Grow your Dutch vocabulary fast with this special technique

Grow your Dutch vocabulary fast with this special technique

Growing your Dutch vocabulary is not always easy. Sometimes the words that you see or hear do not seem to make sense. But… luckily there is a great technique that you can use for learning and remembering new words fast. If you like you could call it a special technique from Sinterklaas. It works with rhymes…

Probably you already know that Dutch people celebrate Sinterklaas on the 5th of December. What they like to do is to make rhymes. Normally they are pretty bad, and far away from poetry. But… it does help to have loads of fun, and if the rhyme is bad or filthy, it is even better 🙂

The same thing is true if you like to expand your Dutch vocabulary fast. If you can see whether you can connect the new word with another word that you already know, then it is a lot easier to remember. Certainly when it rhymes!


Don’t worry if what you come up with is morally wrong!

Here is an example. Imagine that you want to remember the word touw (rope). Then the first thing that you do is to see whether you already know some other words that rhyme with touw. Maybe you know the word vrouw (woman) or trouw (marry). Now it is time to make your association. By the way, it is totally ok if it is morally unacceptable, or even filthy…. Sometimes it will help you to remember things faster. When things are funny or sometimes even a bit sadist, then somehow you’ll find it easier to remember. So here we have the sentence: Ik trouw een vrouw aan een touw (I marry a woman on a rope). Once again, this is not something that you should do in real life, but now at least the word touw for rope is stuck in your memory!

So why not add another word then? Lauw is also a nice word. It means luke warm or tepid. Water from the shower can be lauw, but also the way how people respond if they are not really excited. So here we have a new sentence: Ik trouw een vrouw aan een touw, maar haar reactie is lauw (I marry a woman on a rope but her reaction is tepid)

By the way, here is another interesting thing…. you already know that ik trouw is I marry.  Now think again… what would be important in a marriage? Of course, you have to be loyal and faithful! Therefore, trouw means loyal or faithful… So if you like, you can also make this rhyme…  Mijn partner is niet trouw, dus gauw mijn partner aan een touw.  Gauw means quickly or shortly in Dutch, and it rhymes perfectly with all the other words… My partner is not faithful, so quickly my partner on a rope!

By the way, now that we are expanding our vocabulary anyway, why not include ontrouw as well? You already guess it… it simply means unfaithful or unloyal. It can also mean lack of faithfulness. If your partner is ontrouw then he or she is  sleeping with someone else! As a bonus we can also see it as a kind of thing. De ontrouw is lack of faithfulness…. can you now see that adding new words to your Dutch word list can be relatively easy?

The more words you know the easier it is to boost your vocabulary!

Here is another example. Ik gebruik een pruik (I use a wig) or ik vlucht, want ik ben berucht (I flee because I am ill famous)
Here is another tip: it works even better when you associate it with vivid pictures. Really imagine wearing a huge pink wig for example, or imagine that you are ill famous because you like to marry people attached to a rope! The principle is easy. The more you have with it, the faster you will learn…

Here in this short blog you only saw a couple of examples… The possibilities are limitless of course. Feel free to share below some of your creations!

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