On Acquiring – Instead of Learning – Dutch

IT’S been a long time since I began studying something new and unusual. And because I don’t want to study things for random reasons, I picked Dutch as my second foreign language to acquire.

Why ‘acquire’, instead of ‘study’?

Because as a language learner, I believe strongly that language acquisition is much better than a mere language study. Someone doesn’t acquire a language for grades or points or diplomas. But one who studies usually does wish to achieve a certain score or a passing grade. In other words, one studies for academic or economic or career reasons. Language acquirers don’t study for grades. They study and immerse themselves further in a language they’re trying to acquire.

Also, language acquisition emphasizes more on the experience aspect than theories. It’s more natural because one needs to experience it everytime. So one may acquire a foreign language in places other than classrooms or language labs. Any places that enable him or her to experience as a language user are the classroom.

Despite that, attending a formal class or taking a face-to-face course is still required. This is particularly essential when it comes to validation of your language acquisition results. Such verification is ideally granted by a certain institution with undoubted reputation and unwavering credibility.

Why I learn Dutch?

On this query, I almost never knew how to answer it correctly. Yet, some days ago I stumbled upon Peter Carey’s foreword in his book “Inggris di Jawa” (Britain in Java). There he mentioned on how grateful he was when he found a translator with a full grasp of Javanese history, English, Dutch, Javanese and obviously Indonesian. Carey mentioned how rapidly the number of proficient translators with this unique set of competencies. So that was my ‘aha moment’, indeed.

This is funny as I usually start to pick something to learn first before I find the reason why I learned it. It just occured naturally. I mean the attraction. That’s what I normally apply to myself as a student of life. I don’t study things because I want to get an A or others’ praise (well, that may hold true a little) but just for a sheer fondness with inexplicable grounds. This also what happened to me when I first began studying English and yoga. I feel like it’s never happy and satisfactory to study for the sake of academic success indicated by a diploma or certificate. I must reach something more or beyond that: my personal satisfaction and love. As selfish as it may seem, I think that’s exactly what makes me relentless and persevere all the way when other students choose to quit or give up when the learning curve is going steeper and steeper. After acquiring, the process is not over yet. One still has to diligently maintain his or her language proficiency every time, every occasion s/he has chances. Or else, just like a knife, the proficiency turns rusty from time to time from being unused. (*)


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