Dutch learners - Skype?

Hoi allemaal!

Are there any other fellow Dutch learners around at the moment? If so, would anyone fancy doing a regular Skype chat to get some practice in? Feel free to add me, if so: calumharvie




We don’t have an awful lot going on in terms of Dutch learners on the forum so far - largely because we’ve been holding back on producing more Dutch until the course creation tool was ready - but over the next few months, we should have more new lessons, and over time we hope that will lead to a livelier community and more chances to practise… :slight_smile:


Cheers, thanks! :slight_smile:


Bumping this up, just in case another Dutch user hasn’t seen it yet :smiley:

I’ve loved the Dutch course that’s available thus far. @aran - do you know how many lessons there are / will be in total, eventually?

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Hallo Calum,
I’ve taken the liberty to answer your question seeing I have been doing much of the course development so far. The plan is to create as many lessons as we can, and I believe that ultimately, that means as many lessons as there are for Welsh… Hopelijk…


Hoi Louis!

Bedankt voor je antwoord :slight_smile:

Out of interest - is it your voice we hear on the course? If so, are you from the south of the Netherlands, or Flanders? I ask due to the rounded ‘w’ sound you use for ‘wat’, ‘wilde’ etc.


Spot on - I grew up in the south, Helmond, to be exact, and the surrounding villages could (still can?) tell someone from Helmond because of what they call the Helmond ‘w’. Do you hear it with Eline as well? She is from a village 10 k away.


Just saw your post Louis whilst searching for something else. My mother was born in Someren near Helmond, I’ve still got cousins scattered around Helmond and surrounding villages


My mother was born in Lierop, not far from there, and I had two bachelor great-uncles who ran a farm in Someren, used to ride my bike there to visit them for chat and a cup of extremely strong bitter coffee :slight_smile:
I bet some of your relatives know some of mine…

Do you speak Dutch?


When I was was younger we used to travel over from England to visit the family quite regularly. Lots of coffee and of course a few of “borreltjes” at each stop.
Those were the days…
Although I wasn’t brought up bilingually I manage to undersand most of what is being said and can more or less keep up a conversation


Just noticed this Louis, I was born In Haarlem, was evacuated to Groningen just before the end of the war, stayed there for 10 years before returning to Haarlem - we could always tell someone from south of the rivers as we called it, by the pronunciation of the g ( een zachte g noemden wij het ) - my brother married a girl from Limburg and she never did lose that particular sound.


Even we from Brabant think that the zachte g in Limburg is particularly zacht :smile:
But to be honest, the really, really hard g still hurts my ears when I visit certain parts of Holland…

At school we were told that the Haarlem dialect/accent was the most proper one - a bit like it is in Italian with the Florentine accent


Sadly, that is about the level at which my kids work - I truly regret not having put more effort into bringing them up bilingual…

Eh - I know from experience in my family that just because you speak to children in one language doesn’t mean they’ll reply to you back in it.

My youngest sister refused to speak English to my father after she realised nobody else understood her when she started kindergarten; occasionally she would even claim not to understand English. But when she was in America as an au pair with her cousin, she was a little satisfied to find that her English was better than her cousin’s – something must have stuck – and when she had children, she raised them in English. (Recently with some German mixed in.)

And some of my nieces and nephews speak English fluently, while others will understand it when spoken to but will reply in German.

I don’t think the difference is in how much effort my sisters put in, but more about the children’s personalities.

As such, I’m grateful that my daughter speaks English to me, because I realise that it’s not a natural and necessary consequence of the offer of bilingualism.

So I would like to ask you to paid â phoeni (don’t worry): even just understanding another language is a lot more than a monolingual has, and I don’t think this level reflects badly on you as “teacher” at all!


Thank you for your kind words Philip - my kids mantra was always: “don’t speak Dutch with us, dad!” - although when they were a bit older, they took themselves off to the language lab at Sydney Uni where they did Dutch for a while - they still roll on the floor laughing when they mention “neushoorn” (rhinoceros)


Dear all,

Dutch is the main language I study on here and I find Louis’ course really useful, so thank you so much for producing it! Despite there only being 7 lessons so far, it is still by far the most useful free tool on the internet to help with speaking a language. I don’t have time right now to commit to Skype conversations but I am very interested in future developments to the course and may have time to try some Dutch via Skype in the future.

