What is the fuss over Dutch a complicated language to learn? I do not understand. As far as my knowledge goes about the language, it is native to the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname and the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curacao, and Sint Maarten. Comparatively speaking, the Dutch do not have as many grammatical cases as the Russian and Italian languages. In this article, we will make a language comparison between Dutch and another language,Spanish, strictly complying with its rules.
The Dutch do not put much emphasis on grammatical correctness. Such a relaxed language it is! Especially to those who can speak high standard English. The language would be far easier than Spanish, and here are some of the reasons why:
Picking up Dutch is like getting drunk
Would you believe it? The language is similarly compared to getting drunk, and just alternating English words, as Dutch is believed to be the subset of English somehow. Both languages share many words. The language also uses “simple” German, meaning, minus any complicated German grammar rules.
Dutch has many ties to English and “simple” German. As a result, many experts consider Dutch to be one of the easiest out of the many languages for English speakers to learn.
What makes Dutch a more straightforward language to learn than Spanish?
The idea that some languages are easier to learn than others is correct. The easiest language is the one closest to your native language.
From a purely linguistic point of view, yes, Dutch is much more closely related to English than most other languages, making it easier to pick up its grammar and vocabulary. Dutch is not grammatically any more complex than English on the whole, yet people have this perception that it is a difficult language.
Is it because of the weird pronunciation of Dutch? It may drive you crazy the first time you hear it! The language does sound a bit harsh, and with the guttural tones, people may think it is more challenging to learn. This notion creates an alien impression when, in fact, structurally, it would be simpler for English speakers to pick up.
As I said, Dutch and English share many words. Some common English words with Dutch origin include cookie (koekje) and boss (baas). Also, many English words are kept being the same spelling and pronunciation when translated to Dutch. Because both languages have so many similarities, it becomes relevantly easy to be proficient in Dutch.
Spanish, on the other hand, follows a smooth pronunciation. While Dutch has nineteen vowel sounds (can you imagine?) and eleven diphthongs, Spanish only has five vowel sounds and fourteen diphthongs. Spanish wins in pronunciation but has complex verb conjugations and grammar which makes it significantly more complicated than Dutch.
For Dutch, there are no cases (at least not in the standard). In other languages, like Spanish, cases are used more predominantly. The language uses the same verb tenses as in English. Also, no genitive cases, it mostly uses only two: common and neuter.
Spanish has an easier pronunciation and accent usage than others, which helps, but there is more to a language than its pronunciation. Perhaps you can write an entire novel in decent grammatically correct Dutch but would always be self-conscious of spoken Dutch. You might even get tongue-tied within two seconds in a casual and small conversation because of its pronunciation.
The easy parts of learning a new language give us the optimism to be successful in this endeavor. Thinking of it as a tip of the iceberg, if there is an easy part, there would also be large sections of it that make the learning process challenging.
Does Dutch deserve its reputation for being difficult?
Well, when you think of learning a new language, the first thing that comes to your mind is that it would be way too difficult. However, one should not dismiss the idea of learning just because it is considered generally hard. It’s like learning piano when you were little. At first, you thought it was hard, but as you continued attending your piano classes, you suddenly realized that it’s not that hard.
Why does Dutch have a reputation for being difficult?
Although Dutch speakers do not speak quickly, their letters, syllables, and words are dropped and what is left would run together. On top of that, you would be faced with a multitude of Dutch pronunciations.
The difficult sounds would include the r, the hard g, the sch, and the ij sounds – these sounds are found in one word – verschrikkelijk. In English, it only means “terrible.” See? That is one Dutch word difficult to pronounce.
Also, when it comes to immersing in the Netherlands, everyone, or at least mostly, already tries to speak English over there. Even if you decide to begin a conversation in broken Dutch, they will eventually switch to English anyway. It then becomes much harder to immerse.
Spain, because of the widespread fluency, does not speak in English. It is much easier to make quick progress despite the language being far from English.
Learning Dutch and Spanish depends on your background
It all boils down to one’s background. It varies depending on the language you are starting from and what your strengths are. If you are a monolingual English speaker, or if you already speak another language, this will make other languages from the same language group much easier. It is like connecting the dots. If you already speak Portuguese or Italian, or you know Latin, Spanish will probably be easier. Otherwise, if you know German, Dutch will probably be easier. If you do not know any of the prerequisites, including English, neither one is probably actually “easier” to learn.
Learning a language depends on the learner’s motivation. There are factors that a learner would consider more important than the other. It depends on the country or countries you are going to visit; may it be for pleasure, school, or work.
How hard or easy it is to learn a particular language for you depends on many different factors, such as your natural talent, available learning resources, and learning plan, but the single most crucial factor is how closely related the language is to the languages you already speak.
How Is Dutch and Spanish Similar with Each Other? How Do They Differ to English?
Compared to English?
- The pronunciation of the letters A and E in Dutch is more like the Spanish language.
- The spelling of the words in Spanish and Dutch are both clear, unlike the English words which are unclear and sometimes confusing to guess how to read them.
- Dutch and Spanish words are written as to how they’re pronounced, unlike in English that most of the written words and pronunciation are different from one another.
- In English, you can call everyone by the pronoun “you.” But in Spanish, you must use either tu and usted, and Dutch also hasji and
- In Spanish, you call a group of people as vosotros instead of tu. In Dutch, you use jullieinstead ofjij. But in English, you only use “you.”
There are more ways that Dutch and Spanish are like each other; these are just some of the hundreds. Most Spanish speakers can quickly learn Dutch because of the similarities between the two languages, and vice versa. Most language learners believe that Dutch and Spanish can soon be absorbed by English speakers.
Whichever you choose, Dutch or Spanish, I’m pretty sure that you will easily learn these two languages once you’re determined to be fluent in it.
When Should I Start Learning Dutch?
If you have decided to learn Dutch, then NOW is the best time to start. Why? Studying Dutch, or any other languages is a long-term process. And we know that it’s better not to rush your learning process to save your brain from working too much. If you keep pushing new words into your mind every hour, you will have a bigger chance of forgetting them by tomorrow.
You’ll be more fluent quickly if you choose to learn ways that are best for you. If you use the methods that seem stressful, boring, and worrisome for you, then you’re just wasting your time. Remember, you will only understand what you’re studying if you’re enjoying the learning process that you’re using.
The level of difficulty varies from one person to another. It depends on how you approach and accept the language you’re learning. If you learn Dutch using the methods that suit you, like language exchange sites, language-learning apps like Duolingo and Memrise, and by reading, then learning this language might soon be your favorite hobby.
Even though the Dutch language seems so challenging, experts (and even learners) believe that Dutch is easy to learn, especially for English and German speakers. You can check out the article Can You Understand Dutch If You Know German?This article will help you learn more about their relationship.