A short question. I am learning French and get bored to tears with the beginner material. I think it would be good to read and listen (a bit slower in Audible) to the first two books in the Harry Potter series while mixing in the boring beginner material along the way. I realize I don’t have a lot of known words in French, but looking up words in LingQ is pretty easy. And in Audible I can slow down the spoken words. Much better than google translate. It will be slow going, but I think that is OK. Any suggestions in doing French this way? One of the key ways to learn a language is to read compelling material. To me Harry Potter is much more compelling (I could start reading French history, but currently that is way too advanced for me).
It really all depends on your pain tolerance. What I mean by that is, Harry Potter is going to have tons of words that you wont know yet. But if reading something you love (despite it being really difficult) makes you more motivated to spend time with French. Then I say go for it! Its all about doing what You love and what makes you want to spend time with the language. It wont hurt your French to read material out of your level. All exposure is good. (as long as its comprehensible) And LingQ makes that possible.
With French I often mix my days with easier material and harder material based off how much energy im willing to put into French on that particular day. I say if you want to read Harry Potter, then read Harry potter!
To me audio books are a little too dense. I prefer listening to movies or series dialogues.
My vocabulary really started to take off when reading a novel that was rather advanced for me. The content was compelling enough to pull me along, though, and it was worth it, so I certainly wouldn’t discourage you from giving it a go. I did it here on Lingq, but I did not have audio. With or without audio, the advantage of a book is that certain vocabulary will be constantly repeated, both because a coherent story demands it, and because the author repeats usages common to his personal style. The repetition is good, but in this manner not at all boring.
For what it’s worth, I usually take the effort to import a book manually by chapters. It helps my motivation to want to finish the chapter and to see that in the lesson progress, rather than to be floundering somewhere in the middle of an arbitrary 4000-word mass.
Thank you very much for that tip about breaking up the book by chapters! Makes a whole lot of sense.
The only caveat I would give with French in particular is to research the use of the simple past verb tense prior to jumping into reading novels. A peculiarity of the French language is using this old verb tense mostly in narration only and not in real life. This trips up a lot of people at first, but the sooner you accept is as part of the beauty of French, the sooner you’ll be on your way to enjoying native level French content.
Other than that, tackling a new language by jumping straight into native level content is totally doable in my experience. – especially if you incorporate comparative reading into it in the beginning. I did it with Spanish and wrote a post about it last year, in case any of it proves helpful: My Spanish From A0 Reading Experiment - Language Forum @ ...
I’ve been reading Harry Potter in Indonesian on lingq, to supplement my Indonesian study at university. It may partly depend on whether you have read Harry Potter before – for me, this is my first time.
I tend to take it a chapter at a time – perhaps focus on a single chapter each week, repeating it each day. One thing that I do- which I think differs from many users here-- is that I refrain from over-importing lots of content (like news sites or youtube videos), that I may just skim over. I like the daily lingq srs feature, but if I over import, and create too many lingqs, then I forget the original context. If I can keep it all in a Harry Potter chapter for about a week, then those lingqs become much more familiar to me. If I have a section at lingqs page limit (I think its 4000 words?) and there are 100-150 lingqs there, if I can familiarise myself with around 25-50 of those, then things become a lot more comprehensible. A little bit of revision goes a long way- I’d say 5-10 minutes for every hour… no more.
(one of the handy things for me is that lingq offers malay too, which is a very similar language-- so for content that I don’t really care about reviewing, I just import into malay instead)
Also, unfortunately, I can’t get the Harry Potter audiobook in Indonesian
Another fantastic bit of information!!! (along with your previous post—since I have Assimil too)
I did it with Spanish! My first book was “The Philosopher’s Stone” in Spanish. I’d not read any of the books before in any other language. I didn’t even have access to LingQ at that time and looked up words in a dictionary only if I needed to in order to get the overall gist of the meaning. I didn’t worry too much about the verb tenses either. I found the first couple of chapters quite a struggle, but by the end of the book was going quite well. I went on to read all but the last of the series and by the end found reading the paper books almost as easy as reading in English (my native language).
So I reckon that you are probably on a winner! Best of luck!
Do it, but Harry Potter is not that easy. And it is still not for me. I looked for easier compelling material and came across „illumiatus“. I have to say that Dan Brown writing style is very repetitive. I read it in polish and it worked well.
The passé simple tense is not much used, even by native speakers–and certainly not in spoken language. I wouldn’t waste time studying it until you’re at an advanced level, and even then only if you’re specifically interested in studying the French classics. See InnerFrench video:
Quels livres lire en français ? - YouTube.
Yes, but it is customary to use the passé simple as a narrative tense in books, and not just the classics, but modern, contemporary fiction, and popular fiction, both by native writers and translated books — including Harry Potter. So my point was that if someone just jumps straight into reading books, they need to be aware of this verb tense so that they can tell it apart from everyday spoken French.
You don’t need to study it or reproduce it, but you need to learn how to identify it.
True, identifying is enough. My wife completed her doctorate in French ,and teaches in French at university level and still treats passé simple in that fashion.
But I still tend to the advice given in the InnerFrench podcast I posted above, and in fact one of the writers he recommends won the Nobel alternative prize (MARYSE CONDÉ; Le cœur à rire et à pleurer), written without passé simple. He says that the usage is waning among modern writers.
btw take a look at the books here, from level A1 to B2.
I couldn’t use my Canadian credit card to purchase but have found some of them on other book sites. It’s a brilliant idea, to have full novels written and annotated for students for French…
I’ve heard people make the claim before that the use of passé simple may be waning, but in my experience, I see no evidence of this. I read and listen to a fair amount of French books, mostly modern popular fiction, and I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book that didn’t use this verb tense.
There may be books out there that specifically avoid passé simple, but I would never make that a factor in what I would wanna read. I think the point of the reading method is to read what interests you, and most of the popular books out there will have passé simple in them, so it’s better to teach people to embrace this early on, rather than advising them on how to avoid it. In that respect, that InnerFrench video is just wrong in my opinion.