Do you prefer to translate every word, sentence and paragraph including the ones which you already know, trying to find the perfect meaning and intention and also attempting to memorize it perfectly perhaps by re-reading multiple times or do you read through and only translate new or vaguely known words and try to read as much as possible?
I am trying to break my habit of being a perfectionist or have a more neutral approach. I am curious your thoughts.
It depends on you.
Do what is more interesting for you.
But at least you have to understand the gist of the lesson.
“Do you prefer to translate every word…”
No, actually I try to avoid it.
“trying to find the perfect meaning and intention”
Sometimes. If I am reading an important article or a novel, yeah I am.
“attempting to memorize it perfectly”
No! I don’t try to memorize it but sometimes I read aloud and that helps me to find the correct word while speaking. If that counts, yeah I do but I never try to memorize a word or a sentence deliberately.
I think that quantity of reading matters. This is how we get used to the language, notice the grammatical patterns and expand our vocab. “exposure” I guess this is the magic word.
I am not a perfectionist when it comes to language learning. I am trying to do my best. I already know that I am making mistakes. I hope, someday I’ll be able to speak English very well but I don’t think that I’ll be able to speak it perfectly or in other saying “without mistakes”.
I hope that helps. Have a nice day.
Where I am only really starting out in Spanish I do translate a lot of the words but I am slowly getting to the point where I can pretty much guess what the sentence is saying and I like to double check the sentence to see if I was correct in my guess or not.
This is asking about intensive versus extensive reading. From reading posts and styles from posters here, I assume most here are fans of extensive reading. I prefer intensive. I like to observe fine details when I can’t understand something. I can’t always just ignore it and just move on.
I think what you do depends on your goal. Certainly that is the case with me. I am at the stage in Russian (low intermediate) where I still need to learn a lot of basic words and constructions. Thus I learn every construction (not the same as word since it can be an idiom or phrase) in a text or video at my approximate level. By “learn” I mean find the translation and then write sentences with the word or phrase that are true for me at that moment and then pronounce out loud what I have written without looking at what I wrote (not so easy at first). In this way, I “make it mine” and I will remember it. I do this for words and expressions that I want to use NOW at my present stage of learning. Other words I only want to recognize when I see them in a context but I don’t make sentences with them. For example, when reading a lesson about Russian geographic regions, I did want to know “pine tree” (because I have some on my property) and thus made some sentences with the word but didn’t do so with “coniferous” or “deciduous” in Russian. I thus prioritize what I want to learn right now. Top priority is what I myself want to be able to use when talking.
By contrast, I know Spanish quite well (am not studying it on Lingq) and when I read the newspaper, for example, I already understand most and may look up a word or phrase that I think is critical. In Spanish, I am reading for a general understanding of the content, not to absorb specifics about grammatical and lexical constructions in order to use them myself.
I also suggest that you do different things with different materials. For example, read closely for full understanding of materials that are at your level or approximately your level and then just read for general gist of something for more advanced materials and in shorter amounts. It is too tedious and not enjoyable to learn everything with the same intensity and in fact counter-productive. If language learning is not enjoyable, that negatively affects the learning process, including retention.
As in sports training, alternate something challenging with something easy and keep the challenging parts smaller relative to what is easier. This will help keep up your enthusiasm.
For example, watch a cartoon with same language subtitles; they can be great fun and the visuals go a long way toward telling the story. Some are quite sophisticated. At first I only translated a single sentence in a Russian cartoon but now I know enough to get through an entire one in one session. Most importantly, have FUN!
Depends. If i’m reading, i can usually just read without translating. But sometimes i have to go through bit by bit if it’s a construct i’m unfamiliar with, and translate every word.
If i’m watching something i usually just try to listen and watch and get by context rather than translation.
This could be the difference between intensive and extensive activities though. Sometimes i’ll read something and dissect everything, every sentence, every word, every grammar point. This is ‘intensive’. Sometimes i’ll gloss over imperfect understanding and get the gist and then just move on. This is ‘extensive’.
Most polyglots who are well renowned online admit to glossing over imperfect understanding as long as they get the overall meaning.