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 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 Course 2 – Week 1

Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, Dames and Heren, it’s back on. I’m partaking in a second language course. Let’s see how much more knowledge I can shove into my brain without things falling out. Alternatively, let’s see if we can figure out what old knowledge gets squeezed out of my brain in the process! Fun times all ‘round!

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Language Course – Week 2

A new week arrived with a new focus. The teacher has been speaking more English during class now (though not much, just enough to assist) and by building on what we’ve learnt so far I can now read and fill in a basic form with my personal details. Which lead to a hilarious conversation about my name. Again.

Ghoti, though amusing and erudite in English, is far less so once you have to explain it, (over and over and over again) to people whose first language isn’t English. The irregularities in English spelling are even more pointedly absurd and frustrating to anyone who’s been forced to learn English as a second language, and already thinks the spelling is insane. Some of the humour is lost when after an explanation people just look at you like you’re bonkers. Oh well. I still like it!

We spent more time revising our vowel pronunciation, and the emphasis structure of the language. For short vowel sounds you repeat “Amsterdam heeft achtentachtig pachtige grachten.” (“Amsterdam has eighty eight beautiful canals.”) For long vowel sounds you repeat “Het Spaanse graan heeft de orkaan doorstaan.” (“The Spanish grain has the hurricane withstood.”)

As an interesting side note, that second one is used in the Nederlands translation of My Fair Lady as a stand in for “The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain”, and fits the music perfectly! Now if I could just get that song out of my head …

In theory, by the end of that third lesson I was now able to correctly pronounce any written Dutch word. In practice this isn’t quite true, as I was proving towards the end of the class. I have some revision work to do. But I’m improving!

Homework was all about familierealties names and ties. Which I’m sure will make my schoonzus (sister-in-law) very happy! It also brought us neatly into the next lesson where we discussed all sorts of things like colours, days of the week, and months of the year.

With just this information we have actually been able to converse with each other! Not with much depth, but we have! And it was wonderful!

Now to build on that!