Dutch Project Notes #2

So, a while ago, I ordered Sjakie en de chocoladefabriek (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), a Dutch translation of the wonderful children’s book by Roald Dahl. However, it’s been slow in arriving, and I have my doubts that I’ll receive it at all. Unfortunately in the United States, Dutch books (especially children’s books) are very difficult to come by. I have the first Harry Potter book, which I’ve mentioned, but I’m hesitant to buy the second one from Pottermore just because I use the HP books so often in language learning. They risk becoming a tad bit dull, and I want to avoid that.

What to do, what to do? I’ve been getting creative with Dutch resources– the Bible, of course, comes in about 1,234,098 translations, so of course I have my pick of the litter  in terms of Dutch translations. I’ve been reading that everyday, but it doesn’t make for the best learning material (mostly because the Bible doesn’t use simple language). Even so, I’ve been reading about three chapters of that per day for about two weeks, and I feel my reading comprehension has gone up significantly. I ploughed through, and things are getting somewhat easier. I also downloaded a ton of Dutch books from Project Gutenberg, but considering those will be older and more difficult to understand, I might hold off on tackling them….

As for listening, I’ve been watching 10 minute news videos from Jeugdjournaal, a children’s news website. These videos update daily, so it’s an easy and painless thing to add. The language is simple and the stories are those that might be of interest to children, but I find it pretty engaging, especially compared to the Dutch news radio I’ve been listening for the duration of this project. I’ve also discovered Echt Gebeurd, a 10-15 minute podcast in which people talk about something strange that happened to them. I find that one harder to understand, but it’s something different and more lively to listen to, rather than my beloved news radio.

I started Duolingo with the hopes of introducing more everyday vocabulary, but I find that site so boring, I don’t know if I can continue.

I had to the goal of reaching an “advanced” level of Dutch by the end of November, but seeing as we’re nearly there, I don’t think that that will be attainable, but who knows? The main goal for Dutch was to study it until December 31st, and I hope I’ll have solid abilities by then. Right now, my comphrension of most media is spotty at best– most of it is isolated words, with the complete sentence or phrase here and there. My reading comprehension is higher, and I can get the gist of a lot of things, but I still get lost easily. I think I’ll have to set more concrete goals, though, if I want to achieve anything. Looking back, aiming for “advanced” language skills isn’t all too helpful.


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