Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Especially if you’re just starting to learn Dutch, it can be scary to speak Dutch outside of the classroom.
A good way to combat these feelings of fear is start by choosing just one place to practise your Dutch. Choose a place that you visit frequently and where you want to feel more comfortable. For example, the supermarket. So, you will want to learn more vocabulary relevant to the supermarket—start making your grocery lists in Dutch!—, speak to the cashiers in Dutch, and even try to think in Dutch as soon as you enter the supermarket.
For an extra challenge, you can’t buy anything that you don’t know how to say in Dutch! Just kidding! 🙂
However, even if you know all the vocabulary that you need to get through the supermarket, it can still be a bit difficult to actually start speaking Dutch: What about the grammar? The pronunciation? The cultural cues?
In this blog post, we’ll return to our day-to-day conversations explained and expand on our supermarket example to boost your confidence next time you’re fumbling around for your wallet at the cash register. Sometimes just knowing what to expect, or seeing the conversation written out can be really helpful!
Bij de supermarkt / At the supermarket:
Klant: ‘Hoi, goedemiddag.’ (of ‘goedemorgen’ in de ochtend/ ‘goedeavond’ als het avond is)
Customer: ‘Hello, good day.’ (or good morning/evening)
Employee: ‘Good day.’
*bleep bleep bleep* (scanning items)
Medewerker: ‘Heeft u een bonuskaart?’ of ‘Spaart u zegeltjes?’
Employee: ‘Do you have a bonus card’ or ‘Do you save discount stamps?’
Klant: ‘Ja, graag’ of ‘Nee, hoor, bedankt.’
Customer: ‘Yes, please’ or ‘No, thanks.’
Klant: ‘Mag ik er een tasje bij?’
Customer: ‘Can I have a plastic bag?’
Medewerker: ‘Ja, natuurlijk. Dat is vijftien cent.’
Employee: ‘Yes, of course, that will be 15 cents.’
Klant: ‘Mag ik pinnen?’ or Kan ik contant betalen?’
Customer: ‘Can I pay with pin card?’ or ‘Can I pay with cash?’
Medewerker: ‘Ja, gaat uw gang’
Employee: ‘Yes, go ahead’
Medewerker: ‘Wilt u de bon?’
Employee: ‘Do you want the receipt?’
Klant: ‘Ja, graag’ of ‘Nee, dank u/dank je wel’
Customer: ‘Yes, please’ or ‘No, thank you (formal/informal)’
Medewerker: ‘Fijne dag/avond’
Employee: ‘Have a nice day/evening’
Klant: ‘Ja, bedankt, u ook!’
Customer: ‘Yes, thank you, same to you!’
To conquer this Dutch territory, you can, for example:
Start by making your grocery lists in Dutch. Every time you don’t know one of your list items, you can look it up and learn a new word.
Once you enter the supermarket, try to talk to yourself in Dutch. ‘Ik ben op zoek naar kaas’ (I’m looking for cheese), for example. This will start to build upon the vocabulary that you’ve gained by writing grocery lists.
Try to limit yourself to speaking Dutch in the grocery store. Remember that you can compensate with hand gestures if you’re feeling a little lost!
Set a concrete goal for yourself so you know when you’ve ‘conquered’ this territory. If you want to get through the entire grocery store without speaking English to anyone, then it will be very clear when you’ve reached your goal!