Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why a Dutch?

There are two reasons for learning a language. One is practicality. The other is enjoyment. Even though I've been through the process, I wonder what makes enjoyment. Why one language and not another?

The first time I set out to learn a language, I wanted to learn any language. I envied code switchers. Spanish was the choice, because it was the number two language in the area. The whole process was exhilerating.

Now, I'm on my 5th language. I want to read and listen to more Dutch. As with Spanish, I fell in love with it, but that did not happen with other languages, French for example.

Although it is unlikely I will ever speak Dutch, I really want to know it. I would like to read more. Max Havelaar comes to mind. It is in the public domain, and I have bookmarked it. I would also like to watch more Dutch documentaries. Although I have run across the trashy elements of Dutch culture, I still want to read and hear more of the good stuff. I will most likely continue to listen to the nieuws.

There are other reasons for learning Dutch. It lacks the infrastructure of more popular languages. Sometimes, such things get in the way. It's written up as the best jumping off point for other languages in the Germanic group. The bonus is similar to what one gets by learning a Romance language. Learn one, and you get comprehension of several. Being far away from Dutch speakers, it's an internal learning process. There is nobody to impress. It's more relaxed. If I miss something on a tv show, there is no pressure to know exactly what was said. I can read and listen at my own pace. Finally, there is the underrated food. Try a large Dutch pancake made in an iron skillet with lemon juice and powdered sugar over it. Incredible.

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