Thursday, 21 April 2016

Discussion: Reading in Other Languages

Hello wonderful readers!

Reading is a way of making language learning even more fun that it (in my opinion) already is. It can introduce you to vocab which you wouldn't otherwise come across, and can really help your own grammar use. Not only this, but there's something about reading a book in its original language.
But it isn't without its difficulties. Reading in another language can often require a great amount of concentration, which can quickly suck out all the fun. It's extremely easy to get caught up on individual words, or in the case of German the tiny two letter particles that can change a word's meaning dramatically. The amount of work can sometimes seem a bit much, and if you're anything like me, it's easy to just give up and move onto a book in your native language.

Better proficiency isn't just the only benefit of reading in different languages, though. If you're a book blogger or bookstagrammer, reading outside your native language automatically increases your audience, meaning there are more people for you to discuss books with - which after all, is the aim. Recently, I've made more of an effort to seek our German bloggers/bookstagrammers, and it's been great chatting to them in their own language (even though, and let's be honest, their English is MUCH better than my German). Going back to language skills again, following people who speak your target language not only gives you the chance to read their posts about books you may not have found yourself, but also exposes you to the conversational and casual language that people actually use, rather than the strictly grammatical and formal type you learn in school.


In general, my tips for reading in other languages would be:
  1. Choose books you would want to read in your native language anyway - even if they're translations from your native language to the target one. I made the mistake of wanting to jump straight into pure German literature, but I should probably have started with something that was already familiar.
  2. Don't look up every word in a dictionary. It's so tempting to do this but it takes a long time and can take the fun out reading. I find it's always best to try not to look up anything at all, and let the words wash over you (as cliché as that sounds). You can usually pick up what's going on anyway from the rest of the text. I wouldn't look up any words unless they are really stopping you from understanding the text.
  3. Keep a notebook of vocab nearby. Although I've warned against getting hung up on every word, there's no doubt that reading is fantastic for vocab learning. Keeping a notebook nearby allows you to jot down any words that you want to look up later. This process helps me actually learn the words as well, because I see them being used in context and then writing them down makes me remember them.
My favourite German book bloggers/bookstagrammers who post in German either on Instagram or their blogs are:
If you have any other recommendations please comment below, I would love to hear them!

What are the problems you face when reading in other languages? And what tips would you recommend to someone who wants to read in other languages?

I hope the rest of your weeks go well, and love to you all, 
Zoe