What is the one thing that makes speaking Dutch a real challenge? You may think that it is the socalled difficulty, but… this is not necessarily true. Although learning a new language is always a challenge, Dutch is not really difficult if you compare it to other other languages. It is the closest language to English and you could see it as a German light. But… when you like to really speak Dutch, then there is one difficulty. Often it is finding motivation.
If you have been walking around with the idea of speaking much better Dutch, then here are some ideas that could help!
Why is it so difficult for many people to start learning Dutch or to persist with it? The answer could be really simple. Even if you think that speaking Dutch is a great idea, it seems that Dutch people are the first ones that will try to convince you that actually learning and speaking Dutch would be a waste of your time. Proudly they will say that they can speak English for you, so then all communication problems that you might have will be easily solved.
On top of that, Dutch people like to explain how difficult Dutch is and that actually they only speak it in one very small country on this planet. If you travel to all the other countries in the world, then speaking Dutch will be useless (unless you go to some parts of Belgium). Therefore, before you know it you may start to ask yourself if speaking Dutch is really such a good idea.
Then there is another tricky thing. Other languages seem to be much nicer to learn, because they sound more sensual, more beautiful or they simply speak it in more countries. For this reason alone, many people would rather learn Spanish, French or even Chinese.
Last but not least, there is one thing that kills all your good intentions on the spot. Even if you try, it seems that Dutch people are quite indifferent about all your tremendous efforts. Within a couple of seconds they switch over to English and there you go… you are speaking English again. Logically it is then easy to ask yourself: what is the use of it?
No wonder that many people decide after some time that learning and speaking Dutch is not really a great idea. Once it turns out that you can survive while speaking English and that certainly if you work for an international company, there is nothing to worry about. You can still have a great career and earn loads of money, so at the end there is no problem…
But then… you may have noticed that even if you can get by with most things in every day life while speaking English, there are little things that still annoy you. Maybe you already got used to it and somehow you learned how to cope with it. It normally starts with little things. You sit in an empty train and you ask why everyone has left. You are in the supermarket and you don’t know exactly what you are buying. You go to a social event and it turns out that everyone is having a great time, but… they are all talking and laughing in Dutch! You see a course about a topic that you really like, but you can’t follow it, because it is in Dutch. You like to have a nicer job, but… surprise surprise now it is required that you speak Dutch!
So… what do you do in these circumstances? Probably it doesn’t feel right and you wonder again why you don’t speak Dutch. But then, if you think about it all that negativity comes up again… it is too difficult, you don’t really need it and if you speak English you can always talk to someone. But… don’t you think that if you are in a certain place that it is normal that you want to be involved in everything that surrounds you? Wouldn’t you like to have spontaneous interactions with all kinds of people? If your answer is yes, then congratulations. You have opened the way now for you to speak Dutch. The only thing that you need to do is to find some more motivation so that this time you will get what you want and you will be unstoppable.
High motivation is always important if you want to speak any language. Learning a new language will always be a challenge and certainly in the beginning it is very easy to give up. But… if you know why you want to speak Dutch, then all of a sudden many things will get easier. However for finding motivation, there are some specific things that you need to do.
Spontaneous interactions with other people around you can make your day a lot better 🙂
First of all, the more positive reasons you can find, the easier it is to feel a positive energy. And… there is one other important thing… If you can experience positive benefits on a very short term, then it is even better. The problem is that most people think that they will only benefit from it in a far away future. For example, you may believe that speaking Dutch could serve you for finding a much better job. But then… imagine that you have to do your job interview in Dutch with very critical HR-managers that really want to hear perfect Dutch coming out of your mouth… Your imagination will probably tell you that this could only happen within 10 years and if you think about it again, you may even come to the conclusion that maybe this would never happen. Can you see the problem here? Sure… the benefits of speaking Dutch could be high, but… if it could only happen in a very far away future then at the end, it will not be that motivating.
Therefore, if you like to find maximum motivation and feel that positive energy that pushes you forward, it is a good idea to focus on something positive on the very short term and if it is an instant benefit, it is even better. Contrary to what you may think, there are plenty of great benefits that you can experience on a very short term, even if you don’t speak fluent Dutch yet.
