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 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!