The first leg of learning Dutch

Yup, here we are, a little bit smarter. 80 hours of Dutch behind my back. Breakthrough module is now studied. I think I did good, well, the hell with it, I did great! I got 96% of the maximum score! Just some minor things to be corrected.

Plus I made new friends, which is always a massive plus on any record.

This time studying a language has been very much a different experience than any other time. Counting out the first years of studying English as a ten-year-old eager mind. Now the motivation has been truly innate. I have a huge will to learn which is a wonderful feeling and really helps me to learn. I want to be able to communicate with the locals and of course with Waffle and his family with their mother tongue.

I am getting closer to that goal. At least on a theoretical level. It seems, that everybody outside of the classroom is speaking a completely different language. The differences in dialects in Belgium are huge. We are thought to speak somewhat proper Dutch but in the real world, the dialects rule the game.

Even though Belgium is not a big country, there are loads of regional differences in culture, and definitely in language and dialects. The obvious is of course the division between Dutch, French and German speaking Belgians.

The Dutch spoken here differs a lot form the Dutch in the Netherlands. Belgian version is actually called Flemish which has more influences from French compared to the proper Dutch. And there are several different ways of speaking Flemish as well. Starting from the west, the dialect that needs subtitles in national TV, since no Belgian outside West Flanders can understand them. They have they own set of words and completely self made way of pronunciation.

In the east is Limburg, there the Flemish is rather clean, people speak slowly, and practically sing all the time. Lovely people, these ones even I can understand without too much painful effort and millions of “Wablief?”s.

Closer to my home is Antwerp. They are famous for their arrogance and the Aantwaarps dialect, with a lovely, lovely “A”. It sounds like they have a permanent hot potato in their mouth, poor people.  Also the whole Flanders seems to have an odd passion of swallowing the letter “I”, which will make many sentences completely incomprehensible. Now how am I supposed to make anything out of anything? I am lucky though, I think, since I live in one of the cleaner dialect areas. But still, I am more or less screwed everywhere outside Rupelmonde, since the next village is already adding its own twist to the language.

I already booked the course for the next level, which will begin on Monday. The teacher spooked us students by telling us that it is going to be more intense. In preparation for that, I’ll be abusing Waffle. We’ll be having an hour each day, only communicating in Dutch! I am horrified. But he is very capable of talking sloooowly and in proper Dutch so even a dumb person can understand. Maybe eventually we evolve into more normal style of conversation.

So here I am, on my way to learning a new language, one step further!





2 thoughts on “The first leg of learning Dutch

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