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12. Why should you pay much attention to learning Dutch grammar?

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What happens when your Dutch grammar sucks?

I used to teach refugees from different countries. Most of them were very lowly educated or not educated at all due to difficult situations in their countries. These people had learned Dutch for 3 years at other language schools and some of them even successfully passed their Civic Integration Exam (Inburgeringsexamen). I was very surprised that they could not even ask a simple question in the correct way (like What time do you have an appointment? Hoe laat heb jij een afspraak?) despite their A2 level of the Dutch language. Most of them would know enough words to express themselves but due to the lack of a good structure in their Dutch, it was very difficult to communicate with them. Most of them were unemployed because of their broken Dutch. How is it possible that these people could not ask even a simple question after 3 years of learning? I can explain that.

Book Simpel Nederlands Learn Dutch Eindhoven

All language schools are using the same grammatical concepts which are used at Dutch schools for native speakers. They are way too difficult to digest if you do not speak Dutch yet. As a teacher, I asked myself: How do you transmit knowledge from person A to B in time in the most effective way in a very short period? Most of the world population is visual. It means that they proceed and learn new information by seeing it, not but hearing it in the first place. They remember your face, not your voice in the first place. That is why I have designed a simplified visual version of Dutch grammar. I started its development in 2013 with refugees and ended around 2020 with highly educated expats. It took almost 7 years to test the method in our Dutch classes and refine it for learning and teaching in a fast and effective way. I wrote a book called Simpel Nederlands (Simple Dutch) which is only used in our Dutch courses and it is not available for sale in any bookstore. I strongly advise you to pay much attention to the Dutch grammar.

Can you use some English grammar in your Dutch?

Despite that Dutch and English are originating from the same language family, their grammar is quite different. The Dutch sentence structure is different from English. English could be your enemy when you will try to build a Dutch sentence in an English way. Actually, the Dutch language has 2 languages inside: the written Dutch language and spoken Dutch language. We do not write in the same way as we speak (Facebook excepted of course). The structure of the written Dutch language (schrijftaal) is not as flexible as the structure of the spoken Dutch language (spreektaal). We also skip some words in the spoken Dutch language when they are obvious to our speaking partner. There could also be a big difference in the vocabulary used in the written and spoken language. Your goal is to develop both languages, de spreektaal and schrijftaal. Even if you are fluent in Dutch, that does not mean you are well skilled in the written language. Especially if you need it for your Dutch job. You just cannot write a formal email in the same way you speak. We are paying much attention to developing both languages in our Dutch courses. I strongly advise you to do the same in your learning process.

Dutch teacher Philippe
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Teacher Philippe