The Dutch language is one of the West-Germanic family of languages and its usage can be traced back to the fifth century. Modern Dutch is spoken by some 23 million people worldwide. It is the national language of the Netherlands and is also widely spoken in the Flemish areas of Belgium and in former Dutch colonies, such as Surinam.
Dutch is part of the same family of languages as German, English and those of the Scandinavian countries. In that regard, native speakers of English often find it easier to learn Dutch than other continental languages. In fact, learning how to speak Dutch is often regarded as easier than learning German because the Dutch language has much simpler grammatical rules.
There are a number of regional variations in how to speak Dutch, the most significant of which is Flemish Dutch, which is spoken by some ten million people in northern Belgium. There are also, however, variations of dialect in parts of the Netherlands, including those spoken in Limburg, Lower Saxony and Brabant.
Mastering correct pronunciation is essential for the English speaker who wishes to learn Dutch. This is made more difficult by the nature of spoken Dutch which includes a number of vowel sounds which are not familiar to English speakers. However, with practice, people from English speaking countries who wish to learn to speak Dutch can overcome any initial difficulties and make themselves understood when conversing with people from the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is a major trading partner of the UK and, in terms of tourism, nearly one million Britons visit our Dutch neighbours every year. There are, therefore, clear practical incentives for people from the UK to learn to speak Dutch. Whether your visit to the Netherlands is for business or pleasure, your Dutch hosts will warmly appreciate any effort you make to speak Dutch.
A number of options exist for those who wish to learn how to speak Dutch. There are still traditional methods involving evening classes and textbooks. These can often be an effective way to learn Dutch, but many people find that attending a class at a fixed time every week is too restrictive for the busy lives many of us lead now. One can learn to speak Dutch by following a CD or DVD-based course at home, in one’s own time. However, this method offers the learner no opportunity to receive feedback.
Fortunately, recent advances in digital technology have made web-based language teaching a particularly effective alternative for anyone who wishes to learn Dutch at their own pace, but with the guidance of experts.
Babbel.com is a well-established online language school that has helped millions of people worldwide to learn another language. Using the latest technology and expert teaching material designers, Babbel.com offers an accessible, tailor-made way to help you learn how to speak Dutch. Using voice-recognition technology, Babbel will help you to master the pronunciation of even the most unfamiliar Dutch words. The platform offers grammar courses at different levels, as well as various thematic modules for those who are interested in particular topics, such as idioms or customs and traditions. Thanks to the intelligent Review Manager feature, you will always know what vocabulary to revise and when to revise it. Are you ready to learn? Then enter babbel.com and start your personalized Dutch course.