Dutch B1 – how many hours? Many factors influence the time that it will take to learn Dutch. Your native language, your daily contact with Dutch, and the method are the three most important ones. In this post, we explain why.
Before you start: Language Levels CEFR tells you what A2 and B1 stand for.
Estimated reading time 8 minutes
Margreet Kwakernaak, author of Dutch for Dummies and 7 other Dutch textbooks
First: your native language
The first factor that influences how long it will take to reach Dutch B1 is your native language.
If your mother tongue is German, you’ll learn Dutch NT2 with amazing speed. Dutch and German are like brother and sister- they resemble each other. On the other hand, those resemblances may confuse you. ‘False friends’ is the name for words that look alike, but have different meanings in the other language. In Dutch: ‘ik mag zwemmen’ means ‘I am allowed to swim’, whereas in German ‘Ich mag schwimmen’ means ‘I like swimming.
Do you know English? Well, that helps to learn Dutch! English belongs to the group of Germanic languages as well: Danish, Scottish, South African, Norwegian, and Swedish are the other members of the family. But, if you speak English more often than Dutch, word order in the Dutch sentence is hard to learn – it is completely different from the English one. In addition, South Africans have hard work learning Dutch verbs – the Dutch change all the forms of the verbs, whilst the South Africans do not.
Dutch B1 – how many hours? The languages that are the furthest from Dutch
Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese come first: speakers of these languages have to count on more than double the number of hours, compared to English and German speakers.
Greek and Turkish natives come second – they need 25% more time than English native speakers.
Third, speakers of French, Italian, and Spanish need 20% more time than English and German speakers.
These outcomes show that the more your mother’s tongue differs from the language you want to learn, the harder you have to work to learn that language.
Second: your exposure to Dutch speeds up learning
The second factor that influences language learning speed, is exposure to a new language.
Whether you do an intensive course, work in Dutch, or independently study Dutch: daily contact with Dutch keeps your brain busy. The more you are actively using the language, the sooner the words migrate from your short-term memory to long-term memory. Once they arrived in long-term memory, they’ll stay there,
For how long? That depends on the use you make of them. ‘Use it or lose it’ applies to all skills. Read more in How to remember words, the seven steps
For instance, think of sportsmen and musicians – they have to train every day – not only to get better but also to maintain their skills.
For now, back to language learning. What comes in by drops, like small bits of new language once a week, will enter your short memory, but, the learned things disappear before the seven days are over – unless you repeat them during the week. Let’s look at a second example. Do you remember the weekly classes at school? A week later, the teacher had to start class by repeating the stuff of the week before. Repeating in class is good for the teacher’s wallet, not yours if you do pay for your lessons yourself!
Class twice a week is more effective, together with learning for 45 – 60 minutes per day. Be it by listening to native speakers, watching tv, or studying with e-learning or a textbook – whenever you make your brains work on a new language, new things will transfer from short-term memory to long-term memory.
For how long? That depends on how much you use the new language.
The Internet and tv are your best friends
At his point many of you say: I cannot influence that, because: ‘I don’t live in the Netherlands’ – ‘my work is in English’ or ‘ Dutchmen switch to English when I try to talk Dutch’.
Yes, all of this may happen, however, the internet and tv offer as much exposure to Dutch as you want. Using those resources to both have fun and learn, is part of your exposure to the language.
Read more about this in Word learning: make it part of your daily life
Dutch B1 – how many hours? Method comes third
However, learning a language all by yourself is the longest way of all to reach Dutch B1. Only when you are under 20 and at least 12 hours per day immersed in the new language, you may learn fast without guidance.
For example, think of your childhood. How long did it take before you talked in your mother tongue correctly? How many years did the native language classes last? Children need 5-6 years to master the 5000 words belonging to the B1 domain – and when at home two or more languages are spoken, it may take longer. Read more about level B1 in Dutch B1, The Main Points
Required hours to reach level Dutch B1 with Suitcase talen Delft method modules
Suitcase talen went online and switched to the Delft method in September 2020. The Delft method is based on e-learning with conversation classes. Especially in the beginning, communication is more important than correctness. Grammar rules are reduced to an indispensable minimum, and what has been learned with e-learning is practiced in online group conversations.
Highly educated people have the best results with the Delft method: it requires study skills and discipline.
Reaching level A2 with the Delft method, starting from 0, requires 27 class hours (online conversation). Study time at home with e-learning: 40×4=160. In total, 187 hours during 20 weeks. Your Delft method A2 level, especially in speaking, is at a higher level than after a traditional course.
Level A2- B1: class hours (online conversation): 27 hours. Study time at home with the e-learning: 40x 6=240. In total, 267 hours during 20 weeks. After that, your Delft method B1 is higher than at the end of a traditional course, especially when it comes to speaking skills.
Resuming: going from level 0 to level B1 with the Delft method requires 454 hours and 40 weeks. After you have worked through all the Delft method B1 materials your end level is even higher than B1: you are on your way to level B2.
- It depends on your native language and how many hours you need to learn Dutch
- The less English you know, the harder it is to learn Dutch
- You learn faster if you are in contact with a new language every day
- The learning method also determines how quickly you learn to speak Dutch. It’s slowest when you study on your own without talking to anybody
- With the Delft method together with conversation lessons, you reach Dutch B1 in 454 hours
The Delft method at Suitcase talen
Above all, the e-learning and online conversation classes offer a lot of flexibility – some students fully participate from abroad, others temporarily. They join the class even when they travel for work or visit their parents. The absence of class is a rare phenomenon among online students!
However, the numbers in this blog don’t consider any obstacles in your path. Yet, the mentioned number of hours is not invented – they are from practice. I have been teaching traditional courses most of my life, but after I switched to the Delft method, the speaking results are much better. In a year the students can reach target B1!
Of course, some students fail to learn Dutch so quickly. Either the method is too speedy, or they don’t like the method. Some of them cannot combine it with work obligations. Other students need one or two breaks for personal reasons. The modular system, unique for Suitcase talen, offers that flexibility. We start new courses every five weeks.
Are you still unsure whether the Delft method is for you? Read the testimonial The Delft method is fast or take part in your first module of 5 weeks. After that, you’ll know. Read all practical information in Courses. To know in which module to start, please use the Contact form, mentioning
- whether you speak some Dutch and how you learned that
- your actual situation
- your target