The time to cram had returned! We were at the end of another semester, staring down the barrel of a test to prove we know what we’ve been taught. I feel like I have a long way to go to prove myself too!
We settled in to chapter seven of the textbook, which revolves around a Doctors visit. We learnt the names for various body parts, and the difference in questioning depending on whether or not the problem relates to an internal or external woe. This segued into a conversation about character traits, and we spent some time going over and over discussing what traits we had more or less of.
I’m fairly sure at the end of the class when the teacher asked if we’d done our homework, and all of us pretty much admitted that we either hadn’t, or had half done it … She was understandably unimpressed. But we moved on and had it done for the next lesson! Which began with …
Vacations! We’re all thinking about them at the moment. Whether you’re in the middle of your Summer or Winter break, it’s about that time of year for us all! So we began by identifying where you might go for a holiday. The woods, a beach, an island, the mountains … I found a new place in the Netherlands to add to my “must see” list! For future reference, it is Madurodam in Den Haag.
Of course when talking about previous holidays you’ve gone on you need to learn how to tell stories in Dutch! So we were on to the other form of past tense which the Cloggies use; “Imperfectum”!
Imperfectum is used when what you are talking about is unfinished, still continuing, or (as just mentioned) when you are telling stories. Hence it tends to get a good workout on Facebook with the captions on peoples photo albums.
We pulled the old “’t kofschip” out, dusted it off, and put it back into use with our stem words again, but this time the rule of thumb is “stem + te(n)/de(n)”. Singular is with the te/de and for plural you add the “n”. Got that?
Also, unlike het Perfectum, these words don’t have to be placed last in the sentence. They can be sprinkled all throughout your sentences! So long as the rest of your grammar has them in the correct place in the complete structure of the sentence! 😛
As a quick example, in English present tense would be “I walk to the shops”. Het Perfectum would be “To the shops I walked”. And Imperfectum would be “I was walking to the shops”. Kinda. Adjusting for translational purposes. See how the last one invites you to keep speaking/telling the story?
There were hand-outs of example photographs, (like the facebook example) where we had to identify what words in the story were the past tense words, then match the stories to the pictures. It felt like we went over and over these examples for a long time. But it wasn’t really all that long. New subject matters just absorb more brain capacity.
An interesting side note; You can’t use the closed/completed (perfectum) form of past tense for sentences conveying words/ideas like “want”. Because obviously, if you’re still craving something, by definition it’s not completed. Well, I thought it was interesting!
But when the learning is done you need to be able to show that you actually absorbed it all. So we were given a list of things to prepare and revise for the test on Monday.
The test. I managed 84% again. I’m nothing if not consistent! The first question I got wrong was also the same number as the one on the last test too! I’ll have to watch out more closely in future!
Once the test was over we laughed and joked while building stories about traveling with our new conversation skills. We then moved on to something really scary. We went out into the real world to a pub up the street for a small farewell party, and had to navigate not only using our new found language skills, but also continue using them while dulling our responses! Personally, I think we did wonderfully! 😀
Overall I really enjoyed this course, as I did the first one, and I hope that shows within these posts. I did miss the convenience of having all the dialogue from the first textbook on CD and then MP3 to take with me and listen to for practice. The dialogue and practice conversation audio for this textbook was all web based, so you had to be on the internet to listen to it. Not entirely convenient to have on in the kitchen while making dinner!
Personally though, I now feel it is time for me to take a break from structured lessons, and work on putting the grammar structure I have learnt into practice. What I am feeling most keenly now, as I have said many times, is my own lack of vocabulary. Lessons won’t fix that. I just have to know the words in order to use them.
But I love the grounding I now have in the structure of the Dutch language, and putting together successful sentences. I am also grateful to my many dear and wonderful friends who, when I mangle their native tongue, patiently explain to me that actually, I needed to phrase that differently.
Next week in this time slot I’m going to have a brief break, and possibly throw in a new cat photograph. I know you all love cat photographs! Have a wonderful and safe weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side!