I’m still on a mission to absorb as much Dutch as I can! It’s one of those things that has no practical long-term value, but it interests me and makes me happy right now, so I’m doing it anyway. No one can say you shouldn’t learn a language, really.
Besides the dull grammar books and websites, I’m always looking for fun, interesting things to help me learn. I did find that I can watch kids tv in Dutch online, but there’s only so much Dora-in-Dutch that I can take. I’m decent at reading the language, so I’ve taken to looking for things I want to read.
1) Twee-minutenverhalen (Twenty-minute stories)
I found this at the flea market for all of €3. It’s full of 2 page stories and accompanying illustrations, on all sorts of subjects. Here we have “Amanda and the Marmots,” but other stories are true fairy tales with princesses and castles. I love the 70’s illustrations and color schemes, but to be honest, the stories are a bit too dense for me. I can read it, but I have to look up 80% of the words. When my vocabulary gets rounded out it should be a bit easier, but until then it’s tough read.
2) Seizoenen, by Blexbolex. (Seasons)
I saw this book three days ago, and yesterday went back and bought it. It’s perfect: big, bright illustrations and one word commentaries. Even besides the Dutch, it’s so beautiful to look at! It’s actually quite clever, too, with really thoughtful illustrations like the above “meeting.” See the man in the water?
3) Flow Magazine
This magazine is perfect for me, because it’s something I would want to read in English, so it’s full of motivation to figure out what it says! A pretty lifestyle/crafty magazine, it comes with little blank notebooks that I’ve been using to write down new words. Some articles get a bit too long and text-heavy for me, but the blurbs and short paragraphs are the perfect combination of challenging and easy. Sometimes I can get through one without looking anything up, which is a great ego-booster.
4) Other than those, I try to read a few blogs, which are a great length and don’t often use complicated words or tenses. Flow posts a blog (in English here), and I’ve also followed 101woonideen (101 living ideas) which has a lot of crafty and DIY posts, and vtwonen, a design/lifestyle magazine.
Now I need to work on speaking Dutch…