zondag 3 september 2017

Find the right language teacher online

How do you find a perfect language teacher online? The easiest way is to find native teachers on online platforms like Verbalplanet, Live Lingua or iTalki. These websites ensure the quality and the quantity of the teachers. So select the language you're learning and find the appropriate teacher - at native level.

Before starting lesson number one, prepare. Let your teacher know what you want to learn. If you're starting from 0, make sure to look up some words for presenting yourself. If you're more advanced, check which difficulties you have. Or bring a situation you're likely to encounter in the near future. For example, greeting customers over the phone.

Also ask yourself how you learn best. Some don't need to see a word written to remember it. Others like detailed grammar rules. Make sure to let your teacher know in advance, so he/she'll be prepared to type all the words, or explain all the rules.

Ready to learn languages online? (c)
First lesson? Your teacher is probably as nervous as yourself, so it's normal. Remember to only schedule one lesson. You can decide afterwards whether to take another lesson. You may like the style and the pace - if you don't, just don't schedule a new lesson. Every teacher has a particular style, and some may suit you and others may not suit you.

When you're ready, ask your teacher to only talk in the language you're learning. You'll learn faster and more effectively. Some teachers do that from the first lesson on.

At the end of the lesson, ask for homework. So you can practice what you've learnt in between lessons.

Oh yes - a last tip: get $10 lesson(s) for free on iTalki. You're welcome. I'll get $10 too if you book a class.

zondag 18 juni 2017

Dutch lesson: where to place subject and verbs (inversion)

When do we place subjects and verbs in Dutch? For English and German natives, it's quite straightforward as more or less the same rules apply as in English and German. However, others might struggle with the verbs' placement.

The most common structure of a sentence is:

  • Subject-verb-others
  • Ik ben Pieter. (= I am Pieter)
With the verb in second place - as it is the case in most cases. However, in questions, the verb and subject switch positions:
  • Ben ik Pieter? (Am I Pieter?)
An interrogative pronoun (who, where, when...) can be placed in front:
  • Wie ben ik? (who am I?)
The subject will always be just next to the main verb, before or after. Sometimes, a complement (time, place...) will be first.
  • Nu ben ik Pieter. (Now I am Pieter)
  • In het huis ben ik Pieter. (In the house, I am Pieter)
Video: the explanation completely in Dutch!

If one wants to stress the object or indirect object, one can put it in front too.
  • Die cola drink ik. (That coke I'm drinking)
  • Met hem spreek ik af. (With him I meet)

Subsentences are a special case: these start with the subject and end with the verb(s).
  • Ik drink die cola, omdat die smaak mij meer energie geeft. (I drink that coke, because that taste gives me more energy)
  • Ik denk dat hij 's avonds cola drinkt. (I think he drinks coke in the evening)
If it's a that/who sentence about a word, there can be no subject (since the word is the subject), but the verb is at the end.
  • Ik ben de man die nu drinkt. (I know the man that is drinking now)

Exercises (translate, use inversion where you can):
  1. Who is that man?
  2. He is here. 
  3. I come after the break.
  4. I drink water because it's good now.
  5. I drink the water the man drinks in the evening.
  6. I drink water coming from the shop.

  1. Wie is die man?
  2. Hier is hij.
  3. Na de pauze kom ik.
  4. Ik drink water omdat het nu goed is.
  5. Ik drink het water dat de man 's avonds drinkt.
  6. Ik drink water dat van de winkel komt.

maandag 5 juni 2017

Learn your language with flashcards - tips

Ever heard of flashcards? They're little cards, with two sides. So how can you learn languages with them? Usually, there's a word on the one side, and the translation on the other side. Put them in a bag together, and you can take them out, one by one. Then, translate all the words. You can do it over and over again. Those you know, remove them from your bag.

Flashcards are a great way to learn those parts that are more challenging. If you have difficulties learning body parts, just make flashcards of the body parts. You can do them with drawings. Or with pictures. That's even better, so your mind stays in the language you're learning. And you might even remember the words you're learning by making the flashcards.

Make sure to put the articles and the plural if it's important in the language you're learning. Also use them for conjugations and expressions.

Many flashcards are available for sale. However, it's best to make them yourself. Only you know which words are important to you. And which conjugations and expressions you might use. Moreover, you can get inspired by other people's work. Check the 100 most used words to start with.

Use the websites that provide flashcards for free. Cram.com is one example. One of its advantages is that you can play the sound of the most spoken languages. So you can check the pronunciation as well.

