Fiction or Non-Fiction?

I do not see this question discussed very often on language learning forums.

What do you find to be more useful as language input; fiction (novels, plays, short stories etc) or non fiction?

It depends on your interests. The more interesting you find the content the more you’ll like it, and the more likely it is that you’ll continue studying it.

1 Like

I really agree.

Recently I have gotten addicted to Maigret novels, so I read as much of them as I can. The problem is that the vocabulary is quite old, and I’d imagine many of the words that are new to me are rarely ever used in daily conversations.

I’ve been trying to fill the gaps with the French versions of the “For Dummies” series. I’ve found that by the end of one I’ve learned much of the vocabulary necessary for a basic conversation on that particular subject.

1 Like

I love the Maigrets, a couple of years ago I was looking on craigslist for some French reading and I found a guy in town who was looking to get rid of two wine boxes full of them for next to nothing. I’ve got a whole bookshelf row of old Maigrets editions now, and I’ve read about a third of them. I would definitely recommend them for someone looking for their first adult French novel, and for anyone just for pleasure.

I also found a French Dummies book, ‘Le français correct pour les nuls’ a few months ago, and I’m slowly working my way through it. While there are definitely lots of interesting bits of information in it, on the whole I can’t say I’m particularly enjoying it. Once the novelty of being able to understand grammar concepts written in French wore off, all that remained was fairly mind-numbing grammar, just as instantly forgettable as anything I read in English.

As for your original question, I try to read an even amount of fiction and non-fiction, and have both on the go at the same time. Actually I don’t really try, I do it because I’ve always enjoyed reading both in my native language. For the same reason I haven’t read a lot of French plays, mainly because I’ve never really been fond of reading them in English.

Haha, you Canadians are lucky. Most I was able to find was a French translation of “Twilight” at the local used bookstore. No I did not buy it =p

I actually found a torrent with about four dozen Maigret E-Books. Its great how I can just import them straight into lingq.

I’ve done the same with a couple “pour les Nuls” that I’ve found online, too. I have not read any grammar or language instruction editions, but the ones that I have read I don’t regret reading. I have a history of Belgium that I downloaded I need to get around to reading. Someday I know understanding that country’s history will come in handy… somehow…

I don’t regret reading ‘pour les nuls,’ and I know I’m learning something, and that the feeling of forgetting everything immediately is mostly an illusion…

If you could stomach it, I’d bet reading a Twilight book in French from cover to cover would do you no harm (at least not with your language learning :slight_smile: I once knew someone French who read a Twilight in English from cover to cover, and they improved (although it took them roughly nine months to finish it)

While I’m sure it’s definitely easier to find French literature at bargain prices up here, I often find that the American Amazon often has a lot of French books unavailable on the Canadian site, or they are able to ship them much faster (next day shipping as opposed to ‘one to two months’)

I saw a pretty good French Canadian/Belgium movie the other week, it was called ‘Congorama.’ I could definitely understand the Belgian French more than the Canadian, no contest.

I’m definetly going to check that movie out. I’ve seen a few Canadian bilingual movies taking place in Quebec, and its interesting seeing English and French used basically side by side. I can generally understand Canadian French, but there are certain Quebeker stand up comics who use some word play that I can’t get my head around. In my mind seperating Belgian French and French French is a bit like seperating the two main North American English dialects (proper US English and proper Canadian). There are a few peculiarities between the two that make a difference, but nothing big.

Yeah, aside from one part where the Belgian main character played by Olivier Gourmet says ‘septante-neuf,’ I don’t recall anything else jumping out at me, not really even his accent. (I’ve heard stranger French accents in movies from France) I’m hoping to watch it again in a year, and see if I can recognize more Belgian peculiarities. Although since the movie was written and directed by a French Canadian, there might not actually be too many.

I’ve been thinking for a while that it might be a good idea to start counting in tens, and ignore the basque influence on French in that regard (Basque counts all numbers in 20s). I would just tell people I speak Belgian French!

@djvlbass where did you find all of those E-books I’m interested in trying to read them one day.

I get most of my French downloads from

Obviously, if you are new to torrent sites, I’d reccomend you take care to scan the files before downloading, and overall to proceed at your own risk.