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Important Tips to Learning a Foreign Language

1. Passion and Commitment
As a moment's notice you will know if you still have that same passion and commitment as you started with. If you do, you will find it easy to plan your daily commitment to study. You will make plans for yourself to keep your progression fresh in your active memory (what you have done, what you are planning to do today, and what you want to accomplish this week). This passion will make you seek for language opportunities. You will network with people to find native speakers in your area, so you can connect. You will seek online opportunities (discussion groups, Skype, via many websites that are sometimes centered on another hobby of yours, but with speakers of the language, etc.) ... you will be creative to find connections with the language. Remember, it is about more than the language. It is about the culture. Learn the culture, the history, and connect with the feel of the people.
2. Start with toddler language; it's ok.
Your native language speaking register (let's assume it is English) will not be your immediate target to accomplish in Afrikaans. No, start to think and speak like a toddler - simple and to the point, no fancy words. Use short simple sentences. Start thinking in 2 or 3 word phrases. It is the idea you want to communicate. Once you succeed, you can work on building a more sophisticated way of saying it. Do not refuse to speak until you can do it on par with the big sentences you use in English. You want to break the ice and be confident to try and this is a great way how.
3. "Hoe sê 'n mens"
Ok, have your notebook ready. You should often use this phrase, "hoe sê 'n mens..." and when the answer comes, you should document what you hear.
4. Learn the cognates
Cognates are words shared between two languages. Like the word spaghetti. It appears with a similar spelling in many languages. Look for cognates, it is an easy way to build up a great vocabulary. In Afrikaans, a good start is to go here Vocabulary > Reference Lists > Cognates.
5. Use the Web
Watch language clips, listen to music, read newspapers (see General > Links). Listening to music is key to getting the feel, and keeping the connect alive. Use Google Translator -- a great way to explore the language at the sentence level.
6. Rewrite the grammar book
It is passive to read how it is done. By closing the book and rewriting what you understand and trying to express it in original words is very helpful to discover your assumptions (right or wrong). Then share your findings with that of others to compare and learn from each other. This is immersion and effective learning.
7. Learn how to eat an elephant
it is obvious. You would not be able to do it in one day. It is vital that you learn to pace yourself. You have to set in stone the time you block out for language learning every day. Caveat: Do not feed yourself the usual "I will study as often as I can" loser talk. That really means, "I have many important things to do that will have to get priority. Once once I have taken care of all those things, will I have time to study Afrikaans." Which means, "who knows when I will get to it" ....oops! How about a real plan: 06h00-06h30 (M-F, at home) Vocabulary 11h30-12h00 (M-F, part of lunch) Grammar, Speaking 21h00-21h30 (M-Th) Reading

Testing

If you want credit for your Afrikaans at either High School or College level, I can help.  I am a certified Afrikaans Oral Proficiency Tester.

I test students for the first 4 semesters of Afrikaans at the college level.

I have developed a High School curriculum and I test for Afrikaans written, spoken, listening, and reading proficiency at the high school levels.

Flexitutor is a Windows-based program to really master vocabulary and grammar principles.

Take a look at how it works: http://www.screencast.com/t/NWYzODM2YWYt

If you want this program, it costs $15 that you can pay via PayPal. Please click on the Feedback/comments link at the bottom of the page to email us to express your interest in the software. Then you will receive a PayPal invitation to pay. Once you have paid, you will receive a link to download the program.

Inside this Website

You have two options:
1. Go to GENERAL > CURRICULUM, and follow a prescribed path.
2. Go where you judge the best to go. In that case, read on to get an idea of what awaits you.

Step 1 – Do the Pronunciation

     If you are a complete beginner, focus on pronunciation (Specific Focus) for at least a week -- that is if you spend about 15 minutes here per day. Systematically go through each topic in the SPECIFIC FOCUS, and concurrently listen to songs, stories and fables etc. in the HOLISTIC FOCUS and see how well you do on your pronunciation. Be patient and pay attention to details. Doing so now will build a solid basis that will really pay off. Focus on mastery of each SPECIFIC FOCUS lesson in Pronunciation. Build your inner voice till you can trust your own judgment well. Then move on to the other sections.
     It is of great value to be able to pronounce, even if you were not going to master the language. In and of itself, it is a worthwhile activity. Go over the pronunciation nodes more than once. Initially listen intently. Do not immediately jump to production. Sometimes being overly eager might cause you to ingrain incorrect pronunciation if it is built upon a premature perception of the sound. Guess what, perceptions are often shaky at the outset, and if you listen more in the beginning, you form a solid and accurate perception.
     Once you have gone through the whole pronunciation unit at least twice, it is time to try your new skills with a native speaker. Take some Afrikaans text to a native speaker and read to them. They will give you praise (hopefully) and point out some issues you need to work on some more. If you do not know any Afrikaans speakers, I will be happy to call you anywhere in North America (Noord-Amerika). You can also possibly use Skype to talk to others via the Internet.

