The End of an Era: Wrapping Up Dutch

So, it’s the end of February– did I reach my Dutch-related goals? Meh… yes and no.

As I’ve detailed in my Dutch Project Notes, I’ve been studying Dutch semi-intensively since September, so that makes about six months of study (with a couple of gaps here and there). At the end of December, I said I wanted to reach B2 by the end of February, and like all of my goals, that was pretty ambitious. However, I think ambitious goals get me moving towards something, so I like my habits 😀

Looking at the handy CEFR chart, I didn’t reach B2. However, I do think I’d say that my passive skills are solidly B1. In December, I was a shaky B1, probably sliding back to A2 a bit. My reading skills are the strongest, and I can read Harry Potter-level novels. My newspaper and Wikipedia reading abilities are also pretty acceptable. I’d say I can read a Dutch newspaper, although depending on the topic of a particular article, I have varying levels of difficulty.

I’m going to say my listening is also solidly at B1. I can understand simple things, and I’m starting to understand big chunks of the podcasts I listen to (which mostly have to do with business). I haven’t listened to any audio that has been slowed down for language learning purposes (besides the snippets in Duolingo), so when I say I can understand basic things, I mean basic things spoken by native speakers at native speed.

Output-wise, I’m still between A2 and B1. I can and do talk about some pretty complex topics with my conversation partner, but with a whole lot of stumbling and some iffy grammar. I do think I could communicate about everyday things– shopping, introductions, all that basic stuff–but it’s weird to practice speaking with a partner online, since you get past that stuff very quickly, and you don’t have opportunities to use it again. In fact, I don’t think my partner and I ever covered introductions, jobs, hobbies, and all that– we did that through email before we started talking. Anyways, my output still lags behind, as always, but I expect that, considering my learning techniques are always heavy on reading and listening.

Will I keep learning Dutch in the future?

Right now, I plan on keeping Dutch around, but without much effort to actively improve it. I suppose for this language, “wrapping up” just means relaxing my studies. I’m planning on still meeting with my conversation partner a couple times a month, and I plan on reading and doing some listening, but I’ll devote less time to it. Dutch has been my focus for six months now (six months isn’t a terribly long period of time, as far as languages go, but I intended Dutch to be a short-term project from the beginning), and I’m looking forward to directing my time towards Japanese or even a different language.

And, I’ll most certainly focus on Dutch again in the future– I like Dutch a lot! I like the people and the language itself, and I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, and I certainly don’t want to lose that.


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