I decided to attempt a full week in my third language as that last little boost before my language test. It was quite an interesting learning experience and definitely helped to improve my skills in the language. Here is how it went.
Monday, Day 1
When I woke up I completely forget about my Dutch language promise and did the usual good morning’s with my husband. He didn’t have time to reply before my ah ha moment came and I repeated what I said in Dutch.
Goede morgen schatje. Heb je goed geslapen? | Good morning baby. Did you sleep well?
As Onno works all day I had the entire day to myself and it’s not like I talk to myself, well I do but inside my head most of the time so my Dutch really came out to play when Onno came home. I also received some disappointing news on Monday and I forced myself to tell everything that happened in Dutch instead of just throwing in the towel and switching over to English. The rest of the evening went well.
Tuesday, Day 2
It went smoothly. I remembered to speak Dutch from the get go and did just that. I made a few slip ups but you could follow me and understand what I’m trying to say. It was getting there.
Wednesday, Day 3
I started getting the hang of it, but at the same time it started getting harder to keep my concentration. I can’t really say if it’s because of all the Dutch and the level of concentration I need to speak proper Dutch, or if it was my family worries. Basically I would start speaking Dutch without any thought about it but it didn’t always end up well because my full concentration wasn’t on it.
Thursday, Day 4
Around this time I was getting a little sick and tired of it if I’m honest. It was annoying to have to concentrate and rethink every single word before you say it. Although I really can’t tell if my family worries played any factor in this. I still spoke Dutch although I was tempted to throw in the towel. Yeah. It was okay. It was difficult to keep going and try to actually speak proper Dutch and not just throw some words together.
Ate apple – Dutch when I don’t concentrate
I ate an apple – Proper Dutch when I concentrate
So you can see why I need to concentrate when I speak Dutch.
Friday, Day 5
It was a really suck-ey day and I barely spoke but the little I did speak was in Dutch so yay?
Saturday, Day 6
My normal Dutch without much concentration was improving and although my emotional state was still on the low side I was getting there. I kept to my promise by only speaking Dutch so I did have my pride to push me through my last few days.
Sunday, Day 7
I was emotional, frustrated and just over it. I was tired of having to struggle through my sentences and conversations but I pushed through. I didn’t speak a hell of a lot but I still staid Dutch.
This entire week would’ve gone a hell of a lot better if my mental state was better that is clear but at the same time I still stayed true to my promise and spoke Dutch 95% of the time. 5% was when I slipped up with Onno (I would repeat myself in Dutch when I noticed) and when I spoke to family members. To explain a little, my father heard he had to go under the knife and since I’m so far away…well it’s really nerve wracking. It feels horrible to be so hopeless. I tried to stay positive but it was difficult because I knew my father needed me, I could hear it in his voice but I couldn’t physically go to him and help him. It hurts and it will never stop hurting. You always want to support and help your parents. Onno and I did step in and tried to help where we can but yeah there is only so much you can do when you’re on the other side of the world. I’m still proud of my progress I made this week. I started picking up on my most frequent mistakes and now that I know them I can try to nip it in the bud. It still slips out and it grind my gears but I almost always pick it up and fix my mistake.
For all my Dutch readers this one is for you. So my most frequent mistake that basically slips out every two minutes is “reg”. Now in Afrikaans this word can mean many things; right (you’re right) and ready. But in Dutch you won’t ever use the word in that context and that’s when I run into a wall. It’s GOED en KLAAR. I’m repeating this for myself for a little extra reminder. It’s only “reg” when it’s “regs” for turn right or when you’re talking about the law. It’s honestly the finer details that always gets me.
I’m learning slowly but I’m definitely getting there. I won’t rate myself as being fluent in Dutch but if I have to score myself then I would give myself 8,5 out of 10. My biggest hurdle I need to surpass is my confidence when speaking Dutch with complete strangers. If someone puts me on a spot I get nervous and my Dutch comes out all poop-ey and if a stranger does this it just gets ten times worse. I even struggled to speak Dutch to my mother in law the first time. I just get so embarrassed. It’s something I’m sure will pass and I’m sure once I get my results it will give me a big boost of confidence. That and when I start my job I will just have to get used to it. I’m more nervous about getting a job and speaking understandable Dutch the entire day with so many strangers than my big language test. All well. I just have to put my head in the game and get it done.