From our blog
News, developments and articles from Regina Coeli
We are often asked what the secret of ‘the Nuns’ is. Why are our course members able to learn a language so quickly when they struggled with it at school and were utterly convinced that they had no feeling for languages?
Learning the Dutch language is inextricably bound up with learning how Dutch culture works. One of the traditions is Princes’ Day on which the Budget for the coming year is presented. Specific words are closely linked to the events that take place on Princes’ Day like troonrede, algemene beschouwingen and gouden koets.
It’s no secret that the Dutch are direct and adore succinct communication. For the Dutch, it’s more important to convey a message clearly than to do so with a great deal of tact. They are more task- and result-driven than they are focused on building good relationships. The Dutch are therefore also not big on small talk (koetjes en kalfjes) in a business context. This is because, in the Dutch culture, relationships aren’t necessary for getting the job done—but they can of course help!
In the average Dutch company, a unique language is spoken at management level: Dutch ‘management speak’. If you deal with a lot of Dutch people on the work floor, you’ll hear these terms being used all the time. It’s then that you might realize that a course in social Dutch may not be quite enough for understanding what in the world someone is talking about.
Expats in the Netherlands who want to speak better Dutch are better off asking Dutch people to speak Dutch with them. Not to make it easier—most Dutch people can easily switch to English and enjoy speaking the language—but to get better in the language. Even the best Dutch course is no substitute for what you can learn in practice. You have to log the hours!
Did you have a hard time learning foreign languages in school, or perhaps reduce grammar rules to simple mathematical formulas which led to erratic outcomes? Then it could be that you have an analytical brain. The idea that you are not cut out for learning languages is nonsense. You just learn it differently to the way it is taught at secondary school. Read on to learn how to best approach learning languages.