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Linguistics, Tips

Science Confirms: Alcohol Improves Your Speaking Skills In A Foreign Language

If there was a type of potion that would magically improve your foreign language skills, would you take it?

Turns out the answer had been right in front of us the whole time. Anyone who has ever learned a foreign language and then had a conversation in that language while under the influence of alcohol has probably thought “Damn, why was I so much better than I normally am?”

You weren’t the only one thinking that, and the hypothesis reached the academic community. Researchers from the University of Liverpool, Kings’s College in London and the University of Maastricht joined fores to prove what we had all long been suspecting – that alcohol actually does improve your speaking skills in a foreign language.

At the University of Maastricht they did a study with 50 native German students who were studying there and had recently begun learning the local language – Dutch.

All these students had recently passed a language exam to attest to their level of Dutch. Then the group was separated into two. One group got alcoholic beverages while the other were served a non-alcoholic variant.

The students were then asked to have a two minute conversation in Dutch with a native speaker. The conversations were recorded and the Dutch conversational partners were asked to give a score to the abilities of the student without knowing whether they had consumed alcohol or not.

Interestingly the alcohol had no effect on how the students themselves rated the conversation, but scored significantly better in the ratings given by their Dutch conversation partners. Especially on their pronunciation the native speakers gave much higher scores to those who had consumed alcohol in comparison to those who didn’t.

For all of us who feel a bit of fear and hesitation when speaking in a foreign language this is great news! Getting that glass of wine or beer can give you a little bit of ‘Dutch courage*’ (pun intended)

It should be noted that the research was only done with small amounts of alcohol that will help you get over the fear of making mistakes which might make your speech more fluent, but large amounts of alcohol will probably not improve your speaking abilities in any language.


*Dutch courage also happened to be the name of the study. 

How To Say

How To Say ‘Knock Knock’ in 35 Languages

We all know every language has their own words, but even sounds are described differently around the world!

Here is a list of 35 languages and how they translate the “knock knock” sound.


Albanian – “Tak Tak”

Arabic (Morocco) – “Dak Dak”

Arabic (Syria) – “Taq Taq” / “Taa Taa”

Bulgarian – ” чук чук” (“Chuk Chuk”)

Cantonese – 咯咯

Chinese – 扣扣

Czech – “ťuk ťuk”

Dutch – “Klop Klop”

English – “Knock Knock”

Finnish – “Kop Kop”

French – “Toc Toc”

Georgian – “Kak-Kuk”

German – “Klopf Klopf”

Hebrew – “Tuk Tuk”

Hungarian – “Kopp Kopp”

Indonesian – “Tok Tok Tok” (mostly said 3 times)

Xhosa (South Africa) – “Nqo nqo”

Zulu (South Africa) – “Koko”

Italian – “Toc Toc”

Korean – 똑똑똑 / “Ddok Ddok Ddok”

Lithuanian – “Tuk Tuk”

Mandarin –  “叩叩”

Norwegian – “Bank Bank”

Papiamento (Aruba) – “Tok Tok”

Persian – “Tagh tagh”

Polish – “Puk Puk”

Portuguese – “Toc Toc” / “Truz Truz”

Romanian – “Cioc cioc”

Russian – “тук тук” (Tuk Tuk)

Serbian – “Kuc Kuc”

Spanish – “Toc Toc”

Turkish –  “Tık tık”/ “Tak tak”

Urdu – “Khat Khat”

Venda (South Africa) – “Ndaa”

Vietnamese – “Cốc Cốc” *


*Fun fact; this is also the name of a popular search engine in Vietnam

Movies, Music, Resources, TV

The Ultimate Resource Guide For People Learning Dutch

Music // Muziek

classics //  klassiekers

This list is a compilation of some of the most famous songs in the Dutch music history from all genres.

