One thing that most people forget to learn a how it stops you from speaking Dutch

 9/11/2018   Albert Both    Dutch

Have you ever liked the idea of speaking Dutch with all the people around you in Holland? Then probably you must have noticed that learning Dutch is not always easy. On top of that maybe you have also discovered this: learning Dutch and actually speaking Dutch seem to be different things. Luckily enough, there is a way to have all the conversations that you like in Dutch, but… you’ll have to focus on one critical skill. It is a skill that most people forget….

Have you ever wondered what you really need to learn if you like to speak Dutch with real people? Chances are high that you were aware of the fact that you need words and that you need grammar so that you can understand and create your own sentences. But then, if you actually like to practice it, probably you’ll quickly discover that there is one huge obstacle standing in your way. Even if you know everything perfectly it does not help you at all if you are too slow.

Just think about it. You want to say something and you cannot find the words or you do not know how to put it in the right sentence. Then there is an extra complication. People in general are not that patient. If you hesitate for just a couple of seconds, people lose interest or simply switch over to English.

So here is one critical insight that you need. Knowing how to speak Dutch is not enough. You need to be able to use your skills fast!

Learning Dutch and speaking Dutch are 2 different things!

Unfortunately not so many people are aware of this. They believe that if they simply study a lot and certainly if they get certificates, then it will be guaranteed that you’ll speak Dutch. But… nothing can be further from the truth. Thinking fast and speaking fast is a very specific skill that needs to be learned. Only if you are focused on speed you will be able to use all your skills quickly enough, so that you can have all kinds of great Dutch conversations.

The good news however is that learning how to think and speak quickly is not something that requires study, on the contrary. It is more a way of thinking in simple ways and then it can be learned fast if you practice it. That is why I would like to share some first tips with you.

One skill that you need to train your ability to find the necessary words fast. It is easy to train this skill. All you need to do is to ask yourself this question: if I like to talk about ….., then which words would I need? Let’s say that you like to speak about your holiday. Then all you do is to think of words that relate with that topic, such as vakantie (holiday), vlucht (flight), strand (beach), so you get the idea.

Don’t think in your own language first!

An other tip is that you stop translating. If you think in your own language first and then if you try to translate everything word by word, then you’ll always be stuck in a matter of seconds. See if you can think in Dutch directly. See which Dutch words come up and then make sure that you know how to turn them in sentences.

Here is another important thing: chances are high that you think in ways that are too complicated. Most people try to put too much information in one sentence. Just make short sentences first and say them with confidence with ease. Ten short sentences that you say with confidence and easy sound much better than one sentence that you stutter with a lot of hesitation.

My secret trick for speaking German

Here is another thing: most people have their attention too much inward when they want to tell a story. They try to look for a word that they learned maybe one year ago and then of course it is difficult to find it. But… more often than you think, you can use the words that other people use in their conversation. If you know what they mean, then all you need to do is to copy them. It is a great trick that I personally use if I want to speak German. I let Germans speak first and then when I hear German words that I like, I simply use them and then Germans tell me that I have such a rich vocabulary! It is important however, that you can recognize words when you hear them J

Also make sure that you know how to improvise. Most conversations that you’ll have with people may cover many various topics at the same time. While in traditional courses, they mainly focus on one subject at the time, it is important that from the very beginning you learn how to talk about many different topics at the same time. The main thing is that you learn how to say simple things, no matter what the topic is. What you say does not have be groundbreaking or intellectual… all you need is to say some simple things that keep your conversations flowing J

Contrary to what you may think, talking about many different subjects is relatively easy. Dutch words are often quite close to English, such as politiek (politics), economie (economy), yoga, so switching between different subjects can be relatively easy. Once again, speaking about various subjects is also a very specific skill that you need to learn.

Last but not least, there is one thing that will make the difference. Many times you may just miss one hundred critical words that you really need for talking about the things that you want. But… which 100 words do you need? There is a very simple way to find out. Start speaking Dutch for a couple of days in a row, instead of just one hour per week. During these days, you’ll quickly notice which words you need most and then, certainly if you practice them, you’ll learn these new words before you know it.

There is another beautiful thing about speaking Dutch for a couple of days in a row. It is the fastest way for you how natural it can feel to speak a new language. Although it may look like a daunting idea at first, it is the fastest way to get used to Dutch and really feel at ease with it.

Here is a simply truth. If you do things for the first time, you may feel uneasy about it. But.. if you do it again and again in a very short time, then before you know it, it will feel more natural. Speaking Dutch is no exception J

If you like the idea of speaking Dutch, then really make sure that you go for it. Don’t believe other people if they tell you that it is too difficult for you or that you don’t need it. Don’t worry if you have followed courses already, but still feel somehow a bit dissatisfied about your results. There are many simple things that you can do so that you notice a radical difference fast!

If you like to find more inspiration, then download a FREE eBook Why You Hate Learning Dutch & 7 Secrets To Change It or visit a Free workshop in Amsterdam Finding Dutch Flow – How To Open The Floodgate To Dutch Fluency at

Albert Both
Talencoach / Dutch Flow Now