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Hoe Leer Je Een Tweede Taal?

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I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. – Leonardo da Vinci

Nederlands leren is niet makkelijk. Certainly, it doesn’t make it easier to learn a new language at 30. But adult learning is really up to the learner if he or she wants to learn.

It is a known fact that children learn languages a lot easier than adults. Their minds are like sponges. It absorbs anything you teach them. But when you’re 30, or 40, or 50, learning a new language becomes more difficult. It’s easy to pick a new word or two, but to learn it to use as your new mother tongue — that is fully a different deal.

I am 30 and I just arrived here (in Mei) with the objective to stay for a very long time. If I want to have a real life (meaning: real job, new friends and acquaintances), I have to polish my Dutch. Mainly because that is the language here! And how does a woman of 30 with Filipino as the mother tongue and English as the second language learn Nederlands?

I believe that adult education becomes successful ONLY if the adult wants to learn. That is why master’s programs and doctorates are possible with online education. Self-study can be very successful if one really wants to do it.

Mijn Nederlands is nog niet perfect. Maar ik studeer zelf iedere dag thuis. Ik heb een studieboek en ik doe een hoofdstuk per dag. ‘s avonds lees ik een kinderboekje met mijn vriend. Dat is goed voor mijn uitspraak. We spreken bijna altijd Nederlands thuis.

It becomes easier when we use Dutch at home bijna altijd. It helps me to be confident in the language a little more everyday. It also helps to talk to other people however simple it is — like the vegetable seller at the market or mijn collega’s hier bij Antenne. I guess it is not a task that een anderstalige can do alone. This is where the saying “a little goes a long way” works en in dit geval, a little help from Dutch speakers.

Oh, and to widen my woordenschat, we used the post-its system. Ken je het post-its system? We learned this from friends. My fiance’ stuck post-its on almost all parts of the house. As I learn and memorize the word, I will take it out and put it in a jar. And I can never use the foreign word for it again — only the Nederlandse woord.

With a partner by my side, learning Nederlands becomes an enjoyable activity. Although I still get impatient sometimes when I have to be corrected most of the time. I guess that’s more the ego hurting. Because I am a Journalist and language is my business. Now, I come to a country with a whole new different language.

But it’s a good thing to be corrected, really. I have the license to make mistakes because like a child, I am learning. Although since I’m an adult, I do not have the license to have the same mistakes over and again. So it is with life and so it is with learning a new language.

I guess it also helped a lot that I like learning. Ik geniet van Nederlands leren omdat het een uitdaging voor mij is. Het is inderdaad niet gemakkelijk te leren maar ik denk dat het mogelijk is. #

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