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How simple words can help you speak better Dutch

How simple words can help you speak better Dutch

What often prevents you from speaking a new language? Disappointment number one? If you were like most people, you would say, “Words! I need more words! ” Albert Both from Talencoach shows us an easy way to expand our Dutch vocabulary – all you need is a little playfulness and imagination and it will be great!

Similarities to English

Let’s assume you’ve been studying Dutch for a while. What did you notice? You may find that speaking Dutch is quite difficult and that many things don’t make sense. But luckily you also found that Dutch has at least one good thing … It’s very similar to English! Let’s look at the following suggestions:

  • I clap in bed
  • Man eet a bitterball
  • I’m working on a week, and I’m ready to go out on Sunday

This is not rocketry, right? The translation of these sentences should be ridiculously simple. In case you didn’t understand, here are the translations:

  • “I’m sleeping in my bed”
  • “Man eats a bitter ball”
  • “I work all week and are free on Saturdays and Sundays”

Obviously, many Dutch words are very similar to English, right? So, at first glance, the Dutch language should be fairly easy. But there is also bad news .. there are many Dutch words that are similar to English but they have a different meaning.

For example, how would you translate the following sentence: ik heb even a problem? That doesn’t mean, “I even have a problem.” Although spelling from even just like the English “even”, the pronunciation and meaning are different. Even means for a short time, for a short time. You may have heard: even kijken – lliterally it means looking for a brief moment or let’s look at a brief moment. It seems that the Dutch like to see pictures and images when they think;)

There is something wonderful in Dutch words! There are many words like even in Dutch. Words that look like English words, but sometimes they have a different pronunciation – you have to follow Dutch rules – and a different meaning. For some people, this can be very serious and they may immediately feel frustrated. However, others immediately recognize the great opportunity …

Some examples

So here are a few Dutch words. What do you think they mean? Let’s see if you can guess the meaning, and then we’ll deal with them one by one: “Rad”, “Walnut”, “Wet” and “Red”.


How would you translate: De man is happy? This does not mean that a person is happy. Here is another suggestion that may help: It’s snowing on the street. De Straat is happy. Hopefully now it’s easier to guess the word. It’s snowing outside, it’s slippery outside. Now you need to be careful, because it is very easy to slip and fall!

The great thing is that now you can also use glad in other contexts. You could say: Boris Johnson is happy. Can you guess what that means? Here it is a little negative; this means you are a seamless operator. At the same time, glad can also be positive; De presentatie glad can mean simply “the presentation goes smoothly”. If you say: Alles loop glad then everything goes glad – it means that something is going smoothly, without flaws and problems.

So, the great thing is glad not so hard to remember. All you need to do is just change your pronunciation a bit and give it a whole new meaning. At the same time, memorizing a foreign word is the most difficult, most often, right? Well, not anymore!


So let’s play with the word nut. But that doesn’t mean “nut” in English. However, could you imagine that the nut has a lot of useful nutrients? Nutty simply means: useful benefit or practical benefit. In Dutch, people often use this word. What a nut it is”What is the benefit, the goal? You can say: ik zie het nut nietand then it just means: I see neither benefit nor benefit!

The great thing is that in Dutch you can easily combine words with other words. For example, low means nothing, so now you can create a new word: nietsnut. Let’s use this in a sentence: De man is a full nietsnut! Not so hard to guess, right? It just means that a person is useless, he has no value at all. Here you see what is important to be very flexible. So far nietsnut it’s one word, in English you’d probably say a useless person, or maybe a loser. Although there is a subtle nuance and difference between the words nietsnut and a loser, in both cases it means someone who does nothing.


Wet another great example. In Dutch it means law. All you need to do now is imagine that if it rains, everything will be wet. That is a natural thing – when it rains, everything gets wet, so it’s a law of nature, right? So now you know that wet means you can guess that wet is there? Ground literally means land. But, contrary to what you may think, it has little to do with owning private land or property. However, this is a solid foundation of all laws. Constitution it’s another word that sounds more formal.

Oderwet also a convenient word. Literally it means the old law, and it is used in the sense of the old-fashioned. Now you can say: ik wind x outerwets, I find x old-fashioned. You can use any words you want. You can say, for example: ik wind a Nokia outerwets. It’s up to you!


Red also a great word. Just think of the Red Cross. Rud red in English, but … what does the Red Cross do? They often save and save people, right? So red in Dutch means to save or to save. You can use it in sentences, for example The red planet (“Save the planet”) or Paint me! (“Save me!”, “Save me!”)

The Dutch use red often in the following sentence: ik red het niet, ik kom poznej. Then it means: I won’t have time, I’ll come later. If you say: ik red het, that is, you can save your plan, means anything you succeed; you can come on time, you have enough money or you will stay alive …

If you say: ik red het nietthen it often means you have a problem. What this means strongly depends on the context. It could mean: I’m broken, I’m late or I’m running out of oxygen! Another great sentence to use: i red me (“I will save / save myself”). That means: I will be fine, I can do it. This can be a wonderful and powerful sentence!

The great news is that words like these four examples are much more … Words that have the same spelling as in English. Hundreds and hundreds of similar words are waiting for you to be open!

Learn in a smart way

The good thing about Dutch is that many words are not too far removed from English words. If you are learning another language such as Greek, Turkish, Japanese or Arabic, you will notice that the words often sound completely different than English. Once you learn how to learn smarter, you’ll find that expanding your vocabulary and fluency in Dutch may be easier than you thought. Just remember: never learn too much, don’t be too serious … just play and discover!

Do you want to be able to speak fluently and learn to speak Dutch quickly and efficiently? Contact Albert at [email protected] or enroll in the Dutch Brain Talencoach program – an intensive seven-day Dutch language course in the center of Amsterdam.

You can also:

Download his e-book “3 Steps to the Dutch Current”
Download his e-book “Why you hate learning Dutch and 7 secrets of how to change it”
Visit his website Talencoach.nl
Check out his Facebook page
Watch the video on his YouTube channel
Everything is free!

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