Dutch, when referring to the native tongue of the Netherlands, can be heard in several European countries and as far away as the Caribbean, South Africa and Namibia (as Afrikaans), and Suriname. The Dutch language has official status in Aruba in the Lesser Antilles, Belgium in Europe, Curaçao an island of Venezuela, the Netherlands, or Holland as some people refer to it, the home of the dutch language, Sint Maarten in the Caribbean, and Suriname in South America. Many of these countries were historically Dutch colonies or influenced by trade with either the Dutch East India Company or the Dutch West India Company during their heyday in the 17th and 18th centuries. It has official status in other areas too: Benelux, the customs union of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; the European Union, which currently has 27 member states; and the Union of South American Nations with 12 members.
Could I Really Learn Dutch?
It could be handy to take a Dutch course for business, political or leisure purposes when your native language might not be suitable for communication. On holiday or for work, the Dutch language travels well. Any of the Germanic-based languages would probably recognise Dutch, which is derived from the Indo-European group of languages, of which German is one. Dutch can trace its roots and development back through Low Franconian, West Germanic and Germanic provenance. Extensions of the Dutch language are found in types of Creoles and Afrikaans. It has distinct guttural sounds though it is not as harsh or clipped as German might sound to non-native speakers.
Once you get your throat and tongue around the sounds, it’s easy. It is also simple to recognise the written word as the vowel strings are almost phonetic and don’t change their sound. If you want to learn Dutch it is an extremely accessible language with no strange glyphs or symbols to confuse you. An effective Dutch course could soon have you speaking and understanding the language.
English speakers might find the grammar structure slightly awkward to begin with. When you learn Dutch, you’ll find it uses three genders attributable to nouns and clause structure follows a different rule, but these are soon picked up on a well-structured Dutch course. English speakers might be able to guess many words as they share a similarity. ‘Ik’ means ‘I’, close to the German ‘Ich’, and ‘voet’ means ‘foot’. It’s not so hard, is it? Also, the Dutch language doesn’t capitalise nouns the way German does.
Learning the Dutch language with Babbel
Whether you are carousing in Amsterdam or exploring the Caribbean, being able to recognise Dutch as it is spoken or written and having general competence in Dutch could make your life more satisfying. Modern technology such as apps and interactive forums where you can see and hear the Dutch language in context can make learning fun. You can study at home, and if you want to learn Dutch and want a great Dutch course, Babbel (at Babbel.com) is an excellent resource. The platform offers grammar courses at different levels, as well as various thematic modules for those who are interested in particular topics, such as idioms or customs and traditions. The courses are designed for practicing listening, writing and speaking skills. With the state-of-the-art voice recognition, you will be able to improve your pronunciation in a short space of time. The interface of the platform is ad-free, so there are no distractions while learning. It’s also very easy to use and designed for learners who might not be very familiar with computing. With Babbel you can learn on the move with the mobile apps, which can be downloaded for both smartphones and tablets.