Welcome to the brain-melting time with @littlenewthings …
I always love to learn new things, and from my Steemit ID you would have known for the fact that it is my ultimate goal to learn new things everyday if possible.
And one of my bucket list is to always (try to) master at least a language outside my country’s usual dominant languages, which is English, Malay and Mandarin (for my case) because part of my dream is still be able to travel the world and keep meeting new people (if possible).
But often times, being overly multi-tasking has pretty much drained my attention span and a dream has become a habitual excuse for my procrastinated laziness.
Until I spotted a Buzzfeed Video: A Japanese Technique to Overcome Laziness has caught my attention when it popped up on YouTube some time back.
Not wanting my brain to easily drift to something else and kept finding excuses for being a slug, I decided to take a challenge to kick my butt to stay focus on something that could eventually build more sustaining habits in the long run.
No… freewrite can’t do as I kept losing ideas what to write lol… Kudos to @elizacheng who is still very persevering… so I took an easier path
Learning a language that constantly melt my brain: Dutch
Don’t ask me why… I have no idea how this happens. I could easily identify German, French and Japanese because there are certain similar vocabulary exists in the Malaysian languages (one way or another) even without going through a vigorous course like Greek / Hebrew (which I kind of lost quite a bit along the way); but Dutch: this is one language that I just have an owl head spin whenever I try to learn to pick up words along the way. Maybe it is the speed they speak, or maybe, my brain is just unable to click.
So making this language as the hardest challenge I can pick up and also to kick my laziness aside, I took the opportunity to try out the language app @bluewaffle recommended 2 months ago at his post – Language Barriers – Duo Lingo to see if I can pick up this language much better with the baby step habitual re-programming technique by the video Buzz feed shared: practice 5 minutes a day.
And the great part about this app is that it will nag you from notifications to emails, just to practice your picked up language; not to mention their reward challenges…
But today this post is not talking about the app, this is talking about the language that drives me nuts – at the definite article The where there are two: het and de
And it is really frustrating when you think you chose the right one, you get this…
Why the heck do Dutch put two so distinct words to represent the same thing??
(Because for French it is closer between le and la)
Answer probably lies on gender noun.
So according to learnpractice.com, regardless of the direct meaning of the noun, like woman , each noun has their gender identity and it is very much effected when it is referring to singular nouns (all plural nouns use de definite article: so this eliminates a whole lot of confusion)
So for singular human identification of male and female adults, the definite article refers directly to its gender, masculine or feminine, and de is used to pair with it.
Hence you have De man and De vrouw without hesitation.
(I am writing without google translator – yay!)
But when you come to referring to a kid, which can be referring to either gender, this noun falls on gender neuter (think of it as neutral), and het definite article comes into the picture.
(Now we know where the word “kindergarten” is derived from!)
BUT! A boy (jongen) and a girl (meisje) are two totally different gender noun representation. A boy though is a minor (child) could still use de as the definite article but because a girl usually refers to small like a little child, “the” definite article ended up with het instead.
And then comes the more confusing part: Objects with masculine / feminine or neuter gender references.
Like apple and bread.
These two nouns are totally different (well as the app has pointed) in gender; while the apple seemed to have a masculine / feminine definite gender noun, bread got stuck with neuter (maybe it is because it is made of different ingredients besides wheat?)
And so, I kept getting error between de appel, het brood and het sap (the apple, the bread and the juice… don’t ask me why a juice in English sounded like a “soup” in Dutch… I am still melting here)
In the end, you just got to memorise first and try to understand later.
(I think my significant other will have a field day reading this…)
So to those who has been whining about how hard English can be, try Dutch as starters. I can guarantee you will literally repent (change your mind) from your old point of views!
And to make the challenge worse?
omg… @littlenewthings, what else can it be more challenging than getting yourself confused in a foreign language?
Since I am already taking one foreign language, I might as well pick up another from the far East: Korean
Let’s see which language could last longer in my brain. haha…