Every so often, I'll wake up in the middle of the night, and a Dutch word I have had to look up many times will suddenly pop into my head with the definition. This happens with words that Geert Mak frequently uses. For example, I now have it firmly in my head that belangrijk means important and bijvoorbeeld means for example.
I understand more and more of the podcasts I listen to, but comprehension is still a slow process. It's like tuning an old radio that doesn't work very well and trying to listen to a radio station that's too far away. Over time it becomes clearer. The better you learn a language, the closer it comes to sounding as clear as your own.
Recently, I added the podcast Laura Speaks Dutch to my list of things to listen to. I am about halfway through it. I am amazed at how having things explained in English has helped my listening and reading. What people say is much clearer now, even though much of it is a bunch of syllables puncuated by the occasional word I know.
Laura is also a good capsule of Dutch life. It includes everything from comments on Dutch food to information about a government falling during the time the podcasts were made. There are many short lessons, which appear to be made to be repeated a lot by the listener.
If there are any language acquisition researchers or language learners reading this who find it useful, I am open to questions. You can post them as comments.