What can go wrong when you have a Dutch partner?

Once I have a Dutch partner, I’ll learn Dutch within 3 months.

A lot of people without a Dutch partner seem to think that this will be the case. Expats with a Dutch partner will tell you that it doesn’t work that way. Your Dutch partner doesn’t magically instill you with Dutch language skills. On the contrary: having a Dutch partner can be quite frustrating when learning Dutch. You assume you should be able to master the language fast, but you don’t. You think: What is wrong with me??

How can having a Dutch partner frustrate you when learning Dutch?

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Full Moon Poem

Many decades ago I stumbled upon this poem about the full moon. I don’t know the writer, and I even don’t know if it’s originally Dutch or a translation. Memorise this poem and recite it to impress your Dutch friends and give them just a little bit the creeps.

Zelfs een man die godvruchtig bidt,
‘s avonds voor hij slapen gaat,
kan een weerwolf zijn als het wolfskruid bloeit
en de maan vol aan de hemel staat.

Even a man that says his prayers at night,
can be a werewolf if the wolfsbane blooms
and the moon is full and bright.

Sleep well!

Scripted Dutch conversations

All students Dutch know that they have to practise speaking Dutch. Even when you have a Dutch partner, some nice colleagues or friends, this can be hard to do. Common problems are:

    • You don’t know what to talk about
    • Your partner expects you to speak on the same level in Dutch as you guys speak in English
    • You don’t have the appropriate vocabulary
    • Your conversation partner doesn’t know how they can help you
    • You feel inhibited to ask a Dutch speaker to help you

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5 tips on Dutch small talk

When you are a high educated expat, chances are that you don’t like small talk at all. When you’re an introvert like me, you might not even know how to do it. Why would anyone like to engage in meaningless chitchat or even gossip?

I’ll explain why and how in this article: small talk is a very useful tool in learning Dutch (or any other foreign language)

What is small talk?

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food critic irritated by English language

Teun van de Keuken is a food critic, but the owner of the coffee bar he frequents is most likely not aware of this. The boss reacts disturbed when the customers address him in Dutch. He wants to be addressed in his mother tongue (English) by his customers. When Teun asks for ‘de rekening’ he looks disturbed.
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