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  5. Why are you learning Dutch?


Why are you learning Dutch?

The title explains it all. :)

November 27, 2014



I have always wanted to be a diplomat, and being so, I was always fascinated about languages and international politics. Language learning is one of the things I love the most and being so, Dutch has been a fantastic experience so far. Last year I started learning German with Duolingo, and out of curiosity, I checked some things in Dutch because I wanted to see how much in common those two languages had. Long story short: I ended up falling in love with Dutch and ended up choosing it over German - although I still love German and still have plans to learn it in the future. Some weeks (months?) later the Dutch course became available here, and I immediately ran for it. Now, every time I come across something in Dutch and I'm able to understand parts of the content, I feel very motivated and inspired.

I totally understand that language learning requires a lot of time and efforts, and since fluency is my goal, I just take my time to really absorb the information I read/listen instead of just rushing through the tree - being so, despite being currently in level 17, I still have more than 20 skills left. My biggest concern right now is to review as much vocabulary as possible and, of course, start having some conversation practice.


Although I'm a fourth generation American, my entire ancestry is Dutch. My grandparents still spoke some Dutch, and it's cool to recognize some words and phrases that I remember hearing when I was a child. Also, one of my roommates from graduate school is Dutch and lives in Amsterdam. I'd like to surprise him sometime (not yet!) by writing or speaking in Dutch.


These were my original reasons. But in one of my lessons today, I encountered this sentence: "Wij bevelen jullie om Nederlands te leren." So now I have no choice!


Oh, well now that they've said that how can you not learn Dutch?


First, it's a really cool language. I also have a friend at school from Holland, and I wish to be able to speak Dutch to him someday in conversation.


I'm a native English speaker, and I know German pretty well, having studied there in college. So I figured, "How hard can this be? Isn't Dutch mostly a mash-up of those two languages?"

So far, that's still my impression. Lots of fun.


I am a Spanish native speaker and I consider Dutch a Romance language under the disguise of a Germanic one: the more I learn the more convinced I am. The even more outrageous opinion I hold is that Dutch is something in between English and Spanish!


I'm going to visit Netherlands next fall with my hunny. First time visiting Europe, I'm super excited! I live in western Canada. Also my Oma grew up there, and I have a bunch of extended family that I've never met. Plus learning languages is a fun hobby, and I'm finding I'm making better progress now that I'm working on a romance language and a germanic language at the same time.


Haha we have the same language combination on duo :)


I used to live there, grasped enough to get by (it's easy to understand if you already speak English and German) so now trying to get a bit more structured (grammar, spelling etc). I guess it's the slight OCD tendency - if I've started something I want to finish it. Objectively though probably not the best use of time - every single Dutch person I've met, no exceptions, could get by in English.


Almost everyone, at least everyone under the age of 40, that I met in Holland spoke English, so I understand your predicament. Oh, well.


I'm going to live in the Netherlands next year.


My Oma and Opa were both from the Netherlands, so I most of my dad's side of the family speaks dutch. They also had this horrible tendency to start a conversation in English and then slip into dutch. So I have started learning dutch so that next time some relative from the Netherlands comes to visit I do not get excluded from the conversations.


I live in Flanders and have taken a couple of courses at the university, but I need extra practice. At this point, I know a lot of the grammar rules I just haven't internalized them all. I thought Doulingo might be a good way to get that extra practice. Even though there are differences between the language in Flanders and the Netherlands, I am finding duolingo to be good practice. The accent sounds funny to my ear though ;)


I was a university exchange student in the NL in 1996 for 5 months. I did a couple of intensive courses there and learned the language to the extent that I could carry out some daily business. After returning home to Finland, I did a couple more courses at University of Helsinki, and even passed 'Certificaat Nederlands als Vreemde Taal' around 2000 perhaps. Since then my skills have been rusting away, but now I've decided to strike back and do the Dutch tree. I love it. It has been mostly revision for me, but really needed. I have a good intuition of the grammar, but most of the vocabulary I've forgotten. I don't think I need Dutch for anything, but I'm happy to do it for the sake of it. Maybe it comes handy some day.


My best friend is Dutch and when living with her back in New Zealand I started to really like the dutch stuff she'd have around home - especially Hagelslag and Kip Kruiden :) Now I want to learn the language so I can speak with her in her native language.

[deactivated user]

    I'm actually a German major at school and I want to take dutch classes too, so I'm hoping this lets me test into a higher level.


    to talk to my girlfriend and so then i can also speak to my girlfriends family in their native language so then if i need to speak it i can :) and also i would like to go to a dutch university!


    I have fond memories visiting Holland as a teenage U.S. military brat in Germany. The weather is wonderfully gray and cool, the food is fantastic, and the people are kind and down to earth.

    I met a Dutch military member on base and, after overhearing him banter with a fellow countryman, I remarked how much Dutch was like German. He quickly corrected me, "Don't say that to a Dutch speaker, ever", and I never have since.

