In regards to languages, the only thing that I can agree on is that it is essential for everyone across the board to learn a second language. The benefits of learning a second language are only in part down to the communicative aspects.

For example, you also learn to:

  1. Master your own native language skills.
  2. Improve your memory.
  3. Support your self-belief in achieving a goal.

These are just a few of the benefits of learning a language. However, when looking for the best way to learn Dutch or any language, there really is no 1 answer that fits all. We are all too different, and we all have different strengths, preferences and different skills when it comes to how we learn.

My personal preference for learning language is complete immersion usually by visiting the country regularly or moving to the country where the language that I want to speak is spoken. Immersion is hard to beat, and it is the way that we learnt our mother tongue. But not many people can move their entire life to a new country just to learn a language.

So when thinking about the best way to learn Dutch I can agree that the best way is subjective and should be selected based on each person's goals, interests, and preferences. Let's take a look at some ideas for learning Dutch.

Mastering Dutch Native Tongue

There can be no better situation than being Native born into the language that you want to learn. If you grew up speaking English but have Dutch parents or ancestors. Learning dutch could be a bit easier for you. This is for no any other reason then, if you have Dutch family members, then you already have a language family group who will be motivated to work with you to help you excel in the language.

Secondly, you will also have a powerful motivator to keep you going when things get hard.

Thirdly you may have grown up hearing the language, which even if you cannot remember it consciously. It will be in your mind giving you a base to build upon. Having a connection to the country in some way can really keep you dedicated.

So while this tip is about being born with a connection to the Dutch language. The real take away for learning Dutch for beginners is that you should have a clear and definite reason for wanting to take Dutch lessons in London.

Reading is a great way to learn Dutch
Learning Dutch by reading literature. Photo Source: Unsplash

The Dutch Language

The Dutch language is spoken by over 23+ million people worldwide. Aside from the Netherlands, Dutch is also spoken in Parts of Belgium, Suriname, Aruba, Dutch Antilles and some of the former colonies in Asia such as Indonesia. There are also vast communities of Dutch speakers in Canada.

Dutch is the third most popular Germanic language after English and German. Although Dutch has Germanic roots, it is very different to German and has evolved on its own. But it does share some words with both English and German.

A few Dutch words that have inspired the English language are:

  1. Boss was inspired by the Dutch word Bass used first on ships
  2. Booze was inspired by the Dutch word busen used to describe the act of drinking heavily
  3. Cookie was inspired by the Dutch word koekje

But there are thousands of words that are shared between Dutch and English. So the best way to learn Dutch with this tip will be to use a  Dutch dictionary to find the commonality between English and Dutch and build upon that.

Learn A Foreign Language With Dutch Classes

The traditional approach to learning Dutch would be to take an official language class with a language school, college or university.  Language classes taken in an institution can be a very effective way to learn how to speak Dutch including how to read, write and listen.

If you like to study this way you will have access to a textbook and will be able to guarantee that you will gain some knowledge by the time you finish the course. A huge bonus of this method is that you will be in the class with other people who are at the same level as you. When you learn a second language, this way, it can be a huge plus to have other people to study and learn with.

Also, language teachers in these kinds, of courses, tend to make themselves available outside of the classroom. This gives you extra support and guidance should you need it and ensures that you will achieve your goals once the course completes. This further interaction doesn't cost extra so is definitely something that you should take advantage of.

If you enjoy learning in a physical environment with a live language teacher, actual people with you in the classroom, textbooks/learning materials and a structured learning process then this could be the best way for you to learn.

Read in Dutch to learn fast.

Dutch Language Acquisition With Private Tutoring

If you find that you cannot work in a classroom with other people and need a bit more 1-1 attention when learning a foreign language. You can choose to study with a private tutor, who will create a tailor-made language learning program for you. While this can cost a bit more, technically you can get a lot more out of these kinds of lessons and the big bonus here is that the tutor can personalise the teaching to your learning style, fluency and your interest in Dutch.

Being able to spend time with your tutor and have them guide you through every nuance of the language and culture from how to speak to body language and gestures. A personal tutor gets to know you much more than in a full classroom. Another bonus is that you can study with your tutor where ever you would like to from a local coffee shop to your living room.

I think that the personal tuition approach is a great one because you are working in an organically structured way. This is the best way to learn Dutch if you like to grow your language skills in a flexible conversational and supportive learning system.

engage in your language practise
Getting active and creative is great to support your learning. Photo Source: Unsplash

True Immersion With Dutch Holidays

If you are learning how to speak Dutch and are also planning a holiday why not consider visiting the Netherlands, Aruba, Dutch Antilles or Suriname. All of these countries speak Dutch as the native tongue. While the accent is likely to be different in each country, visiting a native speaking Dutch country for your next holiday will be a great way to try immersing yourself into Dutch culture.

Spending as much time as possible in a country that speaks Dutch is a fantastic way to learn to communicate fluently. Using the language in conversation is also one of the most reliable ways to reinforce everything that you have learnt. This practice will be one of the best learning experiences that you can have and it will re-instill a new lease of life into your language study. As you see that all of your hard work is paying off.

This is my best way to learn, and it will be the best way for you if you can travel regularly and enjoy speaking to new people.

Learn Dutch with the Newspaper
Learning dutch your way is the best way. Photo Source: Unsplash

Dutch Self-Study

Learning languages online opens up an entirely new world to you. Online study starts at free so as long as you have access to the internet, then there should really be no limitation to your learning. All it takes is for you to think about what kind of thing you enjoy and find a way to learn that is in line with that.

The Best Ways To Learn Dutch Online:

  1. Mobile apps offer language learning software which provides free lessons through games and micro courses. Companies like Rosetta stone, Babbel and Busuu are excellent examples of language companies that use apps to teach students.
  2. Online courses by companies like Rosetta stone which guide you through a fully digital language course that can correct your pronunciation and support your development.
  3. Youtube is an excellent resource for learning anything in fact, but language videos are high up there on the list of things that you can use to learn. Every language is supported, and many channels speak in dutch natively without trying to teach you which can be very useful too.
  4. Netflix is one of the best online sources to learn. The main reason for this is that they offer Dutch films in their native language, they provide dubbing to languages other than English, and they provide subtitles in other languages too. So you can watch a film in Dutch with English subtitles which is a handy learning tip that is also lots of fun.
  5. Using private online tutors is one of the most robust methods to learn Dutch because you can attend your classes from anywhere in the world. But you do need a wifi connection and a device that can connect to the wifi. Private tutors have all of the same skills that a face to face tutor but they are slightly more cost-effective.

If you are very good at motivating yourself and like to study alone that this could be the best way for you to learn Dutch.

As you can see the best way to learn a language changes depending on what your goals are, what you are doing and what you enjoy. But one thing is for sure that when learning a language you must be active and engage with your learning.

The great news is that as long as you are active, you don’t have to pick one learning style or the other. If you have the time to, incorporate all of the language tips and if you have less time just pick the ones that you think would work best for you. The world is literally your oyster, and you can do anything that you put your mind to.

Succes (This means Good Luck in Dutch)

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