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Dutch: An Essential Grammar (2007)

Dutch: An Essential Grammar

Author(s): William Z. Shetter, Esther Ham

Series: Essential Grammars

Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2007

ISBN: 9780415423076,0203935713

I recently began studying Dutch in order to communicate better with my Dutch boyfriend, and so I thought this book would be a nice supplement to Stern’s short but informative “Essential Dutch Grammar.” The book is nicely organized for the complete beginner, starting with a pronunciation section (which actually is pretty vague), then moving into spelling rules and how to form plural nouns, before even getting to sentence structure and verb conjugation. So it is a nice thing to look at if you have never encountered Dutch before.

BUT! This book is loaded with spelling errors that I, with my vocabulary of maybe 50 Dutch words, was able to spot immediately. For example, in a vocabulary list illustrating the spelling rules, it says the Dutch word for reason is “redden”. NO it isn’t, it’s “reden” with only one D. The very next page says the singular AND plural for bicycle is “fietsen”, when actually the singular is “fiets” and the just the plural is “fietsen”. The scary thing is that those are just the two that I noticed, who knows how many more mistakes there are. They might just be small spelling mistakes, but when you are learning a new language and your study guide has these kinds of errors, it makes you wonder what else is wrong.

Fortunately, though, the rules in general seem to be true, when compared with what Stern’s “Grammar” says, so I would still give this book a shot, because it does give a lot of examples of each grammar rule. Just don’t use it for a vocabulary source.