    So, to recap, I'm learning Dutch to one day go back there to visit or live and be able to speak with locals and to realize how Dutch is not like German.


    Whoa, whoa, whoa. German is to Dutch what French is to Spanish: sure, there are similarities but each is an unique language all it's own. I do know that there is some bleeding through the borders of The Netherlands and Germany, like among all linguistic borders, think TexMex Spangish, but this doesn't mean much to the overall scheme of things. Perhaps the setting of my meeting with the Dutch solider on a NATO base in Germany, a base founded at the end of WWII, colored his response, and you really can't quantify the lasting effect of wars, especially one as horrific to the civilian population as WWII was. Hell, people in the U.S. still use terms and still hold on to feelings from our Civil War that ended 200 years ago.

    I am glad that my reply prompted discussion, no matter how heated. Happy learning, everybody!


    I made the mistake of saying something like "Well...it's a lot like German" to my friend, who is Dutch, when she asked what I thought of the Dutch language. I will never say that to a Netherlander again!


    I jokingly say "It's a mix between English, German and French... while puking". Nobody has felt offended yet hahaha (of course this applies more to the north, I didn't hear the terrible G sound in the south)


    I think my experience with this topic has more to do with context then anything. I personally believe that Portuguese sounds like Dutch and Spanish mixed together and then vomited from the same mouth, but not in a bad way, of course.


    You are right. Even if they don't like to admit it since WWII, the Dutch language is very like German. Specifically it is not like the modern standard Hochdeutsch but Low German or Plattdeutsch dialect that was once widely spoken across the north German plains but now mainly only exists in rural Mecklenburg.


    Don't generalise, please. I'm sure some people are just proud of their own and unique language (all languages are unique). Dutch is not German and German is not Danish and Swedish isn't Norwegian.

    Anyway, great to hear all your stories you guys! ^^


    The Nordic languages are a on a different branch of the Germanic language tree. However, Plattdeutsch, Dutch, Frisian and Afrikaans are all very closely related on the the same branch as each other.

    At one time, perhaps as recently as one hundred years ago, it would have been possible to walk from eastern Pommerania to Den Haag noticing only minor dialect changes from one village to the next.


    Seamus, I am aware of linguistic similarities, but that wasn't my point. ^^

    "Even if they don't like to admit it since WWII, the Dutch language is very like German. "

    I first read this as a generalization ("since they don't like to admit it...."), but now I'm not so sure.

    Anyways, unless one has evidence that WWII is a reason, and that 'they' can be used for referring to the entire Dutch population, people shouldn't say that the Dutch do not admit their language being similar to German.

    However, since your statement includes 'even if', I guess one can interpret it as a non-generalization also. If it wasn't intended as a generalization, then all's good and you can ignore what I said. Happy learning! :)


    In additional to the linguistic element, I was also alluding to the following. During WWI the neutral Dutch were in general pro-German due to British maltreatment of their Afrikaaner kin in South Africa during the Boer War. However, the bombing of Rotterdam in 1940 by the Luftwaffe (around 900 hundred Dutch killed) plus the subsequent occupation of the Netherlands have left an enduring antipathy towards Germany ever since. This includes a lack of inclination to embrace the linguistic, cultural and racial links between the Dutch and Germans. Generalisations I admit, but with a large dollop of truth in them.


    My boyfriend is dutch and although he speaks perfect english, I'd like to be able to get by in Holland, as our lives may take us there eventually. Also, we want our children (future, that is) to speak both english and dutch!


    Glad to see someone also with a Dutchie :D are you in a LDR too? :)


    Yes! Very long distance :)


    My bf is also Dutch and we're in a LDR as well. He's in the Netherlands while I'm in Canada.

    I'm learning Dutch because I'm gonna move in with him in the summer. I think it's best to learn Dutch if I want to work. Besides, I love learning languages! I only speak English and French, but always pick up little bits of foreign words when I travel.


    Because it is impolite to visit a country without learning the niceties.


    I started out of curiosity, and its similarities with English keep me interested. I also feel like it will be a good bridge between English and German. And I know that if I ever meet a Dutch person they will be happy that I have made the effort to learn some Dutch, even I am only able to remember a few phrases.


    Reading this thread makes me really happy!


    My mother's father's side of the family was Dutch, and I needed a (relatively) easy language to learn on breaks from studying Japanese and Korean. I also have quite a few friends that speak Afrikaans, so it seemed to be a natural choice.


    Wow. Seems nobody is like me. I am a fan for Dutch football and I followed a lot of Twitter accounts in Dutch. It is frustrating that I had to copy & paste tweets into Google Translator all the time. I wanna read them without translation. Google Translator usually works smoothly between English and Dutch (unlike English and Chinese, which is my native language). Moreover, some interviews with the players are in Dutch and it is always frustrating when you could not understand what they are talking about. Apart from that I don't think I would really use Dutch in my real life. I would not really speak / write using Dutch. I would not expect myself speak Dutch when I visit the Netherlands. Therefore my goal is pretty clear: to be able to read / listen to Dutch, but not speak or write.


