If you can master a combination of some basic English, German and a guttural noise akin to clearing your throat, then you’ve taken your first steps to learning Dutch.
With this in mind, you will also need some patient tuition, but in the absence of that, you could do a lot worse than Complete Dutch and the two accompanying CDs.
It covers a range of topics that most people new to these shores will find useful and chapters are set out in an easy to read format that include a mixture of dialogue, grammar, vocabulary, short tests and useful information.
It’s so reader friendly that you will find yourself getting the gist of the lingo quite quickly especially in the first section which is all about greeting people and introducing yourself.
Later chapters include learning to speak in the past tense and discussing your emotional and physical state as well as making and receiving simple telephone calls.
As you sit and read through the book you can listen to the CD of people acting out the dialogues, bringing the accent to life and providing perfect examples of how Dutch should sound.
And herein lies the rub because although the language itself is not overly complicated, the pronunciation of any word with one or more gs in it will have you sweating with vocal exhaustion – as anyone who has ever tried to say Gefeliciteerd! quickly, and for the first time, will know.
Complete Dutch is supposedly for beginners with no previous language experience, but anyone who falls entirely into this bracket might find it intimidating as it romps along heartily from the beginning.
Having said that, it’s an excellent language guide and certainly worth investing in if you are serious about learning to conquer this gloriously throaty vernacular.