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7. What should be your first strategic goal as a beginner?

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Your goal is to start speaking Simple Dutch fast and fluently!

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Most of the Dutch people around you, are speaking English. They will also reply in English when you will speak Dutch too slowly. This is the main problem for all expats learning Dutch. They live inside of what I call ‘the English bubble’ and cannot escape from it even when they try to start speaking Dutch.

What is the problem? How do you escape from ‘the English bubble’?

Dutch learners are often not fast enough in making questions and their reactions to answers. It simply takes too long. Your question response time must be under 2 sec. It means you should be able to reply within 2 seconds and to say something within 2 seconds. If you are too slow, your Dutch conversation partners will highly likely switch to English and push you back to your ‘English bubble’. Your Dutch Response Time (DRT) should be under 2 seconds!

How do you achieve this?

If you want to practice your speaking you need to be able to start simple conversions. Therefore, you need to be able to build simple questions fast.

Example: Heb je een auto? (DRT < 2 sec)

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If you do not know the word a car in Dutch, just use an English one: Heb je een car? Do not stop speaking (telling, asking) when you miss a Dutch word. It will be a huge handbrake on your speaking if you do so. Just replace it (if possible) by an English one or say the whole sentence in English but also directly ask this question: Hoe zeg je dit in het Nederlands? (How do you say it in Dutch?) and immediately switch your conversation back to Dutch. You are the manager of your conversations, not your Dutch speaking partner!

No worries about using English words in Dutch. We officially use plenty of them in the Dutch language. It’s completely fine to replace Dutch Nouns by English ones at this stage of learning. You need to develop your fluency and fast DRT. This is more important than using Dutch words all the time. You will temporarily speak ‘Hybrid Dutch’, as I call it, which is a temporary learning language containing some extra English words.

You need to build your vocabulary of frequently used daily verbs and not pay too much attention to nouns at the Beginners stage.

Your first strategic goal as a beginner is to be Fast and Fluent in simple conversation like:

Simple conversation example 1

  • Heb jij een boek? (start speaking within 2 sec)
  • Nee, ik heb geen boek! (response within 2 sec)

Simple conversation example 2

  • Waar is mijn boek? (start speaking within 2 sec)
  • Jouw boek ligt op de tafel! (response within 2 sec)

Simple conversation example 3 

  • Ligt mijn boek in jouw tas? (start speaking within 2 sec)
  • Nee, jouw boek ligt niet in mijn tas! (response within 2 sec)

Simple conversation example 4

  • Werk jij vandaag? (start speaking within 2 sec)
  • Nee, ik werk vandaag niet! (response within 2 sec)

Simple conversation example 5  

  • Kom jij om 3 uur? (start speaking within 2 sec)
  • Nee, ik kom niet om 3 uur (response within 2 sec)

In our Dutch course you will practice the fluency and DRT of such simple conversations.

Dutch teacher Philippe
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Teacher Philippe