One annoying thing of not speaking Dutch is that often you depend on other people. They need to explain things to you and in many cases it does not really feel good. If you are like most people, you like to do things all by yourself and that is why you love to have independence and freedom. So here is some great news: once you start to learn Dutch you can soon notice for yourself that gradually you will be able to deal with many different situations. Step by step you can discover that you can do things all by yourself and that you don’t need to wait for others to help you first. This will automatically produce positive feelings. Life gets a lot easier and more exciting if you can do more things all by yourself and when you can discover new things all the time.
One important thing that stops people from speaking Dutch is often shyness. Maybe you have the sentences already in your head, but for some reason, those sentences do not come out of your mouth. When I ask people why they don’t speak Dutch yet, then often they tell me that shyness is something that stands in the way. If this is the case, then speaking Dutch will give you a great benefit. Just think about it… do you only feel shy if you need to speak Dutch, or do you feel shy more often, also in other situations? Probably if you feel shy while speaking Dutch, you feel shy in other situations as well. So here is the great thing… speaking Dutch can help you to overcome an important obstacle and this will automatically lead to more confidence also in other areas of your life. That sounds like a good deal, right?
If you find yourself struggling with Dutch now and then, here is one great thing that can help. Now that you experience for yourself that speaking another language can be difficult at times, now it is easy to really appreciate other people if they speak a foreign language with you. The good thing is that if you start to appreciate all the effort that other people have put into speaking another languages, it is also easy to appreciate yourself and somehow you’ll notice that it has a positive impact on the interactions with other people. One thing that you’ll discover is how difficult it often is to put your thoughts of your language into another language and that so many times, things that you really wanted to express get lost in translation or are misunderstood. This will give you more flexibility and a deeper understanding if you speak with other people, because now you have experienced for yourself all the things that could go wrong! With this new awareness it is easier to see the good intentions of other people, even if they do not use the appropriate words. You’ll feel less annoyed or upset once you are more flexible with your mind.
Learning new things in every day life makes life far more interesting
Another direct benefit is that speaking Dutch will have a positive impact on the understanding of your own language. Certainly if your own language is only English, it might be challenging for you to speak with people that don’t have English as their native language. Chances are high that you don’t really realize what is easy or difficult for other people and that you find it hard to adapt your own way of speaking. If often happens that many people from different nations can have a great conversation in English with people from other countries, as long as they do not come from the UK. Paradoxically it is not always an advantage if English is your native language when you speak with international people from non English speaking countries.
One other great advantage of speaking another language is that soon enough you’ll discover that you can look at the world from many different perspectives and angles. When you really want to speak another languages you are forced to change your ways of thinking and you need to take new positions. This thing by itself is extremely enriching, because now you can come up with new ideas and it will also help you to understand more differences. You’ll develop a mental flexibility that will help you to deal with other views and different opinions.
The last secret benefit is my favorite benefit. For speaking a new language, you must master a new way of thinking. Simply thinking in your own language and then translating the words one by one will not help. When you speak your own language then probably words will just fall out of your mouth and you don’t have to think about it. But… if you speak Dutch you’ll have to know exactly what you are doing. You’ll have to say the words in a certain order and if there are words that you do not know, then you will have to improvise. If there are words that you don’t understand, then you need logical and creative thinking if you want to make sense of it. In short, you need to train new mental muscles in order to learn a whole new way of thinking
Learning to think in a whole different way that you are not used to is extremely challenging, certainly in the beginning. But… somehow if opens up a whole different world. When you learn to control your thinking, then somehow even if you communicate in your own language, you’ll see many more options and possibilities. You will be more flexible and somehow it will be easier for you to choose the right words in different situations. Whenever you learn a new language it turns out that somehow you get a much better grip on your own language as well. It will be easier for you to find the right words and even sentences.
Can you see that many positive things can happen once you start to learn and to speak a new language? Even with Dutch, a language that does not seem that useful, exciting things can happen. The beauty of all these benefits is that they can unfold relatively easily. With each and every new situations you can discover for yourself that you gain more freedom, you feel more in control and that somehow it is nicer to be around with other people. And then, if you are in the Netherlands quite often, then speaking Dutch is not a strange thing to do, right?
The secret of finding motivation is this. Once you know that disadvantages disappear on the short time and that you experience positive things instantly, then being unstoppable is really easy.
Have you ever learned a new language? What are some of the positive things that you experienced? Feel free to share your thoughts here!