While Dutch is primarily spoken in The Netherlands (aka Holland), it’s also the main language for Aruba, Suriname, and the Dutch Antilles. Millions of people in northern Belgium are also native Dutch speakers.
If you’re thinking about learning Dutch, know that you’ll benefit from learning a major European language belonging to a culture with a long history of trade and travel. Plus, because the Dutch are famous for their focus on tolerance and acceptance, Dutch is a fantastic second or even third language to learn.
At any given moment in the Dutch capital, around 30% of Amsterdam’s population is comprised of out-of-town visitors and tourists. You can use this to your advantage to help you feel more confident diving into the Dutch culture and learning to speak the language. Unlike some cultures, the Dutch are far less likely to be offended if you make mistakes while learning to speak the language. If anything, they’re more likely to be impressed.
Rosetta Stone’s Dynamic Immersion® methodology teaches you to speak the language, not just memorize the words. What makes this approach effective is that we prepare you to use your new language in your everyday life. So, it’s not just about the features, but what you’re able to do because of them. It helps you get ready to handle situations with confidence.
Here’s some good news: you won’t be alone in your endeavor to learn Dutch because over 5 million people worldwide are speaking Dutch as a second or foreign language. This, combined with the 23 million mother tongue or native speakers, means Dutch is the third most-widely spoken Germanic language in the world, after English and German. In fact, most residents of the Low Countries—that is the Dutch-speaking coastal region of Europe—are familiar with the confidence needed to learn a second or third language, as many speak at least two languages already.
By focusing on proper pronunciation before extensive vocabulary acquisition, you will be able to quickly learn to understand and be understood in Dutch. All too often, new language learners get caught up in efforts to memorize long lists of Dutch words and phrases. And then they find themselves unable to understand or be understood in everyday, real-world conversations. That’s why it’s important to learn to pronounce and understand commonly used Dutch words and phrases first, so you can feel comfortable and confident engaging in conversation with locals.
It’s worth noting that Dutch does have some pronunciation distinctions that can make it a bit of a challenge for new learners. As one example, the letter d is pronounced like it is in English, unless it appears at the end of a word, where it is pronounced as a t—as in hond (dog).
Also, if you find g at the start of a word, you will need to make the famous Dutch guttural sound, what’s technically called an uvular fricative. It is similar to the sound you might make clearing your throat.
Try your hand (or tongue) with these:
Some people find it hard to distinguish between the soft g and the h. Practice speaking the following pairs aloud and see if you can hear the difference:
Now that you’ve got the hang of it, try this tongue twister:
To develop accurate pronunciation, you’ll need immediate feedback on your efforts. Rosetta Stone helps you get the pronunciation right in a snap with our TruAccent™ speech-recognition engine. Our patented technology compares your voice to native and non-native speakers in real-time, so you get immediate feedback for the most accurate pronunciation. It’s also adjustable, which allows you to tweak your accent as needed. TruAccent is a powerful tool for helping you learn and speak Dutch.
After you have acquired basic words and their proper pronunciation, it’ll be a natural transition to learn the longer phrases that make up so much of everyday conversation. Rosetta Stone’s brief, 10-minute lessons are built in exactly this way. They focus first on teaching the basics, then move onto longer phrases. This approach helps you acquire the skills to understand and be understood in Dutch with confidence.
Surround yourself with Dutch whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app .
Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation .
The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.