The Dutch Classic Playlist

pop music // popmuziek 

Acda en de Munnik, Marco Borsato, Eefje de Visser, Miss Montreal, Ilse DeLange, Waylon, Dotan, Nielson,  Trijntje Oosterhuis, Mr. Probz, VanVelzen, Het Goede Doel, Nick en Simon, Fluitsma en van Tijn, Toontje Lager, Volumia, Jurk!, Veldhuis en Kemper, Maaike Ouboter

rock music // rockmuziek

Bløf, Racoon*, Golden Earring, Van Dik Hout, Anouk*, Doe Maar, De Poema’s, De Kast, De Dijk, Kensington *, Kane *,

dutch folk // nederlandse volksmuziek

Frans Bauer, André Hazes, De Toppers, Gerard Joling, Jan Smit,

hip hop // hip hop

Broederliefde, Lil Kleine, Gers Pardoel, De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, Mr. Polska, Ali B, Ronnie Flex, Kraantje Pappie, Willie Wartaal,

electronic music // elektronische muziek

Armin van Buren, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, DJ Tiësto,

Click here for a complete list of Dutch bands

Movies // Films

classics // klassiekers

Turks Fruit (1973), Zwartboek (2006), Alles is Liefde (2007), De Heineken Ontvoering (2011)

crime // misdaad

De Grote Zwaen (2015), Black (2015), Schone Handen (2015), Glückauf (2015), Undercover (2015), Littekens (2014), Wolf (2013), Plan C (2012), Black Out (2012), De Heineken Ontvoering (2011), Oom Henk (2012), De Overloper (2012), Taartman (2009), TBS (2008), De Dominee (2004), Van God los (2003), Lek (2000), De Inbreker (1972)

romantic comedy // romantische komedie

Alles is Liefde (2007), Mannenharten (2013), Liever Verliefd (2003), Het Schnitzelparadijs (2005), Alle Tijd (2011), Soof (2013), Hartenstraat (2014), De Surprise (2015), Ja ik wil (2015)

drama // drama

The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012), t’padashtun (2017), 100% coco (2017), Sprakeloos (2017), Broers (2017), Quality Time (2017), Riphagen (2017), Vind Die Domme Trut (2017), Vincent (2016), Home (2016), If The Sun Explodes (2016), Le Ciel Flamand (2016), Kappen! (2016), Layla M. (2016), Stop Acting Now (2016), De Zaak Menten (2016), De Maatschap (2016), The Paradise Suite (2015), Banana Pancakes and the Children of Sticky Rice (2015), Bloed, Zweet en Tranen (2015), Dans met de Duivel (2015), N: The Madness of Reason (2014), Aanmodderfakker (2014), Brozer (2014), Lucia de B. (2014), After the Tone (2014), Jongens (2014), Ramses (2014)

historic // historische films

Publieke Werken (2015), Michiel de Ruyter (2015), Hoe Duur Was de Suiker (2013), Kenau (2014), Nova Zembla (2011), Nynke (2001). Belle van Zuylen (1993), Heilige Jeanne (1978), Rembrandt fecit 1669 (1997)

Internationally Famous Celebrities

Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones, Valkyrie, Black book)

Famke Jansen (Blacklist, Taken, X-Men)

Rutger Hauer (Batman, Blade Runner, Sin City)

Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones, Black book, Age of Adeline)

Tv-Shows // TV Series

crime // misdaad

Suspects (2017 – now), Baantjer (1995 – 2006), Grijpstra en de Gier (2004 – 2007), Flikken Maastricht (2007 – now), Baas Boppe Baas (2004 – unknown), Moordvrouw (2012 – now),

drama // drama

Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden (1990 – now), Gooische Vrouwen (2005 – 2009), Medisch Centrum West (1988 – 1994), Nieuwe Buren (2014 – now), Divorce (2012 – 2016), Penoza (2010 – now), Van God Los (2011 – now), De Co-Assisent (2007 – 2010), Westenwind (1999 – 2003), Vuurzee (2005 – 2009), Verborgen Gebreken (2009 – now), Lijn 32 (2012), Suspects (2017 – now), Overspel (2011 – now),

comedy // komedie

Flodder (1993 – 1998), S1NGLE (2008 – 2010), Café de Wereld, Kees & Co (1996 – 2007), New Kids, Voetbalvrouwen (2007 – 2010), Schaep met de 5 Poten, Jiskefet, Shouf Shouf, Wat Als?, Zeg ‘Ns AA, Het Zonnetje in Huis, Iedereen is Gek op JackDivorce

Comedians // Cabaretiers

Najib Amhali, Theo Maassen, Thomas Acda, Javier Guzman, Paulien Cornelisse, Arjen Lubach,

Websites to watch shows

Uitzending Gemist, NPO (free), RTL XL (free),Videoland (paid)

