There is four parts to the process of becoming relatively fluent in a language. There is writing, speaking, reading and listening. As some of you might know for the last few months I’ve been actively studying the Dutch language. I would rate myself an 8 out of ten in all of those 4 parts meaning I know my stuff when it comes to learning a language. Before I share this knowledge with you I do want to state very clearly that learning a new language isn’t easy and will take some time. It will also come with quite a few frustrations but give it time. You will get there.
The perfect place to start is listening. Listen to the radio and watch movies where the language is the only language. I would recommend kid movies with English subtitles to start off with. The more you hear the language the better. Some words will start to stick in your brain and the language will stop sounding so strange and different as you familiarize yourself with it on a daily basis.
Speaking is the next up on line. Now that you’ve heard the language and have familiarized yourself with the basics you can start speaking it. The best possible thing would be for you to speak out loud with people of that native language so they can correct and help you with your pronunciation but otherwise just follow along with movies. The more you speak in this language and the more you practice your pronunciation the better it would be. Don’t worry about grammar and all that jazz. You will pick that up with time and the reading and writing part will help a lot.
Reading pretty much can go in hand with speaking and writing. I read kid novels out loud with someone of the native language where I concentrated on pronouncing the words correctly and also learning new words as I go. Thus not only did I widen my knowledge inside the language I also practiced the speaking part. It’s a win, win.
Writing is the last part. I started off by rewriting a kids novel. This taught me to recognize the grammar more and get used to writing the language. Also by writing the words down, reading those words before you write it just hammers down the language even more. Once I felt my level was high enough where I could write on my own I found 101 conversation starters online and would answer these questions in Dutch. You can do this by answering this question out loud as if talking to someone or writing it down as being interviewed. This was a brilliant practice that really took my Dutch to another level.
All in all you really just need to give yourself time to learn the language. You won’t be fluent and perfect overnight. Just take on day at a time and keep trying. Best of luck!
PS I want to be fluent in five languages and I’m currently on number three. The most difficult language I want to learn is Japanese. I think the next language is a tossup between French, Spanish or Italian. I can’t choose yet. I’m definitely going to give myself more time before I jump in with another language. Learning a new language can be quite exhausting. Best of luck!!
PSS. For all of my fellow friends that want to ace the Dutch as a second language test; I wrote a blog just for you! Here is the link: https://butterflyfingers.com/2017/11/10/dutch-as-your-second-language-nt2/