Language Course 2 – Week 9 & 10

Week 9
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 …

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Language Course 2 – Week 8

Week eight? How did it get to be week eight already?! Well, I guess it is, and I’ll just have to deal with it! So much information is being crammed into each lesson, but as we all realised, next week is our last full week of lessons!

So we dove straight in to working on our limited conversation skills. The premise being that when you speak to people and they tell you something, you have to respond. If our responses are reflexive, then it gives our brains time to come up with further conversation! In English these phrases would be “How nice!” or “That’s interesting.” Or “Oh damn!” In Dutch, all these begin with “wat”, so we also have to get used to “wat” not being a question. Harder than you’d think!

We built on our past tenses and then practiced them by asking each other questions about what we had done over the weekend. There is still a long way to go for me with remembering all the words that I have at my disposal in order to answer more fully. Along with past tenses came the practicing of which sentences were “heb” (have) and which were “zijn” (are). Just to make this interesting, some words can be both a “heb” and a “zijn” word (though not in the same sentence), depending on whether you use the words “via”, “langs”, or “naar” within the sentence.

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Language Course 2 – Week 3

It has been a week of revelations. A week of feeling that for every step forward I take two steps back. Though overall, it all still seems to be moving forward. Progress is still progress, no matter how small.

I may have arrived a touch late to my first lesson and walked in as negatives were being discussed. As with so many things, this involves much practice and repetition. Mostly until the “right way” feels “normal.” As with all good Dutch language structure, there are rules to fall back on. Before an adjective, proposition, or infinitive; but after the time/place adverb, definite object, finite verb, or at the end of a sentence.

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Language Lesson – Week 13

We’re coming to the end, it’s nearly all over for this semester. Given that this was the last full lesson, there was a lot to pack in. It’s also nearly Kongininnedag! So we commenced practicing our familial relations using none other than the Royal family.

We watched the Queens’ abdication speech, and then answered questions on it. Her Majesty speaks at a good, measured pace, which is perfect for learners! It’s really helpful!

We each have our own copy of the sixteen verse, Dutch National Anthem; Wilhelmus van Nassouwe . (Note that the first letter of each verse spells Willem Van Nassov. It’s important if you’re Dutch.)

There was one last look at the text book, to dash our way over chapter eleven, and learn responses and reactions. You see, one of the things that gives you away as a foreigner is when people tell you information of news you tend to just go “Oh!” So we figured out what some acceptable responses would be, and then practiced them on each other!

For the second half of the lesson we played an ingenious board game which had us all asking questions of each other and revised everything we’d learnt so far.

With the next lesson came “The Test”.

It was a remarkably easy test. Which makes the fact that I only got 84% even more mortifying. But I shall recover, and now I know what I need to work on.

We ended the test by writing (simplistic) stories about people in photos. It was a nice way to round it out, come down from exam nerves, and see how far we’d all come.

After break we played another board game that was designed to test our skills and revise our knowledge. It was all very relaxed, and we laughed and joked around quite a bit. I think my favourite stuff-up for the evening was literally translated as “Are you without sauce?”

We relaxed, we laughed, I think we realised that we aren’t really going to see each other again. We went from a class of 12 down to 3 people.

But at the end of it all, I have a basis for further learning, and I have a nice clean stiff white piece of card with my name on it that proclaims that I have completed Nederlands 1!

Language Course – Week 10

What a week! As is often the case I’ve found, I walked out of the first lesson of the week with the feeling that my brain was oozing out of my ears.

We began with “Hoe vaak?” (How often?) and its various responses, all the way from “altijd” (always) to “nooit” (never).

A “v” in Dutch is pronounced softly like an “f” in English, combining that sound with the long double “a” … there was much juvenile giggling, and we all proved that we’re really twelve year olds at heart. It was amusing, and time was spent figuring out how to not say vaak until we’re all more comfortable with the language.

We then moved on to separable verbs. They are made up of a simple verb and a particle. You need to know separable verbs in order to know that when used in a present tense sentence they are broken up. Backwards. So “opbellen” (literally – “up phone”, translated “call”), in a sentence becomes “Ik bel mijn moeder op.” (I call my mother up). But it is still one verb.

Then we moved on to past tense. We got as far as what is known as, the “Perfectum”. Which is how you talk about actions that are over/finished in the past. Het Perfectum consists of an auxiliary verb (hebben) and the past participle.

So, for regular verbs you end up constructing it as “ge” + stem word + “d/t”, depending on whether them stem word ends in a consonant contained in “’T KoFSCHiP”, but based on the spelling of the infinitive root word before you added “en”.

Did you get all that? How’s your Dutch spelling by the way? Yeah.

Then there are the exceptions to the rules where the stem word already begins with ge-, be-, ver-, her,- or ont-, these are ge-blockers. Then there are the separable verbs again, where the prefix goes before the “ge” …

I think you can see why I wanted whiskey after that.

We spent the second lesson of the week revising and practicing until it felt more natural to use past tense in sentences. Going through the list of words we’d been asked to put together for homework was enlightening, and I was glad I’d done it in pencil. But I only had three mistakes, and they were spelling mistakes; I’d gotten the principles down.

We practiced until break time, and after break came back to learn that our text book had a list of approximately fifty of the most used infinitief and perfectum words which don’t subscribe to the regular verb rules in the back! Hoorah! We just have to memorise them all. Boo!

On top of that, some of them also break the “hebben” rule, and are in fact “zijn”. *wince* Again, just memorise it.

Oefenen, oefenen, oefenen! Practice, practice, practice! My life has a new motto.

In other news I’m now a featured blog over on Expat Blog! And you can check me out here! I’m so excited by this!

Expat Blogs

Don’t miss this opportunity to head on over and leave a comment in the comment box at the bottom of my listing! This was used to help determine last years Expat Blog Awards Winner! So, go have a look, leave a comment, and them pass the link along to all your friends and family!