Language Reading Advice

I have a question regarding reading in another language. More specifically, I would like advice on where I should go next with my language reading. I have been learning Norwegian for the past four or so years. The road has been long, painful and difficult, but I feel as though I have finally begun to make some progress, mainly thanks to Steve’s encouraging videos. At my current level, I would say I have gone past beginner material, as he would put it. However, I don’t feel quite ready for “authentic material”, such as a book. I have tried, but there are so many words I don’t know that it takes quite a while to just finish a page, let alone a chapter. So my question is: Where would you have me go and what should I look for at this point? Should I proceed regardless of the unknown words and fight my way through it, or should I still remain with beginner material?

I just started Ukrainian 3 days ago and cannot use interesting material yet so I got myself kids books that come with the audio. Then I imported them here.

I suggest you try reading an Interlinear book. This is where the foreign language text is on one line, and the English translation on the line below.

The best source for interlinears in modern languages is

They have done one book in Norwegian, it’s a history of World War 2 in Norwegian and English.

Layout is something like this (from their website)

Annen verdenskrig
Second World War

The idea looks very interesting. If you buy the book, perhaps you could tell us how you get on.

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If you’ve been studying for four years, I highly recommend doing comparative reading of “regular” books, that interest you, ideally with audiobooks when available.

Get both the English version and the Norwegian version of the same book and go through it line by line. As slow as this process may be at first, your vocab will build very fast if you stick with it. I don’t know what the market is for audiobooks in Norway. The comparative process works with or without audio, but the audio segment doubles the impact, at least in my experience. (LingQ will read out words for you. It is not the same, at all, but, when audiobooks are scarce, it can be helpful.)

This is of course similar to the Interlinear book advice, but the difference is that the kind of material available to you will be much less limited.


Agree with Harangi. Audio is absolutely essential. I think that to be able to read foreign-language texts comfortably you need have to have previously heard most of the words in speech.

Audiobook + interlinear book would be the ideal combination. But I think this is the only Norwegian interlinear in the entire world.

Yes, I have actually read that WWII article, which was quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, there is nothing else of the sort available.

Thank you for the suggestion. Unfortunately, such things are simply nonexistent for Norwegian. I have no money to spend, so obviously anything that isn’t free is out of the question. That being said, my only sources of reading are free news reports, wikipedia, youtube and various Norwegian discussion threads not unlike this one.

I don’t know if this helps at all, but embassies will often have their own libraries or cultural centers they work with, so if resources are scarce, and you live near a Norwegian Embassy or Consulate, they might have books and other materials available to read or check out. They also might know of various programs that aim to promote their language that can be useful to you.

This may sound like a long shot, but I’ve come across various resources like these before, especially for languages that may not be widely studied.

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I believe if you find a book that you rather enjoy (even if 50% of one page is unknown words), then you can use that as a main learning tool.

1.) Read over the page, underlining the words that you don’t know
2.) Look up the words, try to write the translation in the margins of the pages, or on a seperate sheet (or even put in Anki for review if you like flashcards)
3.) Reread over the text again

Do this everyday, and usually after a week or two, the amount of new words each page has will have drastically diminished.

I’ve had this struggle with a couple languages, mainly on LingQ. LingQ usually has great starting courses, and great intermediate courses, but rarely enough inbetween courses to bridge the gap (other than in major languages such as Spanish and French). What I’ve done with those langauges is completely go off LingQ and do as I said above, or I’ve purchased a few courses and worked my way through them.

I believe if you find a book/article that interests you, you will be willing to do this in order to understand it.

Hope this helps.

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Thank you for the reply. I might be able to do this with news articles, but not likely with a book. The only free online books available for Norwegian are late 19th century works written in what is basically “Norwegiafied” Danish.

@zhk2011 - Interesting approach. I wonder why you wouldn’t just try to find an ebook so you can import it into LingQ. Seems like it would be light years more efficient for you.

@danielpardo - Why would you restrict yourself to free resources? Ebooks are cheap. Buy one and import it into LingQ. You’ll have enough material for a month or more.

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I have no money. That is not an exaggeration. I do not have a cent to my name. I only use lingq for the forum, since I obviously only have a free account which is essentially useless. Don’t get me wrong, I think lingq is a brilliant idea and I will definitely buy myself a paid account and some better material with my first paycheck.

I’ve tried importing, but haven’t had success importing the content from .PDF files. I’m not sure what programs are good for that. If you have a suggestion, then I would be up for it.

Perhaps it was because the Ebooks I was reading dated prior to computers, thus, were essentially photocopies, which couldn’t be simply copy/pasted into LingQ.

More recently, such as when I was studying Korean last year, I was about to import the majority of the content I used by simply copy/pasting.

Thanks for the post.

Article? It’s a book!

No. It’s a one page article summarizing WWII.

Yes, images can’t be converted but you should be able to convert from pdf to text. Try Calibre for conversions. It is great. You should also read this article on studying ebooks on LingQ -

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