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Dutch Language Learning in Auckland

Dutch language course introduction

Welkom!

Dutch is the main language of the Netherlands, it’s also spoken in Belgium (the northern half of the country), Surinam, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, Indonesia and the number of mother-tongue speakers worldwide is about 20,000,000!


Course features:

  • Taught by expert Dutch native-speaker teachers.
  • Curriculum specially designed for New Zealanders.
  • Delivered in small classes with no more than 10 people.
  • All Dutch course materials included.
Course timetables and enrolment

Why learn Dutch?

  • The Netherlands and Flanders are very densely populated, and it is intriguing to see how people use the space they have to the full – and still manage to leave large areas for farming and recreation.
  • Dutch is, of course, the national language of the Netherlands; the Dutch call it “Nederlands” or “Hollands”. It is also the main language spoken in the northern part of Belgium, known as Flanders. There the language is usually referred to as "Flemish" or “Vlaams”. Dutch and Flemish are sometimes regarded as two languages, sometimes as one!
  • The written forms of the two languages are pretty much the same; the spoken forms are a little different, but if you know one, you will have no trouble making yourself understood in the other. Maybe make a comparison with the difference between British English and American English.
  • The Afrikaans language spoken in South Africa is descended from Dutch, but varies quite a lot from the original, so that most people would now see it as a separate language. However, if you have a knowledge of Dutch, you will understand a lot of the Afrikaans signs in South Africa, and also make yourself understood.
  • Some people in the north of the Netherlands speak a different language called Frisian. However, they also speak Dutch, to which Frisian is related, in any case.
  • The Dutch are famous for being great linguists, and it is true that most people also speak English, so you can certainly get by on a short visit. However, there are plenty of signs which only appear in Dutch, and even a limited knowledge of the language will help you to get around. And because not that many foreigners learn Dutch, if you give it a go, your efforts will be particularly well-received!
  • Dutch migrants have had a big influence on New Zealand, and many Kiwis are of course of Dutch descent. However, knowledge of the language has often been lost, and in order to connect with their heritage a lot of people feel the need to learn at least the basics of the Dutch language.
  • Although small, the Netherlands and Flanders have made huge contributions to world art, and their museums and art galleries are truly world-class. The unique styles of architecture and town planning, often based on waterways rather than roads, are fascinating, and give the towns and cities a unique character.
  • Dutch engineering skills can be seen in the amazing network of dams and dykes which keep the sea out of the land!
  • Young Kiwis can go and work in the Netherlands or Belgium for one year under a working holiday scheme. If you work in the country, you would generally be expected at least to get by in the language!
  • Young Dutch people are generally well-informed, open-minded and keen to meet people from other countries. The cities they live in are very lively, dynamic places.

Is Dutch hard?

  • Dutch and English are cousins, descended from the same language! In fact, among the major languages, Dutch is the closest relative of English.
  • This means that picking up the basics is really not hard, and you can guess a lot of the words. For example, what do you think “ik drink een bier” means?
  • There are some striking similarities in the grammar: English has “I sing”, “I sang” and “I have sung”; Dutch has “ik zing”, “ik zong” and “ik heb gezongen”!
  • Dutch pronunciation can seem a little daunting, with its strong guttural sounds. However, most of the sounds are quite manageable for most English speakers, and you will be understood even if you don't want to put too much pressure on your throat!
  • The Dutch language is spelt largely as it is pronounced.
  • Dutch grammar can seem a bit difficult, perhaps because it has more inflections than English (different endings on words). But even if you get the endings wrong, you will still be understood, and after a while they tend to become second nature.
  • The word order of Dutch can seem rather strange and takes a bit of getting used to – everything can appear jumbled up!
  • Although there are dialects in Dutch, everyone also speaks the standard language, so don’t worry about that!
  • If you know German, you can very easily pick up Dutch: the two languages are closely related. However, Dutch grammar is generally regarded as being quite a lot easier than that of German.
Course timetables and enrolment

 

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