I’ve decided I’m finally able to list another language, besides English, on my Facebook page. I’m calling it Smutch. I know some Dutch. Not much, but some.

I’m able to say hello and have a small conversation with someone who is Dutch if they are willing to help me through the big unknown words. I can now count to ten and can count change back from a 50… with a little help. I can say ‘thank you’, and ‘here you go’ with ease. I can say ‘good bye’ several different ways and I’m also able to make my words sing at the right inflections when saying them. I know directions for north, south, east and west and can usually point my car in the right direction when doing so. Reading Dutch is a lot easier than understanding it when someone is talking. Or if I ask them to slow down a bit I’m able to pick out and get most of the meaning from what they’re saying. And if I give them that “Deer in the headlight” look, they always switch back to English. I’m able to read most items on the menu now. And signs are becoming more and more familiar. Listening to the radio, I no longer tune out what is being said during the news. I’m able to understand when they are talking about a town nearby, the traffic report and the temperature that is forecasted for the day.

But I’m still shocked when the ‘F’ word comes flying out just as plain as day. The Dutch language is very gruff and gurggly and difficult to pronounce. And just like the different accents in the US it’s often hard to imitate the sounds and cadence of the Dutch language. But with a positive can-do spirit and a sense of humor I’m learning. Most of the people I’ve met are so excited and willing to help me with my Dutch and have a lot of patience with my progress. They know it’s a difficult language and are willing to help me. I’m headed to Germany this week so I’m thinking I’ll listen to Wayne Newton sing “Danke Schön” and get a few tips on how to speak German.

So for now….Tot Ziens 🙂

Lisa Jochim

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