11 June, 2010

Why is that word where it is??

A couple of weeks ago I had a small melt down in one of my lessons.  We were set a task to re-write sentences using different tenses and I just couldn't do it.  Maybe it's because I'm a native English speaker (or just a bit slow haha) but switching the words around in a sentence is completely strange to me.

I discussed it with my teacher and we came up with a new plan.  Clearly the level that I have been placed in is slightly above me.  I don't struggle to understand, just struggle to answer using correct grammar.  I think it's great that the level is difficult - better than the opposite, right?  The problem really is though that the course I'm in assumes that I already know the basics.  That I have been studying to get to A2 already, not just taking an entrance exam and being put into a class when I hadn't done anymore than just try to pick Dutch up as I went along.  Because that was how my Dutch was (who am I kidding, is), making sentences and knowing the grammar was way over my head.  I just don't understand why there is some times a random zijn or is at the end of a sentence.  I find it so frustrating not knowing the rules!  I'm here waiting for that light to go on, you know?  Then I'll just have gone over the hump and everything will be much easier (you can see I'm something of an instant gratification type person).

We decided together that aside from our regular course work, I needed to do some extra work to pick up the grammar and be able to make a damned sentence properly.  The Lovely Teacher loaned me one of her books, Eenvoudige Basisgrammatica NT2 and I need to complete 3 or 4 lessons from the book each week as home work.  There are 40 lessons in the book, so if I complete 4 lessons per week I'll be fluent and ready to take on the world in 10 weeks (I kid, obviously)!

The thing is, this book might really do the trick for me.  It's teaching me how to do it all, right from the very basics of how to put a sentence together, i.e.wie / doet / (wat, waar, hoe).  I'm loving it!  If you're like me and have been struggling along with Pigeon Dutch for a long time, this is truly the book for you.  Loads of practice tasks, loads of verbs and their tenses, plus a long list of words with their prefixes and suffixes (haven't used those terms since about grade 4 at school!).  Obviously I'm only a few lessons in, and I expect the grammar to get much more difficult, but I'm excited about completing it.  After borrowing it from my teacher I went out and bought it.
Take a look.  It will help make learning less of a chore.  I promise.


Unknown said...

Ohh don't despair and try to find your own pace to learn, it'll all come to you!
I had the same problem you are having with the order, and while I was talking, would get lost somewhere in the middle and forget the verb that was supposed to go at the end! :o)
Succes!!! :o)

Unknown said...

Oh, Nerissa! I understand you soooooo much!! I've moved to The Netherlands 4 weeks ago, and i'm studying everyday, plus the conversations in dutch with friends of my boyfriend, people in shops, the radio, the TV. Everyone says that i'm making great progress, but I just feel it's not good enough.
I'm waiting now for the Gemeente to call us and tell us if i'm "obliged" to take Inburgering in Nederland (I did it in Argentina already). If that's the case (if I'm obliged) I can ask IB-group for a loan to pay for my dutch classes. Otherwise, I will keep studying on my own (they are expensive and I don't have a job yet).
Fortunately the grammar does not feel so strange for me (I don't know why, or may be it's because I studied german a couple of years ago), but I still make mistakes. A lot!
Keep going, girl!
Greetings from de Beemster, Leti

Anonymous said...

Nice that your teacher was willing to help instead of telling you that it was your husband's job! lol...

Unknown said...

@Aledys, I'm so glad that it's not just me that struggles with word order! I'm about a quarter of the way through the book now, and it's helping enormously.

@Leti, take the plunge and contact the Gemeente - you could get put into a program sooner. The Ttif Company in Almere seem to be taking in new students all the time. Plus, the Gemeente will pay for it (you might have a gap - I had to pay €270, which I might get back if I complete the course within a certain timeframe, but not too sure on that one).

@CW, I love my teacher. Total admiration. She's not even Dutch and is teaching the language to people who have lived here twice as long as she has. She makes learning fun, really. I hope you can find someone as good with all your struggles learning the language!!

Unknown said...

Nerissa, I have good news!! I'm obliged to do Inburgering!!! I know, i know, for some people might sound really weird that i am so happy for this obligation. But you know that this means that I can then have some help to pay for my dutch classes!! Hoera!!!
And Almere is a little bit far from home. I have not been there yet, but I have an appointment next Friday, so I will have the chance to know your city a little bit!
Greetings from Zuidoostbeemster, Leti

Valentijn said...

I'm surprised your class wasn't covering grammar! At James Boswell Institute we learned all the basic rules in A level and are re-learning them and some new rules in B1. Both the books we've used have a new grammatical concept in every chapter, incorporated with some new vocab. I'd feel totally lost without that focus on teaching grammar (and still do sometimes anyhow!)

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