Language Course 2 – Week 7

Another massive week was underway before I realised it! It’s the strangest thing that you just seem to blink and it is the beginning of another week of class and you’re wondering if you should have done your homework. (Of course I always do my homework!) Monday always seems to be a big lesson too, stuffed with as much information as possible, allowing it to ferment for a day, then you can come back on Wednesday and practice everything which should be sitting in your brain.

We jumped right in to the fray with answering questions for “how frequently” and “have you ever”. Keeping in mind that the Dutch would never simply answer with “I have” (Ik heb), you have to answer with “I do that lots” or “I do that never”. Of course the answers will differ depending on whether you are answering in the present tense or past tense (remember het perfectum) “I have never …”

Would you like to know more?

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! Would you like to know more?

Language Course – Week 12

Not really an auspicious start to the week when your head cold prevents you from going to class. I feel like I’m so far behind! So I rectified this by applying myself to my books and listening diligently to my CDs on Wednesday in the hopes that by Thursday, some of it would have stuck.

Then I looked at my calendar and realised that there were only two lessons left for this semester. Revision time! How has this come up so fast? I knew I must hit the books in order to pass on move up to the next course!

I now have pages and pages full of notes. I just hope when I go back to them, I know what they mean and I can read them!

Thursday’s lesson. More new information. With a test in just 4 days time to assess how much we’d absorbed in the course, we were learning new information. I’m sure you can picture how much this filled me with joy, and not apprehension at all!

We began with “Hoe zie je eruit?” (How do you look?) and “Hoe ben je?” (How are you?) then moving on in difficulty to “Hoe voel je je?” (How do you feel?) Where for the first time those of us that speak English were using a reflexive pronoun. Yeah baby! “Ik voel me ontspannen en blij!” (I’m relaxed and happy!)

There were games, which I’m sure were meant to be cementing things in our heads, but most of us were “moe” (tired) and “zenuwachtig” (nervous) about the coming “toestje” (small quiz – not a test!).

So now I’m trying to cram. I have 4 days. Wish me “success” (luck)!

Language Course – Week 11

Mijn docent (my teacher) had een jarig (a birthday)!!! So once we all wished her “Gefeliciteerd!” (Congratulations) we were all treated to delicious Soesjes … think, Dutch Profiteroles. Schoonzus, correct me if I’m wrong here!

Just when you think you’ve studied and worked hard all weekend, you turn up to class to discover that you have no idea. We were handed sheets of paper with questions on them that ostensibly, we were able to answer. I must have been having an off day, or maybe it was a Tuesday (it was), because, wow. I had no idea what the words in front of me meant. It was quite disheartening and rather awful.

This happens to me sometimes when I’m thinking about Dutch. I know I should know a word, I know I’ve looked it up before, but I can’t remember it for the life of me. I know this feeling goes away eventually as more and more information gets absorbed, and I go to my dictionary and look up that same word just one … more … time. But this particular night I felt more like I was drowning rather than swimming in the language that was flowing all around me.

The questions were about our weekends and how we’d spent them. Thankfully, mijn docent had read my blog, and was able to tell me what I had done. *waves at Trix*. Sometimes self-promotion is a wonderful thing.

I need to work on, not just being able to say what I have achieved in the past (remember, Het Perfectum is completed things), but also add into my sentences when I achieved things; yesterday, last week, last year … In order to give more information and make my sentences more accurate.

“Wat heb je gistermorgen gedaan?” (What did you do yesterday morning?)

“Ik ben gistermorgen in het vondelpark gelopen.” (Yesterday morning I walked in Vondel Park)

Of course, now I’m confused as to whether or not that is a zijn sentence, or a hebben one. According to the book it could go either way …

There was an embarrassing incident where I think I basically answered the question “What did you do with your friend?” with “I did my friend.” *shakes head* This is a perfect example of needing more information in my answers!

We moved on to a game of four of a kind. A deck of cards dealt out between five of us, and you had to collect all four cards from each category. I think, having played similar games in my (long forgotten) childhood, I grasped the strategy behind it a little sooner than others in the class and was remembering who had asked for what and what they were collecting. But it was a fun way to spend the last part of the lesson. It’s a really fun way to learn to inject some sarcasm into your new found language! “Nee. Sorry hoor! Ik heb hem niet!” (No. Sorry! I don’t have the card you want!)

It’s remarkably difficult to convey via written word just how much sarcasm was dripping off our answers by the end of that lesson.

We were allowed a brief reprieve on homework in honour of the aforementioned birthday, on the condition that we all worked harder at memorising the abnormal perfectum verbs for next lesson.

As it turns out though, the next lesson was cancelled on account of no teacher. So on that note, I have set up a revision with Himself (because he needs to learn the language too, and he appears to be learning it via me and these posts …), and wish Trix all the best and the hope that she gets well soon!

See you all next week! Same Fish time, Same Fish channel, for our next exciting episode!!!

Language Course – Week 9

It was a chill day in an Amsterdam Spring when George (that’s me) decided she should pick up the tale of partaking in a language course. She is not entirely sure why she is writing in the third person, but there you go.

Week 6 Prague – I wasn’t in lessons, but I had gotten the heads up on what we would be studying in class! Chapter 6, which was all around “modal verbs”. Though I took my books with me to Prague, I actually didn’t open them. *hangs head in shame*

Week 7 Playing catch up – I stayed home when Himself took our guests sight-seeing and attempted to make sense of the chapter while running decidedly low on sleep.

I got to class to discover that the class had had a different teacher for the last week as Trix had come down with pneumonia and would be away a while. So it seemed I hadn’t missed anything after all, as they were studying what I had been set, which makes me wonder what they had been doing while I was away. The answer I got was “plurals”, and the revision work involved supermarket shopping.

I began coughing on that Tuesday night, but kept going and was in attendance the Thursday night too. The class chapter on Thursday involved ordering a restaurant.

8 last week – The next week I was too sick to go on the Tuesday, but we moved on to the next chapter in the book which was clothes shopping and clothing nouns. So many words to remember!!!

We ended Thursday evening discussing real estate and housing. It was still with the substitute teacher too. This enabled us to have long activities surrounding prepositions. (in, on, out, beside, in front, etc)

9 this week – Trix was back! She was still not 100% poor thing, but on the mend, and not contagious anymore! We celebrated by doing revision on everything we’d done so far. It was clearly obvious after this revision, that I rely far too heavily on my books being open in front of me. Also, which sections needed work! So off I went on my merry way with a little bit of focus and worked hard at my skills until the next lesson.

The most recent lesson was more revision. Lots of word games, and I had my Nederlands to Engels translation dictionary out, and we were on a roll! Sometimes opposites are hard! But before the lesson was over we worked on when to use “geen”, and when to use “niet”. “Ik sprek geen Russisch” (I speak no Russian), and “Ik help hem niet” (I help him not).

I think I have it. Only time will tell. And practice. Lots, and lots of practice.

Homework is more revision. Only the last four chapters though. Should be a gemakkelijk karweitje! (Piece of cake!)