Dutch or German which is easier to learn? - Flowently (2024)

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Dutch and German? Both languages may sound similar to the untrained ear and even appear alike when written down. However, when it comes to learning these languages, you might be wondering which one is easier to learn. In this article, we’ll explore the question of “Dutch or German which is easier?” and provide insights to help you decide which language to learn.

The rules of grammar

Learning to make yourself understood in Dutch or German is one thing, but when it comes to the writing, there is no getting around it – German is hellishly tricky. They have rules, many rules. And there are exceptions to those rules. Many exceptions! Take the simple, often-used word THE. In English, this is the most commonly used function word. (Function words are those short words such as in, the, and of, that help to build sentences). It is used on average 5 times in every 100 words. Let’s take a look at THE in German, and you will see what I mean!

The German language has three genders (masculine, feminine and neutral) and four cases (nominative, accusative, dative and genitive). That means that in German, THE can become DER, DIE, DAS, DEN, DEM, and DES. And when you use plural words, you still have three different options to choose from.

In Dutch, use of THE is a lot easier. Dutch only knows THE as DE or HET when used for singular words, and once they are pluralised, everything is DE. Having said that, non-native speakers do have to get used to the DE/HET scenario, as it is not always obvious, and rules don’t seem to work too well here.

What did you say?

So although hardly anyone will argue that Dutch is grammatically easier to learn than German, this does not make Dutch a doddle. The language has evolved more than many, foreign words are often, but not always, adopted, and for such a small country there are definitely more regional accents and sayings than is comfortable. One province, Friesland, only inhabited by some 650,000 people, even has its own language, West Frisian!

But don’t let that deter you – if you would like to learn to speak Dutch, it is apparently up there with the easier options, especially for English speaking people. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State has compiled a list of languages easiest to learn for English speaking people and Dutch is ranked in the easiest category: Category I: Languages closely related to English, 23–24 weeks / 575–600 study hours.German, on the other hand, is much further down the list and requires, according to the FSI, a minimum of 30 weeks / 750 study hours to learn.

Should I Learn Dutch or German?

When it comes to deciding whether to learn Dutch or German, there are a few factors to consider. If you’re looking for a language that’s relatively easy to learn and closely related to English, Dutch is a great option. It’s also a useful language to know if you plan to work or study in the Netherlands or Belgium.

However, if you’re up for a challenge and interested in learning a language with a rich cultural history and a lot of speakers worldwide, German might be the right choice for you. It’s also the official language of several countries, including Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

Both Dutch and German have their challenges, but Dutch is generally considered easier to learn than German. However, your decision should ultimately be based on your goals and interests. Consider factors such as job opportunities, travel plans, and personal interests before choosing which language to learn. Whichever language you choose, be sure to enjoy the learning journey and have fun with it!

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Explore the great live language options available for learning Dutch (or German!) through Flowently– you’ll be glad you did!

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Dutch or German which is easier to learn? - Flowently (2024)


Dutch or German which is easier to learn? - Flowently? ›

It's also the official language of several countries, including Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Both Dutch and German have their challenges, but Dutch is generally considered easier to learn than German.

Is Dutch easier to learn than German? ›

Dutch grammar is easier than German

One of the biggest differences between Dutch and German is in the definite articles. In German there are three, whereas Dutch has two.

What is the hardest thing about learning Dutch? ›

There are several challenges to consider when asking if Dutch is hard to learn? Dutch has a unique sound system, including vowel sounds and guttural consonants, which may be unfamiliar to English speakers. The grammar can be complex, with various verb forms and word order rules.

How hard is it to learn Dutch fluently? ›

Dutch is generally considered a moderately challenging language for English speakers to learn, but its difficulty can vary depending on individual factors and your language-learning experience.

Is German relatively easy to learn? ›

About 40% of German and English vocabulary are very similar to each other, which makes German one of the easiest languages to learn for native English speakers. So, basically, if you already know English, it should be a piece of cake for you to learn German.

How long does it take to learn Dutch fluently? ›

With regular daily practice, this milestone falls well within a 12–24 month timeframe. Similarly, the United States Foreign Service Institute suggests 600 hours of classroom time is needed for fluency.

What is more difficult, German or Dutch? ›

When it comes to grammar, Dutch is easier. German grammar is hard it has many rules, and is even hard for native German speakers to write correctly.

Is Dutch or French easier to learn? ›

For English-speakers with no background in either language, Dutch will be easier to learn than French. Because Dutch has Germanic roots, like English, it will come easier to English speakers. That said, if you have background in a romance language (like Spanish or Italian), French may actually be easier to learn.

Why would anyone learn Dutch? ›

Learning the language will give you an insider's view of the culture; for example, it will become clear why Dutch people can sometimes come across as rude when they speak English. The Dutch prefer a direct style of communication, and a literal translation in that style can often seem very blunt to a foreigner.

What is the quickest way to learn Dutch? ›

The Fastest Ways to Learn to Speak Dutch. Immerse Yourself: Immersion is a potent technique for learning any language rapidly. Surround yourself with the Dutch language as much as possible. Watch Dutch TV shows, movies, and listen to Dutch music.

Why is Dutch so easy to learn? ›

English students frequently say to me that Dutch is the easiest language to learn. It makes sense because Dutch is part of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages, just like English. And if you compare it to another language of that family, German, it's much easier.

Can I learn Dutch by myself? ›

You can definitely learn to speak great Dutch by yourself. However, if you've never done it before then you'll also be learning how to teach yourself at the same time! Get exposure to the language, listen, read about grammar, ask for feedback and practise as much as you can!

Am I too old to learn German? ›

There I met many people, speaking several foreign languages, who told me stories about how they had learned a new language in their 40s, 50s and beyond. The conclusion then came to me all by itself. The answer to the question “Can you learn English or any other language at any age?” is: definitely yes!

How long does it realistically take to learn German? ›

The FSI estimates that German takes approximately 30 weeks, or 750 classroom hours to learn. This study was conducted on a group of language students who spent 25 hours per week in class, and three hours daily on individual practice.

What is the easiest language in the world? ›

For many, Esperanto is the easiest language in the world and considered a stepping stone for learning other ones. While no country has adopted Esperanto as an official language, it's been widely supported by the European Union and organizations like PEN International.

Is Dutch the easiest language to learn? ›

Dutch has even been described as a combination of the English and German languages! This makes it one of the easiest languages to learn for speakers of either language. That said, learning Dutch will take some time and effort, no matter what your native language is.

Can a German understand a Dutch person? ›

Although Dutch and German are related, it is very difficult for speakers of the two languages to understand each other.

Is Dutch one of the easiest languages to learn? ›

How hard is it to learn? Dutch is probably the easiest language to learn for English speakers as it positions itself somewhere between German and English. For example, you may know that German has three articles: der, die and das, and English only one: the.

How long does it take to learn Dutch as a German? ›

If you're highly motivated and have high-quality resources, you might be able to become proficient in fewer than 600 hours. If you're learning part-time and don't have access to high-quality resources or native speakers, it might take you closer to 750 hours or more.


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