Youtube Channels // Youtube Kanalen

beauty // beauty

Beautygloss, Nikkietutorials*, Lifesplash, Looks by Sharon, Pinky Polish, Today’s Beauty, Teskuh, Vera Camilla, Beautyill, Miss Lipgloss, By Aranka, Anna Nooshin

vlogging // vloggen

Monica Geuze, Enzo Knol, Furtjuh, Gewoon Thomas, Meisje Djamila

News // Nieuws

RTL Nieuws, NOS, De Volkskrant, De Telegraaf, NRC, NRC Next, Metro Nederland,

Algemeen Dagblad, Trouw, De Correspondent

Magazines // Tijdschriften

Click here for a complete list of magazines

Facebook Pages // Facebook Paginas

Here are some of the Facebook pages you can follow from the above mentioned news outlets, celebrities, etc

news // nieuws

RTL Nieuws, NOS, De Volkskrant, De Telegraaf, NRC, NRC Next, Metro Nederland, Algemeen Dagblad, Trouw, De Correspondent

satire // satire

De Speld, De Gladiool, Nieuwspaal

*in English

400 Word Guide, Resources

Learn Dutch in 400 Words

What if I told you 400 words is all it takes to survive in a language?

To express yourself in a foreign language is never easy, but by learning the most basic verbs, descriptive adjectives and nouns you can cover most daily interactions and have a head start when trying to learn this language.

At The Foreign Language Collective we have created a list of the 400 most basic words and have asked people in our community to translate them to their native language.

Together we have created multiple guides to help you communicate yourself in any language.

The main focus of this guide is communication. Grammatical perfection is something that takes time, but communicating is the basis of any language.

The idea is that these words can serve as your basic skill set from where you can build understandable and descriptive sentences to allow you to communicate yourself.

The guide is built from basic verbs and sentences, as well as nouns and adjectives that can help you describe things or people.

That is why we have included lots of words like “big” or “small”, “dark” and “light”, but also words like “more” and “less”.

From here you can describe things as “More big”, which may not be grammatically correct but it will in most cases be understood.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor why use many words when a few will do

You can also combine words like “Yesterday” and “Tomorrow” with your basic verbs, so you can say things like “I go tomorrow”, which in some languages is grammatically correct, in others it is not, but it will always be understood.

We are aware you can not become fluent with 400 words, but the idea is to give you a good base for you can communicate and understand the most basic things. From there on you can get the conversation going, ask questions and learn more.

Learning many words or grammatical often doesn’t make sense until you actually need it, so when the time is right you can move on and research the things you think are missing in your communication.

Whether you just want to cover the basics or continue learning this language until fluency, these 400 words are a great start for you.


Want to know more about our Language Survival Guide and the languages we offer them in? Make sure to check out our page and follow us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss any updates.



The 10 Most Relatable Dutch Expressions, And How To Use Them

1. Bakje troost (Little Cup of Comfort)

Because we all know we need that first cup of coffee in the morning to get us through the day, we don’t just say a cup of coffee, we call it a “little cup of comfort”.

“Doe mij maar een bakkie troost”


2. Kiplekker (Chickenyummy)

Do you ever wake up and just feel great? Us Dutch people don’t feel great, we feel “Lekker” (‘Yummy’ or “Delicious”), but when we feel really really good, we feel “kiplekker”, which translates to “chickendelicious” or “chickenyummy”.

“Ik voel me kiplekker vandaag”


If you want to know more about how to use the word “lekker”
click here check out “The Infinity of Lekker”


3. Ver-van-mijn-bed-show (Far-from-my-bed-show)

When something happens far from your world (literally of figuratively) we call it a “far-from-my-bed-show” or to put it differently,  a show that happens far away from your bed, outside of your little bubble.

4. Slok op een borrel (A gulp on a shot)

“Slok op een borrel” basically means it makes a lot of difference (often when talking about smaller things). The logic is probably that a gulp is not that much, but when it´s a gulp on a shot it is pretty much all there is, so a little gulp can still make a big difference.

Like when you get a big discount on something (and we all know how Dutch people like to be thrifty).

It is not only used for prices of things though, and can be loosely translated as just making a big difference.

