Dutch language is official in the Netherlands and is spoken by about 23 million people worldwide. It’s a West Germanic language with similarities to English and German, but it has unique characteristics.
Dutch has its closest relatives in German and English and is spoken by people in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Surinam. So, if you decide to pursue this language, we’ve got some fantastic news!
Is The Dutch Language Hard To Learn?
Dutch is a relatively easy language because the grammar is simple, and most words are pronounced as they are spelled. It belongs to the Category I level of language difficulty since most learners can understand the basic conversation and writing tasks! Additionally, Dutch is similar to many other languages. For example, the structure of Dutch sentences is identical to that of English and German.
We’re here to tell you what to expect from learning Dutch and whether or not it’s a smart choice for beginners, so tune in!
1. Official Language of The Netherlands
Dutch is the official language in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname.
Over 23 million people speak Dutch as their first language worldwide. It is also the native tongue of Curaçao, St. Maarten, and Aruba.
You can also find Dutch vocabulary in English because both languages are derived from ancient Germanic roots.
In terms of spelling, Dutch orthography uses the Latin alphabet. The spelling style is required in all official documents and educational institutions by official order!
2. Dutch is Not Too Difficult to Learn
Dutch is perhaps one of the most straightforward languages for English speakers because it intercedes German and English.
However, there are some challenging pronunciations, such as the consonant blends nk, sch, ng, and nk. Additionally, it becomes confusing when there are several verbs since you will need to start splitting the verbs, which you don’t do in English.
Despite those little technicalities, Dutch is an exciting language to learn with lots of quirky idioms and humorous expressions!
3. West Germanic Languages
Dutch, a West Germanic language among the Indo-European languages, originated around 700 CE.
Currently, there are sizable populations of Dutch speakers in Indonesia, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, and the United States.
As you can see, Dutch vocabulary primarily leans toward the Germanic language family.
4. Dutch is a Category I Difficulty Language
The Foreign Service Institute categorizes the Dutch dialect as one of the Categories I languages, which takes 23–24 weeks (575–600 hours) of intensive study.
Thankfully, aside from a few differences in how some letters are pronounced, the Dutch alphabet is the same as the English alphabet.
Regarding leading indicators of gender, there are three types of personal pronouns in the language: masculine, feminine, and neuter.
Keep in mind that nonbinary people have adopted other sets of conventional pronouns to get around the lack of gender-neutral pronouns in the Dutch language!
5. Exposure To Pronunciation, Grammar, and Vocab
You can undoubtedly become fluent in Dutch and gain exposure to the language on your own. Listen, read, and practice.
In Dutch grammar, nouns don’t change form as in German. So, Dutch rules for word order are reasonably intuitive.
Additionally, you should become familiar with Dutch verbs with prepositions attached, which can significantly change their meaning.
Once you become knowledgeable about these foundational concepts, begin making purchases of books and online resources like Babbel, Mondly, and DutchPod101.
6. Repetition is Key in Learning Dutch
A daily schedule of roughly 30 minutes of active study and 1 hour of exposure to the Dutch language will yield great results for most people.
If you’re having problems persuading your brain to narrate in a different language, try speaking out loud to hold yourself responsible for using the language every day.
Pick one learning strategy and stick with it for a while rather than trying to pick everything up at once.
It will be more enjoyable for you in no time, and you may be able to identify the learning techniques that work best for you more easily!
7. Learning Dutch Expands Intellect
You’ll become interested in linguistics as you learn a new language. For some students, learning a new language will make you appreciate your own.
While others claim that learning other European languages, including English, German, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish, is made simpler by having a working knowledge of the Dutch language.
In addition, you’ll learn about the parallels and distinctions, and you may even gain a fresh appreciation for your native tongue.
Most importantly, learners consider a second language can improve numerous aspects of the brain, including memory, multitasking, and conceptualization!
8. Career Opportunities From Knowing the Dutch Language
International businesses frequently consider candidates who speak both Dutch and English.
Understanding Dutch is helpful in many fields, particularly the fast-paced energy, banking & finance industries!
Dutch speakers have the edge over others who cannot comprehend Dutch in those roles.
9. Dutch Courses, Books, and Streaming
Start with audio lessons that include advanced spaced repetition and a Dutch context. Some examples include Glossika ($30), Duolingo (free), and Super Duolingo ($12.99), with monthly subscriptions.
If you want explanations that are a little more technical, ebook versions of Colloquial Dutch: Beginner’s Course ($64.95) and Assimil Dutch ($74.99) are also valuable resources to lean on.
Additionally, you may browse websites like Forvo ($2.99) and VanDale Dictionary ($595), which offers both a monolingual and multilingual dictionary, to your favorites list.
Finally, seek a tutor you believe you’ll enjoy working with, like Italki, and see which Dutch tutors are available. Their hourly rates start at $17!
To learn more, you can also see our posts on Czech, Polish, Spanish, and Russian.
As you can see, Dutch isn’t as difficult as some people may make you think.
There are many opportunities to learn the language and pursue it further. As Dutch shares many features of the English language, it will be easy for you to learn a significant amount of vocabulary. Furthermore, because of the number of words they share, you will be able to understand Dutch when spoken in conversation more readily.
To put it simply, Dutch is a language worth exploring. With hard work and passion, you can reach that point of fluency where you can create more opportunities for growth!