More tips in my book and don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

10 funny Dutch expressions

Expressions are a great way to learn new languages. First of all, there's the new vocabulary. Second, you'll learn about the way sentences are structured. And third, you can surprise natives with you knowledge. So let's see 10 funny expressions in Dutch.

Iemand in het ootje nemen.
Literally, that's 'to take someone in the little o'. Which of course is a very silly thing to say in English. However, in Dutch it means to fool someone.

Het hek is van de dam.
Meaning the gate is from the dam. Well, that's silly again. But in Dutch it means there's a situation where everyone does what he or she wants. Chaos.

De ochtendstond heeft goud in de mond.
The morning has gold in its mouth. Why? Well, if you work a lot in the morning, while others are sleeping, you will get rich. So wake up early to become a millionaire!

Een ezel stoot zich geen twee keer aan dezelfde steen.
A donkey doesn't hit his head twice on the same stone. Means that you shouldn't make the same mistake twice.

De mosterd halen bij.
That's to get the mustard with someone or something. Meaning you're getting your inspiration from somewhere else, which is not specified here. It still has to be added after 'bij'.

Iemand bij de kraag vatten.
To catch someone with the collar. It means to apprehend someone.

Een oogje dichtknijpen.
Literally, that's to close one little eye. Meaning you'll allow someone to do something he or she shouldn't do.

Uit de doeken doen.
To do something from the clothes. That's an expression just to say to explain.

Tegen de lamp lopen.
To run against the lamp. That's when you get apprehended, when you're caught doing something you shouldn't.

Twee handen op één buik.
Two hands on one belly. When two persons really get along, you can say it.

Learn more Dutch with this 3.5 hours course.

zondag 18 december 2016

Language learning tip - for any language!

One of the problems language learners often face, is a lack of motivation. Especially when they have reached, through a lot of hard work, a basic level of their target language. This is one of the usual effects of going to language classes: you learn a lot about a language, but you don't speak it.

Whenever you're confronted with someone who speaks your target language, you have two options. If you go for the courageous way, you try in your target language. But what do you do when the person replies in your original language? Well, the answer is in the video below...

More tips in my book and don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

dinsdag 27 september 2016

Free Dutch course online!

Interested in learning the Dutch language? Here's you way to do it for free.

In over 40 lectures, you'll learn the basic grammar and over 300 Dutch words!

Start with the introduction to the course, so you can start learning Dutch in 7 different sections:
  • Section 5: how to ask questions, how to use diminutive and when to write capitals
  • Section 6: the numbers and pronouns
  • Section 7: bonus lectures and extra resources
Dutch learn
Try my 50-pages book!
Enjoy the course and let me know what you liked and liked less!

Here's the full description of the course:

Learn Dutch - this is the place to start learning Flemish online!
This is your opportunity! In this course, we start from zero. Indeed, zero. No previous knowledge needed. No expensive study books. We build on our way to learn Dutch, step by step. Learn at your own pace to translate Dutch, you can review the videos and redo the exercises any time, as much as you want! Learn Dutch online!
What can you expect?
Learning Dutch is difficult. Yes. So no unnecessary, 10-minute long Dutch grammar lessons with all the rules. Only what you need to know. Tips where you can find more Dutch language. Over 300 Dutch words to use in your everyday life. An interactive quiz at the end of each section, also about the Dutch vocabulary. Culture to understand Dutch better.

For who is this course?
You don't understand Dutch, or barely. And you want to know how to speak Dutch. And it's taught for you. Ready to start? 
The level is Dutch A1 to Dutch A2.

zaterdag 30 juli 2016

Free language courses - links

Interested in some free language courses? Udemy has everything you want! Check those ones out, they're all for free! Also check Coursera, Alison and Futurelearn for other courses.

Englishpoliteness​, Easy English​, punctuation​, writing​ courses (see other ones​).
Spanishlearn quickly​, for beginners​, verb basics​, the alphabet​ courses (see more​).
Germanalphabet​ and the most-used verbs​ courses.
That's 'Hi' in many languages ©
Frenchconversations & stories​, more stories​, speaking​ and advanced​ courses.
Japanese: for beginners​, understanding​ courses.
Brazilian Portuguese: for advanced students​, beginners​, vocabulary and expressions​ and another beginners​ courses.
​Mandarin Chinese: for beginners​, spoken Chinese​, for travellers​ courses (see more​).
Russian: for beginners​, reading and writing​, for beginners​ courses (see more​).
Hebrewcrash course​ and alphabet​ courses.
Other courses: Italian​, Swedish​, Norwegian​, Ukrainian​ and Turkish​.