“80% korting? Dat scheelt een slok op een borrel”

5. Maak dat de kat wijs (Make that the cat wise/ Try to make the cat believe it)

This is one of the most classic untranslatable expressions in Dutch. So much so that there is now a Facebook page with this name that posts funny literal Dutch translations.

The expression is used when people tell you something that isn’t very credible. The verb “wijsmaken” is to make someone believe something, so when someone tells you something ludicrous you tell them you aren’t believing any of it, and they can go to the cat and make them believe it.

“Heb jij ‘s morgens geen bakkie troost nodig? Maak dat de kat wijs!” 


6. Restanten van een losbandig leven (Remains of a loose life)

This one is not used that often but it is one of my personal favorites. “Resten van een losbandig leven” (remains of a licentious or wild life), like when you wake up the morning after your house party and see all the empty booze bottles laying on the floor.

But of course, as this is still a Dutch expression, it is mostly used ironically, so when you enter someone’s room and see empty cups of coffee because they have been working 24/7, you could comment on the remains of their wild and licentious life.

“Waarom liggen er allemaal lege Ben & Jerry verpakkingen op de vloer?”

“Sorry, dat zijn de resten van een losbandig leven” 

Restanten van een losbandig leven


7. Gebed zonder end (An endless prayer)

When something is expected to be a lot of trouble and work, we call it an “endless prayer”. It is often said when something is not even worth trying, or when something just doesn’t seem to have an end.

“President You-Know-Who is ook een gebed zonder end”



8. Mierenneuker (Ant fucker)

A nitpicker. People who make an elephant out of a mosquito (van een mug een olifant maken, translation: to make a mountain out of a molehill) will be referred to as a “Mierenneukers” or “Ant fuckers”, because they seem to care deeply about small things (which I guess means that is why they would want to have sexual intercourse with insects).

It can also be used as a verb (Mierenneuken).

“Je gaat nu toch niet lopen mierenneuken?”


9. Voor hetere vuren hebben gestaan (To have faced hotter fires)

Many Dutch expressions are meant to put your situation into perspective. This one is a classic example of that.

When you tell people you have faced hotter fires that means that you have coped with worse situations. I think this expression goes to the core of our Dutch Calvinistic spirit, which is “things may be bad, but they would always be worse”.

“Moet ik je even helpen?”
“Nee joh, ik heb wel voor hetere vuren gestaan.” 


10. Apenstaartje (Little Monkey Tail – @)

And last but not least, because of self-explanatory reasons we call the @ sign a ‘monkey’s tail´.

What has been seen can never be unseen.

Minority Languages

Did You Know the English Language Has A Secret Brother?

You may want to sit down for this because you are about to find out your Germanic mother gave birth to another language. That’s right. In the north of the Netherlands there is a province called Friesland, and the language they speak bears an uncanny resemblance to English.

Map of UK + Ireland, the Netherlands and Friesland

If you are confused right now, you are probably not the only one. Not many people outside of the Netherlands know of this language, and in fact even within the Netherlands people often think Frisian is merely a dialect. For those of you who still think that, let me help you right here with this Germanic language family tree.


As you can see both English and Frisian are actually part of the Anglo-Frisian branch, whereas Dutch stems from Old Low Franconian. Generally people already consider Swedish, Danish, German and Dutch to be somewhat similar to English, but ‘genetically´ Frisian is the closest language to English. The influence of French on English and Dutch on Frisian might make these similarities harder to see, but we all know you can’t forget your roots.

When we compare certain words and word categories in English, Frisian, Dutch and German we can see how close the two languages really are, especially when we take a look at the pronunciation.

For example the word “cheese”. In Dutch it translates to “kaas” and in German to “Kãse”, which is all similar enough. The Frisian version however is “tsiis’, which on paper just looks like something typed by your cat when he walks across your keyboard, but when you consider the pronunciation of the double I is almost identical to the English double E, whereas both Dutch and German chosen a completely different vowel for this word.

Not only that, but in many other words where English has the “Ch” pronunciation, the Frisians have kept very similar phonetics (only they attach different letters to them).

Another set of examples of words where the Frisians have stuck to the English phonetics is in words like “sleep”  or “sheep”. The Frisian “IE” is identical to the “II” sound, which as mentioned before is like the English “EE”,  while for some reason both Dutch and German have both gone with an “A” sound in these words.


