If you follow me on Twitter (please follow me on Twitter) you know I’m struggling through the third course in a series of Dutch for Expats courses offered by Maastricht University. Everyone has their own problems, but for me the biggest hurdle is being able to understand the Dutch that is spoken to me. In the real world, Dutch people speak much faster than the teacher and other people in my class (and the people in my class, like myself, don’t have the proper accents). The shop keepers must be telling all sorts of stories to their families about that weird American girl making funny faces over whether or not she wants a bag.
Of course my lack of vocabulary makes it difficult to respond too (I always want to say something more complex than I’m equipped to); but I don’t like to start a conversation I can’t finish.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been listening to Dutch language podcasts in an effort to build up my ability to understand native speakers better. I can’t say I actually know everything that is being said, but this little exercise is really about hearing the distinction between words and the way they are strung together. Here are a couple that I’ve been enjoying:
I try to listen to two or so hours of Dutch every day in the hopes that it’ll improve my comprehension. It can be pretty exhausting to actively listen to Dutch right now (reading is tiring also), but I think it’ll be worth the effort. I hope so. Nederlands is moeilijk.