Getting your Dutch more fluent can be a huge challenge sometime. I guess that when you learn it, you would like to chat in a relaxed way about anything that you like, right?
Unfortunately there are 3 stupid habits that can slown down your Dutch like crazy. The problem sometimes is that quite often people things that these habits are quite normal, but once again.... often they only stand in the way. So let's explore them in this short email.
1 Do you study too much?
Many people believe that if they like to become more fluent, they have to study more. The problem is that most people only study and never speak. Actually, speaking great Dutch is not so much about memorizing loads of stuff. The most important thing is that you start to understand how Dutch really works, that you have fun with it and that you live Dutch.
Once you know how it works, you can increase your Dutch at any time and moment as long as you are living your Dutch life. It can be natural and it will bring you a lot faster to more confidence :)
2 Do you think in English first?
Thinking in English (or your own language) first and then translate it word by word in Dutch is the fast track to frustration and failure. If you like to speak great Dutch with ease, it is important that you start thinking in Dutch first and that you take it from there...
Once you'll know how Dutch really works, you'll soon realize that there are many things in Dutch that you cannot translate in English and vice versa. Contrary to what you may believe, thinking in Dutch is not that hard, it can actually be quite easy. Once thing is certain...it makes speaking Dutch a lot easier!
3 Make sure that you learn how Dutch people speak in real life
Many textbooks and courses often show you very formal Dutch and they do not show you how Dutch people really speak. Your teacher may call certain words and expressions rude, impolite or just slang, but.... if you like to chat with Dutch people about every day life things, then it is important that you know certain words, even if they are too informal, vulgar or filthy....
Many teachers try to hide certain information away from you, because they fear that certain words may fall in 'the wrong hands' or maybe the 'wrong mouth'. What most teachers forget however is that you'll learn a lot faster when you learn certain naughty words and that it is far eassier then to connect with Dutch people....
Did you know this about habits?
By the way, the Dutch word for habit is gewoonte. It has the word gewoon in it and it means normal, nothing special at all, regular, casual not worth of mentioning.
Therefore gewoonte in Dutch means something that you always do and it it is very normal.... You never ever question it. At the same time, gewoontes (habits) have an immediate impact on your Dutch Fluency. With certain gewoontes you can learn it fast and you'll have loads of fun. With other gewoontes, results can be low and lead to frustrations before you know it :(
That is why it is always a good idea to evaluate your gewoontes now and then... Is there a good habit that you can recommend? Or is there a stupid gewoonte that slows you down? Please share your insights here below :)