But the similarities don’t stop there. When you look at the English words like “Way” and “Day”, where the “Y” has been switched for a “G” in Dutch and German, in Frisian they have kept the “I” sound, and though it is written with an “e”, the “EI” sound in Frisian is comparable to the “YE” or “IE” in “dye” or “die”.


And last but not least, an “N” before a ‘voiceless fricative’ (meaning an “S”, “F’ or “TH”) can be found in Dutch and German, but is largely lost in English and Frisian.

Interestingly, though Frisian is still widely spoken in Frisian households the education is generally in Dutch. This means that when people in Friesland learn English it will most likely be taught in English, which means many Frisians don’t make the connections between English and their native language (and I say this from experience).

So now you know that Friesland is not only the province with the coolest flag (see Exhibit A) with it’s famous pompeblêdden (not hearts), but also that one province that speaks a language that is ridiculously close to English.

If you are interested in learning minority languages such as Frisian, try your luck with the Memrise App.


Bonus, the Frisian word for “this” is “dizze”, only proving my original hypothesis that Frisians are the real OG’s

Exhibit A




The Infinity of “Lekker”

For anyone who has spent a certain amount of time in the Netherlands or around Dutch people this won`t be the first time you have heard of the concept of `lekker´. Yet the translation of this word has always been a bit of a problem. Literally it means `tasty` and originally it was used in the context of food. However, the Dutch thought ¨Why should it have only one meaning, when it can mean so much more?¨.

And that is how the infinite universe of the ´L´ word  was founded, or at least that is what they say. Nowadays you shouldn`t be surprised to hear things like  ¨…lekker fietsen…¨ (tasty cycling) or ¨…lekker weertje¨ (tasty weather). In this context the word  can roughly be translated to `nice` or `agradable`. Something pleasant.

You can extend this meaning to basically any verb, even eating. When a Dutch person says ¨Lekker uit eten¨ (Tasty out for dinner) they are actually not referring to the food being tasty, but more the action of going out for dinner being something nice. `Lekker slapen´ (to sleep tastefully) or `Slaap lekker´ (Sleep tasty = sleep well) might be the most famous examples of the combination `Lekker + verb`.

`Lekker` can also be used when referring to people, which basically means someone is hot. ¨Meisje, je ziet er lekker uit¨ (Girl, you look tasty). (Warning: the use of this sentence or the use of lekker when referring to people is at own risk as it would be completely justified for a girl to punch you in the face after you have said this to her).

When among friends it`s safe to talk about someone else being hot and refer to that person as a tasty thing (´lekkerding´)

Lekker can also add a sarcastic tone to what you are saying. ¨Lekker belangrijk¨ (tasty important or nicely important?) is basically the Dutch way of saying ¨Nobody cares¨.

“Nobody Cares” in Dutch

When you want someone to go away you could say something like ¨Ga toch lekker ….¨ (Just go and tastefully  (insert verb) ) which is a way of saying ¨fuck off¨.
The phrase ´Lekker is dat´ (tasty is that) falls into this category aswell, which is  basically the sarcastic cousin of the phrase ¨Oh that´s nice!¨

¨I finally decided to waste 20 euros on an umbrella and then it stopped raining!¨ 
¨Lekker is dat¨ 

If someone is messing something up and you want to say something really Dutch, tell them they are ¨lekker bezig¨ (tastefully busy), yet another form of being `tastefully busy` can be used in a work environement when people (like for example your boss) ask you how things are going ¨Ja, lekker. Lekker druk.¨

What I probably like most about the word ´lekker´ is how much it reflects upon the Dutch culture. Dutch are very humble when it comes to expressing something nice. ´Lekker´ is not super-awesomely epic. It´s not the most euphoric feeling in the world, but it is good, it´s nice and most of all, it´s enough and many times it expresses the exact feeling you have without having to exaggerate it to make people believe you actually had a nice experience.

What funny uses of the word ´lekker´ have you foud? Leave a comment! 


Other examples of uses the word ´lekker´

“Landing tastily” at Schiphol Airport



Just do ´tastefully sustainable´ and everything will be alright



You have to tastefully continue like this (you have to keep going like this way)


Beautiful story, tastefully short (nice that it´s short)



“I am not sitting tasty in my skin” means I am not feeling well