niet een vader leest zijn dochter een boek voor. - Not even one father is reading a book to his daughter.
- Geen vader leest zijn dochter een boek voor. - There is no father who is reading a book to his daughter.
- Een vader leest niet zijn dochter een boek voor. - A father is reading a book not to his daughter [but to someone else].
- Een vader leest geen dochter een boek voor. - A father is not reading a book to any daughter.
- Een vader leest zijn dochter niet een boek voor. - A father is reading not even one book to his daughter.
- Een vader leest zijn dochter geen boek voor. - A father is not reading any book to his daughter.
- Een vader leest zijn dochter een boek niet voor. - There is a specific book which a father is not reading to his daughter.
You can even combine two of these negations to obtain additional specific meanings: - Niet een vader leest zijn dochter geen boek voor. - Not even one father is not reading a book to his daughter.