Step 2 – Vocabulary

     The grammar follows a sequential progression. Do it one lesson at a time, and review old materials before you move on. Reviewing is vital – build it into your schedule. Some vocabulary lists tie directly to grammar lessons (e.g. Question words and the lesson of making questions). With these two domains in particular, the software will be of great use. A basic multiple choice only online version is available for vocabulary learning only. Click HERE to access this drill and practice environment. This software will be upgraded in time.
     The vocabulary section will eventually be divided in a beginner and advanced section. Many interactive exercises will allow you to learn vocabulary.
     FlexiTutor: The downloadable copy of FLEXiTUTOR is much more advanced than the online version and allows you to learn in several ways.  It covers vocabulary and grammar thoroughly. If you are interested to purchase this Windows-based software ($15.00), send a message to the author by clicking on the FEEDBACK link at the bottom of the page.

Step 3 – Grammar

     The grammar section is vital. This section contains great help, including an introduction, grammar terms explained, A fairy tale that explain the grammar in story form, a Q&A section, and then a master map of the grammar, with parts for beginners, and parts for intermediate learners. The map is loaded with links, making it work like an interactive table of contents. You can play with a grammar generator at http://www.openlanguages.net/grammagen/bin-debug/Main.swf

Step 4 – Communication

     After the Vocabulary and Grammar sections, the Communication section will become a useful domain. Here you will engage in divergent activities to test your perceptions. Activities here include skills in conversation, writing, and listening at the beginner and intermediate levels.

Step 5 -- Culture

     You can read the culture section any time. As you become more familiar with the language, you will want to ask questions, try out your language, and learn about the speakers, etc. When we come to this stage, we will seek for innovative opportunities to make this happen.

(If you find any errors, please click on the FEEDBACK link at the bottom of the screen to send me a message. Please copy the page's URL before clicking on the link and paste the URL in the message, and explain what is not working well.)

Listen to Afrikaans Radio

Under the link GENERAL > LANGUAGE LINKS, you will find access to Afrikaans radio on the Internet. Try to listen often.

Advies aan Nederlandstaliges

Passiewe Benadering

     Raak bewus van algemene verskille, byvoorbeeld, die werwoord in die infinitiewe form het geen –EN soos in Nederlands. NL=leren AF=leer.
     Begin Afrikaans lees. Byvoorbeeld, lees daagliks die nuus op Afrikaans. Op my webwerf is ‘n spul webskakels.

Aktiewe Benadering

     Luister na Afrikaans en kopieer die uitspraak, soos ‘n Brit wat die Amerikaanse tongval probeer naboots. Daar is heelwat Afrikaans op die webwerf. Hou vol daarmee totdat u gemaklik voel met die Afrikaanse uitspraak. Luister byvoorbeeld na Stef Bos. Hy doen goed met die Suid-Afrikaanse tongval.
     Netwerk met Afrikaans sprekendes. Daar is Afrikaans sprekendes in Nederland, of maak kontak met Afrikaans sprekendes op Skype. Gesprekke met Afrikaans sprekendes sal jou oor instel en jou help om die klank aan te voel. Eerlik, met ‘n senstiwiteit vir die uitspraak, sal jy vind die woordeskat en grammatika volg heel natuurlik.
     Spreekt uw Nederlands en Afrikaans? Dan verwelkom ek graag u bydraes aangaande algemene en belangrike verskille tussen die twee tale. Klik op die FEEDBACK skakel onderaan die pagina.

Skakels van Belang vir Nederlanders

Afrikaans-Nederlandse Woordelys 1
Afrikaans-Nederlandse Woordelys 2
Afrikaans-Nederlands-English Comparison
Afrikaans-Dutch Forum
Afrikaans-Dutch Written Forms
Afrikaans-Dutch Resources