Language Course 2 – Week 6

The astute in the audience will notice that I missed reporting on a couple of weeks in there. I was at Week 4 for the first lesson, but not the second when my back gave out, and it remained out for Week 5. Briefly, that one lesson I was at in Week 4 involved when you put an “e” at the end of verbs. The short version is that it depends on where it’s placed in the sentence (before or after the noun), whether “een” is used in prefix, and whether it is a “de” or het” word.

We moved on to listening to a grocery shopping scenario. More and more we’ve been listening to audio to acclimatise us to how fast people speak. It’s tough when you can’t ask a recording to slow down! But you’d be surprised how much you can pick up too! The goal is apparently to catch 60% of a conversation. This should be enough to respond to. So we did some “fill-in-the-blanks”, and then repeated the scripts in groups.

Then we moved on to playing “grocery shopping” under the auspices of needing to put on a dinner party for ten people. Half the class were shopping, and the other half being the shop assistants. It was fun, and loud! My partner and I were shopping for paella ingredients!

There was some work on responses, and a hand out which we went through in pairs where we were informed that “starting your response with “Dat …” creates cohesion with your conversation partner, making your Dutch sound very natural.” Something else I need to work on, obviously!

Week 5

I was reliably informed that Week 5 was all things I’d covered in the previous course. The class continued in the shopping vein, but moved from groceries on to clothing.

I listened to all these lessons on line, and will go over them again later, as when I rocked up to class on Monday this week …

Week 6

Effectively, I hadn’t touched a text book or listened to a single lesson to do with my Dutch lessons in two weeks. And it showed. And I felt like I was floundering.

Luckily we picked up with seperable verbs which, owing to a twitter encounter with a friend a few weeks earlier, finally make sense. What I now need to do (as always) is remember all the words in order to use them. I really need to just sit down with a dictionary. *sighs*

We had a brief discussion about trains, and the words associated with them, which you come in to contact with when discussing them, and listened to another conversation, again playing “fill-in-the-blanks” and then practicing saying the scripts.

We proceeded to the two different words for “because” and how you structure your sentence depending on which one you use. They both mean the same thing, but you have to be aware of rules in order to use them correctly.

In the final lesson for this update we were building on and refining everything from the previous lesson. Again we listened to conversations and filled in the blanks in the script. I think I’m hearing words better at conversational speed. I should go and sit in a café somewhere pretending to read and eavesdrop, just to see how much of the ambient conversations I can understand.

We also answered questions on what the conversations were about, testing our comprehension of the conversation. My results … let’s just say I may have gotten a little too adept at using all available information to answer questions, rather than just using the one input I’m meant to use!

There was a brief discussion on directions, both how to give them, and how to ask for them.

Finally we went back to “Because” and “If” (omdat/want/als) and when and where to use them. This was drilled into us for a long time. I find it interesting that if asked a “waarom” (why) question you answer with “omdat/want” (because). But when asked a “wanneer” (when) question, you answer with “als” (if). You can swap them, but if you do the locals will ask where you’re from and if you’d rather swap to English. And then there’s the structure of where to put those words in sentences, and what happens to the other words’ placement depending on where you put them …

It was a brain drain of a lesson. I’m not entirely sure that the heatwave and lack of air-conditioning helped. But here I am! Back in the swing of it with homework to take me through the weekend! Bring on the homework!

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