How many words do you know?

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One of the things about continuing to life in a different country is that I’m actively looking for new words. The children at school have activities in order to increase their vocabulary. But I need to work to keep developing mine, otherwise it’s too easy to stick to what you know.

One of the ways I do that is by reading in Dutch. I have a library card and I regularly get books out, mostly in Dutch. I read YA books, as that’s about the level of my understanding. Regular fiction is still a step out of reach and I need to really work at it. So I’m sticking with YA for now. Which is helpful as I’m writing YA so it’s good to read what’s out there already.

Rocket boy really enjoys testing me whenever they get a series of new words in his class. So far I’ve known most of them. I also ask people if they use a word I’m not sure about. Sometimes this means that the conversation flips to English, which can be frustrating when it was just that one word which I didn’t know.

I do find that my vocabulary is oddly balanced. Because of the children I’m good at colours and animals and trucks, but I know if I went back into to work I would be missing so many words that I’d need. I can’t expect my Dutch vocabulary to be as expansive as my English, and yet I still get frustrated when I don’t know what the word is I want to use. Which is why I’m still working on it. Slowly but surely!


  1. Most of my adult life, I’ve had the goal of learning a second language (I chose Spanish). Most of my adult life, I’ve procrastinated about this, and therefore have made very little progress. Recently I’ve been experimenting with different learning strategies. I stumbled upon one you mention: while visiting my cousin and her new baby, she had recorded some Disney shows. Something to do with Mickey and the gang. And there was an option to enjoy it in Spanish. This is perfect for me at an infant level in the learning process. Maybe this time it will stick!

    • Yes, children’s tv programmes are a great start. We moved to the Netherlands, which is why I’m learning Dutch. Though it seems to be displacing the French and Spanish I learnt at school!

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