Thursday, February 5, 2009

spijkerbroek? what?!

So, if you're wearing spijkerbroek, that is not Spider Man underpants.. it's denim. Got it? Today I spent about an hour and a half with my Rosetta Stone Dutch course. It's so annoying to do it over and over again, the same photos, same voices, it takes forever.. "Is de auto witte?" "Ja, de auto is witte" "Welke kleur heeft deze auto?" "Deze auto is rose" BLAH BLAH BLAH

A lot of people say that Rosetta Stone is great for learning languages, but sometimes I get the feeling that all I'm learning are random words. I still don't understand why some things are DE and others are HET, and why some things are WIT and others are WITTE... I thought that words didn't take gender in Dutch.. so with Rosetta, I'm looking at stuff, yeah, the car is old and blue and the boys are running, but I'm not so sure that I shouldn't be doing something else in addition to the program.

I've heard that one of the reasons that Rosetta Stone works well, is because you learn the language as a child would, via listening and observation... rather than the technical approach that adults usually take, which is studying the structure of the language and usually by writing first. Since I took the latter approach with French, I do understand how frustrating it can be to write the same verbs over and over to try to drill them into your head. My French courses were taught by an American woman who spoke English 70 % of the time, and all we did was conjugate verbs and read out loud small exercises from a text book about Phillipe and Laurent's visit to La Campagne. I didn't even start to learn the language until I moved abroad and had to actually use it.

So, here I am trying to approach Dutch from a different angle. I'm finding it hard to break old habits and not obsess over verb tenses and sentence structure. But really, how far are the phrases that I'm learning going to take me? "Brood kun je eten en ballen kun je niet eten." Good to know for next time I'm playing tennis. Thanks Rosetta Stone.


Anonymous said...

Spijkerbroek is even funnier if you know the literal translation: nailpants!

It's cute how with all your ranting you still got it wrong. 'Witte' is an adjective. While 'wit' is the name of the color.

So de auto is wit, but it's a witte auto. But then not all words change when they are used as an adjective, you got the pink car right. Get it? We don't either.

'De' en 'het' are shit to learn, the only way you can know is by growing up in this country. Same goes for 'dit' and 'dat'.

We have very few rules and many exceptions to them.

Oh and gehaktballen and bitterballen are perfectly edible, so they're teaching you fallacies as well!

Dean said...

haha. Very true. But the simple fact is that things DO stick. I'm not sure that "De olifant staan op de tafel" is going to be used very often, but as long as words stick then thats all that matters.

Mlle said...

Ha ha, well Miekster, I'll have you know, in the lesson, "ballen kun je niet eten" was accompanied by an image of tennis balls! WTF? Of course I thought, well, I eat bitter ballen, they should have said, "schoenen kun je niet eten"... After all, no one ever eats shoes or any other variety of footwear.

And no, that stuff about wit and witte sounds a nightmare. Is it if the word comes before or after the noun that decides ?