Let’s imagine that you have a Dutch partner and that you love them. Probably you would be happy, right? Well… there is a chance that your Dutch partner does not fulfill all your needs. Can you guess what it is? It might surprise you.
Let’s start with a simple sentence in Dutch. Mijn partner stimuleert me. Probably you can guess what it means, right? However, there is a catch… The Dutch interpretation is different from what you might expect. Sure… it could be that thing that you think it means, and… in Dutch, it has a second meaning that is quite different 😉
Here is another sentence that will help you guess the correct meaning: de euro stimuleert de economie. Here it is easy to understand that it means that de euro helps the economy to grow stronger. That is why mijn partner stimuleert me, has more or less the same meaning to Dutch ears. It simply means that your loved one helps you, supports you, and encourages you with your personal growth.
Negative or Positive?
Yes! It is easy to feel disappointed by your Dutch partner.
But… let’s be honest now… You may like your Dutch partner for obvious reasons, but… there is that painful question: is having a Dutch partner helpful for speaking much better Dutch? Unfortunately, the answer could be negative. In most cases, having a Dutch partner is not beneficial for improving your spoken Dutch. Sometimes it seems that it could even be counter-effective.
Now here is a strange thing… Do you know what Dutch people often recommend if you like to pick up a new language? (pun intended). The piece of advice would be really simple… A bed is often a better place to learn a new language than a boring classroom. I can speak from personal experience because I speak much better Spanish now since I have a partner from Spain.
So yes, in general, you could say that if you like to speak a new language, it is often a lot easier when you have a partner from that specific language. Love is a great teacher! But.. for some mysterious reason, it often turns out that this is not the case when your partner is Dutch.
If you look at it more closely, it is easy to understand why. First of all, there is a big chance that your partner speaks English reasonably well. So when you meet each other while speaking English, it is quite easy to continue this pattern. Why would you bother to produce weird g sounds and crazy sentence constructions if you could also make yourself clear while speaking English within 3 seconds or less?
Do You Understand?
Once you understand what Dutch people don’t understand, life gets easier!
By the way, have you noticed that Dutch people also seem to assume that you would not need Dutch anyway? It seems that contrary to other cultures, Dutch people are not that keen on sharing their culture. Erroneously, they tend to assume that you’ll miss nothing when you speak.
English, but of course, this is not true. Although Dutch people like to speak English, there is one thing that they love more, and that is speaking Dutch!
One big problem is that most Dutch people take their language for granted and fail to realize its importance. When you speak English, your Dutch partner does not feel left out. Duh!
Let’s assume that your Dutch partner sees the importance of speaking Dutch and likes to help you. Immediately there will be a next obstacle waiting for you… Are you ready for a harsh and shocking truth? Here it is: Dutch people know nothing about their language, and they cannot explain it! Period!
That is why asking your partner for logical explanations is most often an absolute waste of time. The answers that you’ll receive from your partner will most likely not help you at all… Favorite replies are: this is the way it is, this is just how we say it, and here is the all-time favorite: this is an exception!
The secret of happiness is really simple. You need to stop one thing…
Can you see how easy it is to feel frustrated when you hope that your partner can help you with your Dutch? The root of this problem is very simple: many people falsely assume that if you speak a language, you can also teach it and explain it. So here is the first important thing to understand. Simply accept that your partner can unconsciously speak a language, which is the highest level of ability. Then the problem is: although you can do things effortlessly, you do not know how it works, let done that you can explain it to someone else!
Here is a thing that might help. If you understand that you cannot explain English either, then at least you are both in the same position. Here is a test. Are you ready? You can say: I swim – he swims, I work – he works, I sleep – he sleeps. Can you see that the verb always gets an s after he? So now comes the 1 million dollar question: at least four verbs do not get an extra s with he. Do you know which verbs? Make sure that you name them quickly!
The chances are high that now you start to feel confused. Maybe you don’t even know what a verb is. So could you come up with four verbs that do not get s with he? Or would you simply stare like a deer in the dash light?
Here is one hint… One verb would be will. You never say he wills. So now, you got the idea. And be honest now…. how long does it take you to find the other three verbs as well? Certainly, if English is your native language, it could be quite painful and confronting. It seems that you don’t know your language, which to some extent is true. Once again, you are probably unconsciously able to speak it, which means that speaking goes automatically; however, you are hardly aware of what you are doing exactly… Strange thought, isn’t it?
The good news is, of course, that Dutch can be logically explained. You just need to go to a language specialist. And by the way, here is one crucial lesson for experiencing more happiness in your life: Never expect things from people that they cannot give you. For example, if you know that Albert Heyn does not sell shoes, it would be stupid to go to that supermarket every day, hoping that now they’ll sell your favorite shoes. Therefore, stop expecting guidance and logical explanations from your partner! Appreciate your partner for many other things that they can offer!
Here is another problem that often happens if people do not understand their language. They will not be able to see what the real challenge is, and often they’ll just focus on the mistakes, and they cannot see the progress you make. Believe me, I have been training Dutch for 18 years now, and it takes some trained eyes and ears… Fortunately, I can instantly notice even the slightest progress that my students make, which makes it far easier to love the work I do!
If you are a bit luckier, your partner may know something about Dutch, but then another problem immediately turns up. Even if you have all the knowledge in the world, giving feedback is a skill by itself… And most Dutch people suck at it!
What You Two Can Do
Many people, certainly if they have well-meant intentions, can overwhelm you with loads and loads of new information. On top of that, the typical Dutch way of giving feedback is focusing a lot of things that you do wrong. Many Dutch people believe that if you quickly fix faults and errors, your Dutch will get better, and there is one thing that they often forget. Feedback should encourage you to learn more and be more curious. Feedback is most effective when it allows you to feel competent and positive… You need to be able to understand the feedback while feeling excited to make even more progress.
So here is the thing: one of the most important things for speaking Dutch is that you understand how the system works and that you enjoy learning and have outrageous fun with it. If this is not what your partner can do, then find someone else who can. It will make all the difference!
Here is another thing that you can do with your Dutch partner once you have started learning. Simply start small conversations for 5 minutes and do it every day. Do not ask your partner for logical explanations; just make sure that you find a good moment where both of you feel at ease. Drink een wijntje or een biertje if you like, and then if you do it for a couple of days in a row, you’ll find that your ability to speak Dutch will naturally expand. Maybe the first day, you can only speak for 1 minute, but if you do it for a couple of weeks, you’ll soon discover that you could easily speak for one hour or more.
Once again, remember that you talk about nice things and don’t ask your partner difficult questions. Make sure that you find someone else that can help you with this important part. The good thing is that once you have started to speak Dutch, your partner will be more and more able to help you. The higher your level gets, the easier it will be for your Dutch partner to assist you and teach you new things.
Therefore the conclusion is extremely positive. Yes! Your Dutch partner can stimulate you, certainly with your Dutch! They just need special treatment, and then loads of new things are possible!
Albert Both helps people to learn and speak Dutch fast. With his 7-day course, Dutch Brainwash you’ll learn how to look at Dutch differently so that you can unleash your fluency while having outrageous fun.