Aside from quitting smoking, working out and getting laid, learning a new language almost always ranks somewhere in the top-five of New Year’s Resolutions (aka: New First Two Weeks of January Resolutions). And for good reasons: it’s classy, it stimulates the brain, it could prove to be very useful next time you go on vacation, and it gives you something to boast about at the next birthday party. Becoming fluent in multiple language is associated with a host of psychological benefits and opens up a new world of information and wonder, as well as giving you that sweet, rewarding feeling of not being dependent on intermediaries to do your translating for you, be it in conversation or when consuming popular culture (the only down-side: a proper understanding of German effectively makes the seemingly endless stream of those Der Untergang spoofs a lot less funny). As the saying goes: “With a new language comes a new mind.” So here’s to all you bilinguals, polyglots, and hyperglots out there: keep up at being awesome!
Considering that relatively few people in this world speak the Dutch language (total estimate of native speakers: 25 million) and how few Americans take it on themselves to learn a new language, I’ve come to the conclusion that the cross-section entitled “Americans who learn Dutch, because why not?” consists of a single person, and we have found her.
Meet the Amerikaanse Dutchie, a youngster bilingual from the US who decided to learn Dutch for the hell of it, thus becoming DutchReview’s most recent “Certified Person of Awesomeness”. There are many ways to learn a new language. Obviously you can enroll in a language course at various schools. You can also watch movies or read books in a foreign language (pro-tip: the reason why many people in The Netherlands and Scandinavia are good at English is because we don’t dub our TV-shows. Here’s looking you, France and Germany!), or use awesome free-base web-sites. Amerikaanse Dutchie found another fun way: just sing it. It’s a well-known fact that singing makes it easier for you to express yourself verbally than speaking, just ask anyone who stutters. Amerikaanse Dutchie sang a few songs in Dutch and got a lot of positive reactions, prompting her to keep doing it in. She quickly discovered that she could pick up vocabulary at a fast pace and decided to make a habit out of it.
So how good is this method of sing-learning? We at DutchReview can gleefully confirm that her pronunciation is in fact very good. Sure, you can hear the accent, but no native Dutchie worth his/her salt should have a problem understanding her. The singing is not too shabby either, judge for yourself here: