Saturday, May 13, 2006

My Nederlands Class (Part 1)

I was just on my 19th day of stay here in Netherlands that I started my language class. It is the Nederlands (Level 1 & 2) as my second language here. Fresh from my native home, I jumped right away to a newly way of life.
It has been eight years ago that I finished college and this time is my new entry again to a school, or a university actually. I studied in Leiden Universiteit for an intensive 2-month Nederlands course. It is a very nice and prestigious school as I would say. It is in the city of Leiden, 23 kms from our home city, also known as a University town. It is actally the oldest university in the country. Check this for more information about the school:

This is the academic building with the clocktower on top. Click to enlarge.
Armed with enthusiasm to learn, I started...studied...enjoyed...learned...and failed.
Ja, I failed my exam that blocked me to continue level 3&4.
It was disappointing, humiliating (...coz it's my first time being failed in an exam since time immemorial). That gave me time to contemplate...recall and looked back, and count things I learned for that short time. Then I realized that what I went through is not as simple but it was a battle. I went to a battle unarmed, full of changes and observations around. Here I have some insights about the language:

1. Dutch sometimes referred to as Netherlandic in English, is a Low Western Germanic language spoken by around 22 million people, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium(2005). Dutch is an official language of the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname, Aruba, and the Netherlands Antilles. Dutch was an official language in South Africa up until 1961, having fallen into disuse since Afrikaans became an official language in 1925. Of the inhabitants of New Zealand, 0.7% say their home language is Dutch (see article on New Zealand).
2. The Dutch vocabulary is one of the richest in the world and comprises over 350,000 headwords.
3.The Dutch alphabet has 26 or 27 letters (always considered 26 by Dutch native speakers, though), five or six of which are vowels. The alphabet used for the Dutch language is based on the Latin alphabet.
The letters are:
A- B - C - D- E - F- G - H - I - J- K- L - M - N - O- P - Q - R - S -
T- U - V - W - X- (Yor) IJ - Z

The vowels are:
A - E - I - O - U - and some consider IJ a vowel as well. The vowel inventory of Dutch would be large and will be more complicated with 14 simple vowels and four diphthongs.

4. The sounds and pronounciation perhaps put off by its guttural sound especially the letter /G/. There used to say that "Dutch isn't a language; it's a disease of the throat." Pronunciation can be a challenge as many of the Dutch vowel sounds are difficult for non native speakers. Vowel sounds can be trickier than the consonants because they differ from those in English. There are short vowel sounds, long vowel sounds and combinations of vowels. More about the language:

Below is the Filipino alphabet with its pronounciation :

Aa B b Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii
ey bi si di ii ef dzi eyst ay
Jj K k Ll Mm Nn Nn Oo Pp Qq
dzey key el em en enye o pi kyu
Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
ar es ti yu vi dobolyu eks way zi

Dutch Alphabet and its pronounciation:

Aa B b Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii

ah bey cey dey ey ef gh ha ij

Jj K k Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr

jij ka el em en ow pey ku er

Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx IJ Zz

es te uw ve vey ix ey zet

Just try to spot the difference...however, it's hard to see it well unless you will try to listen, the exact sounds. Meanwhile, I am already in other school just here around my city...that's gonna be my part II story next time.
Foto was taken at the School's cafe in Leiden with my classmates.( From left:Ms. China, Ms. India, Me, Ms. France, Ms. Poland & Ms. Morocco)

My first Dutch learning was also fun and I met new friends among my classmates. Most of them were from European countries, United States and we're only three Aseans, one was from China and India. We were fifteen students and seemed to be we are in a perfect United Nation Conference :-)...I had two different male is always on his red pants actually, so I won't forget him...:-)

Well, time is up for now...I will give extra list of Dutch counting (cardinal) numbers next time. I would just like to share how I really find it hard to learn...maybe this is a way of extracting my tongue's difficulty :-0 :-) Help me..........alstublief ! (please!).

No comments: