Updated: Oct 20, 2020
Afraid to speak…?
Language was created to communicate. Learning a new language is mostly a process of trial-and-error. Even people who memorize the whole dictionary and learn all the grammar rules will have to start practicing and using these words and rules at some point if they ever want to become fluent. Don’t wait till you “have enough words” or “know enough rules”. Learning will never be ‘finished’ anyway, and because language is nothing more than a vehicle for connection and communication, we really need to connect with other people to learn and make progress.
Better to use the little you know, dive in and learn how to swim as you go along. Don’t forget to use non-verbal language to support your message! And most importantly, find the right people to start with.
Find people you feel comfortable with
It is scary enough to speak. So find a few people you feel comfortable with who want to support you, just like if you would decide to quit smoking or start going to the gym. It’s all about creating new habits, and if you have nice people to do this with, half the work is already done. Maybe your enthousiastic coworker, your friendly neighbor or one of the parents at your kid’s school. Make sure these are unintimidating people. Later on you can start practicing with the harder nuts to crack.
Ask them if they’d want to help you with your Dutch. Hand them the Rubio Dutch Conversation Flyer (let me know if you need more of these!), so they know what to do or to expect. Agree either on a specific place where you will speak Dutch from now on (the lunchroom, the hallway, the playground) or a specific moment of the day (each morning for 5 minutes or the first 5 min of lunchtime).