    Being able to read PSV's tweets is one of my main reasons for learning the language too!


    Oh don't worry, I too follow many Dutch football accounts - and I like trying to translate PSV's tweets :P or articles about them


    OMG I'm a PSV fan too!!!!!!! Cheers, we are doing well this season.


    I totally get you , i used to do the same thing on twitter :)


    My boyfriend is Dutch and I'm Chilean. We both speak English fluently, but we still thought it would be fun if he can learn Spanish and I can learn Dutch, so we're both working on it :). Oh and I go to Holland for three months every year, and even if pretty much everyone there speaks English, I'd like to speak Dutch when going to the supermarket and simple stuff like that :P


    Because I have a dream to study in Netherlands. I often read book about Indonesian history and many Indonesian heroes studied in Netherlands. So I really wants to feel the atmosphere of struggle of them.


    I have OCD. I need all the Languages. ALL OF THEM.

    Heh, not the most flattering answer, I give you that...

    Some people do jigsaws. Some people collect ornaments. To me, a language becomes infinitely more once I understand some of it. When I can't understand, its infuriating gobbledygook. When I know a few hundred words, I invariably start to love it. There's a critical mass point at about word 500, where you start to be able to paddle in the water, you stop having to be chained to a dictionary because you can use your common sense to grasp the words you don't know. It's such a weight lifted from your mind, such a sense of satisfaction; I chase after this feeling like an addict chases the next hit...

    Plus I like the Dutch people, and their general outlook on life, I have met many Dutch people that were refreshingly happy and down to earth. Good impressions count. Maybe it's the unflappable self sufficiency, maybe it's the maritime culture, maybe it's the rejection of the dreaded automobile, but something happening in the Netherlands is very right compared to other countries. I reckon I ought to go see it...

    That and the fact that Dutch stands halfway between English and German, which I have at least a faltering ability with, means for me it would be dumb not to study it.

    My favourite saying in Dutch: "De beste stuurlui staan aan wal"


    Well, that sums up my thoughts!


    are you two language hoarders? :-) this is actually a good, or at least useful form of hoarding!

    i do dutch for likeableness of the netherlands and the similarity to eng and ger and for usefulness in work (fuure work, i hope i will use it)


    I was an exchange student in a little German town just across the border from the Netherlands. We were so close that we would go there for dinner or to visit friends or to watch the Netherlands in the world cup. I picked up a functional amount of Dutch while I was there, and I want to continue to learn and better my Dutch for the next time I visit my friends there.


    Because I can lol

    Tbh I SHOULD be learning French on here but I find French to be a completely ugly language (that's just my opinion okay calm down) so I started with Dutch want het kijkt geweldig uit and then I was like "dam this is fun" and I finished a few lessons and I was like "WAIT I CAN'T STOP I HAVE TO FINISH IT ALL" so it became my goal to finish it and then I was like "dam squirrel, dutch b cool n sheit" so I got really into it and now I wanna maybe live there for a bit.

    It's hella kawaii too.


    Because I watched Black Book (Zwartboek) a few years ago and I fell in love with the language. I met many Dutchies eversince and I love the way they sound. I also love the dutch cuisine (particularly the desserts) and I want to be fluent when I will be there. I'm planning to find a job in The Netherlands :) Next stop is Frysk ;)


    I met a fellow writer who is Dutch, and she helped me edit my first novel. I made some joke about "Now I just have to learn Dutch so I can help you with your books!" and she took me seriously. We started tossing around a few things, working on Dutch a bit, but she's a high school student like me and not exactly a language teacher...then I found Duolingo! I'm far enough along in my Dutch tree that I've been able to write her a few simple emails in Dutch and passably read a bit from her most recent story. :) She speaks/writes excellent English, but she's excited that I'm making the effort to learn her language!


    To speak with my fiancé and so our future children can be bilingual - if I can learn his native language (he speaks fluent English btw),then in some ways I can understand the future frustration that our children will probably encounter when learning Dutch.

    As well as make it easier for me and my fiancé to potentially explain things. Although I feel that we'll probably allow him to speak Dutch primarily within the household (in a few years time, not planning to have children just yet! I'm only 22) whilst I'll be speaking English. But it'll help if I know what he/they are saying :P plus, I don't want to be the future parent who doesn't understand the other one's language you know :P

    Other than that, because I've fallen in love with the language and eventually I'm going to visit the Netherlands (after three years of being together, one would expect me to have visited already) and I want to be able to hold a conversation on my own without looking completely lost if I talk to my in-laws or locals :)


    Because i've always liked this language, the sound is so amazing. And i really hope to visit the Netherlands sooner or later, it's one of my biggest dream :)


    I fell in love with the language for a reason that's beyond me. My goal now is C1 fluency.


    My grandmother was a Dutch Jew until WW2 - she left before the troubles and she tough me some Dutch I plan on moving there soon with my family.


    I have relatives who live in the Netherlands so yeah I wanna learn it.

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