I’m hoping to get my Dutch up to a decent level for when I visit my friend in Belgium later this year and I am also going to a conference in the Netherlands later this year too, so it would be good to try some of Louis’ phrases then.

It’s an interesting point that you all bring up about bilingualism. I live in Italy where I work as an English teacher. I have an Australian colleague whose children are half Italian-half Australian. One is happy to speak English and Italian with his mum and dad, but his younger brother will only answer in Italian even if asked a question in English by one of his Australian family members who don’t speak Italian. Another colleague is half Italian-half English and his mother (English half) was told by her neighbour and some family members that teaching her child to be bilingual would make him dyslexic. She persisted and the guy is probably the best example I know of someone who is perfectly bilingual and speaks both languages with a perfect local accent. He has a school friend who is half English too, but didn’t have the same connection with his English language roots and apparently can only speak it to a very basic level.

It’s a really complex thing trying to get children to become bilingual. I think there have been quite a few studies on it, and although I have no kids now, it’s something I’m sure I will have dilemmas with out here in the future if and when I do get to have kids. The two techniques people talk about introducing are OPOL (one person one language) and ML@H (minority language at home). (These two are both discussed here: http://www.omniglot.com/language/articles/bilingualkids4.htm). I think personally the best thing to do is to make sure that the language you want your child to learn is never forced upon them but that they are made to feel comfortable with it. Creating an environment where they can hear it and produce it regularly also helps. But it’s obviously a really complex issue for many parents, you only need to google raising bilingual children and there are numerous blogs on it.

Thanks again for the course Louis!



Dear Owain,

Thank you very very much - heel heel hartelijk bedankt - it is a huge motivator for me to keep going, reading your comments. Apart from the 7 ‘official’ lessons, there is also a set of tourist lessons, designed to help you get around safely (or hopelessly lost :wink: ) in Belgium and the Netherlands, these may be useful to you as well. Whereabouts in Belgium is your friend?

Wholeheartedly agree with your comment about not forcing a particular language on kids - I am always reminded of my neighbour’s children who had their Cypriot yaya living with them - they did not realise until years later that she was speaking Greek with them: they understood her perfectly well, but replied to her in English, because that’s what mum and dad both spoke. I asked them once what language they thought yaya spoke, and they said " no idea, that was just the way yaya spoke"

I am waiting for Aran to give me the OK, and then it will be vol gas - full pelt - with more Dutch!

Update: Aran has given me a provisional go-ahead, and I will make a new start this Sunday! Prima!


Fantastic, I am so pleased to hear that there will be more Dutch challenges coming. I would like to congratulate you on such a great learning tool. Your teaching technique is really effective, and I have seen a great improvement in my own knowledge and ability in such a short time. To think of all the time I have wasted in the past trying to piece the various things together, and not getting any closer to actually being able to verbalize what I wanted to say. Please keep up this outstanding work. Thank you.


Thank you very much - also on behalf of Aran whose brainchild this really is. I am busy creating new lessons using the latest version of the SSi software, and if this receives the green light from Aran, I will be starting the recordings and if Eline can spare some time away from her new baby, we will have new courses before too long…


Hi Louis,

Thanks for the update, I’m really looking forward to the new challenges.

I do have a couple of questions which I hope you don’t mind me asking. The first is in Challenge 5. At about 10m:43s in, the sentence given is “I’ve still got more to learn”, and on my first pass I ventured “ik heb nog steeds meer te leren”, but the answer given is “ik moet nog steeds meer te leren”. I looked back at Challenge 4, and at about 18m:30s in, it gives, for the same sentence, the response “ik heb nog steeds meer te leren”. Could you help me understand the distinction, or are the two answers synonomous in Dutch?

Secondly, I would like to say how much I enjoyed the the Tourist Parachute, particularly the section dealing with directions. One suggestion I have, is that frequently the direction is not to take the very next left/right, but to “take the second left/right”, etc. What is the correct colloquial expression to use? Do you literally use an expression with “take” as the verb, or is this rendered quite differently?