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.

Would you like to know more?

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!)

Language Course – Week 5

The astute amongst you will notice that I didn’t provide an update for week 4. I made it to the first lesson that week, practiced my 150 most common verbs along with everyone else, we told stories about Willem, and then I put my back out so missed the second lesson of the week. After checking, I only needed to cover chapter four. Even with the missing lesson I didn’t seem to have any problems picking up with the rest of the class when I got there this week in time for …

Week 5, lesson 9. I knew I should have looked up how to say “sore back” as an explanation of my absence! For future reference it’s “zere rug”, and now I know. And you do too.

We began with question structure. Getting my words in the correct order for Dutch is more problematic than I hoped, but I’ll get there! I just need to stop thinking in English.

There was then some role-playing, and the ever important phrase “Kunt u langzamer spreken? Ik leer Nederlands.” (“Can you speak slower? I’m leaning Dutch.”)

After spending time running through various standard responses to frequently asked questions (“I’m off tomorrow” could be answered with “that’s nice” or “sounds enjoyable” … you get the idea) we then all stood up and mingled at the front of the classroom, pretending that we were at a cocktail party. It was remarkably amusing given how little we could converse. But then, how much depth does one go into at those things anyway?

One of the questions on our wee palm cheat sheets was “Hoe oud ben je?” (“How old are you?”) which I had mentioned to the teacher was a bit unfair (not to mention depressing) given that I’m the oldest in the class! So I have my own response to that now! “”Met de leeftijd komt de schoonheid.”(“With the age comes the beauty.”)

For homework we needed to Google (at .nl) all the various public holidays for the Nederlands. We also need to remember while doing this that days of the week and names of the months are not capitalised in Dutch unless they are “important”. For instance; vrijdag (Friday) isn’t capitalised, maar (but) Goed Vrijdag (Good Friday) is.

I had noticed this on some winkel (shop) doors where they posted their hours, but had written it off in my head as purely a design decision. Seems I was mistaken!

In lesson 10 the nitty got grittier. There is so much information to absorb in each lesson, and with each lesson building on the last, there’s ever more to revise and add to our knowledge base. First we continued working on sentence structure. We learnt that though one sentence can be said 4 ways and all will be correct, we learnt the Dutch way.

Then we moved on to learning the rules for pluralisation. Just to screw with my (and your) English mind, they do use apostrophes for plurals of words ending in vowels that aren’t “e”.

Finally we learned new sentences. We were creating sentences about hobbies, and whether we liked or didn’t like them. As with most of our classes, this ended up being quite loud and boisterous as we all spoke at the same time while trying to listen to our fellow students mangle the language.

As always, a wonderful week, and a LOT of homework for the weekend ahead! I think my brain may leak out my ears!