I finally figured out how to get myself to read in other languages:  chicklit. books I’d probably be a little self-conscious to be seen reading in public in english.

I’ve tried reading in German before, of course, but always chose ‘literature’-  tried to read things by Hesse or Nietzche or the like and never got anywhere (it’s hard for us english-speakers to keep a 20 line sentence in active processing memory.)

but these books have english-length sentences.  and contemporary, useful vocabulary.

(yay for used bookstores with foreign language sections.)

I like having such a concrete measure for my learning.   When I started reading “Für Jede Lösung, ein Problem” each page took 5-10 minutes.  Now, halfway through, I probably read at about a quarter speed of my english reading.  (you know, that’s really an estimate.  maybe I should be more scientific.) I don’t look things up anymore, unless it’s a very specific noun vocabulary item.  And while much of the descriptive vocabulary is new, and I can only guess at, the story is very vivid, entertaining, and easy to follow.  It’s because, on some level, a bunch of the vocabulary has begun assimilation-  for example, while I probably couldn’t produce some word independently in speaking, I recognize its meaning sufficiently to read faster.

Our public library appears to have only literature level books in french, unfortunately, though after taking a look at them, I’m determined to find some chicklit-level french books. That’s the funny thing about romance languages.  One can read them without being able to speak.

(yeah, and nowhere near being able to read like that in arabic.  or thai.  the alphabet processing bit just slows everything down.)

Posted by:brook delorme

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