Reading new texts

There’s something I’ve been wondering lately. I’ve been learning German off and on for about five years now, and there’s thing I do that I think hinders me from progressing on somewhat. Every time I find a new text in German, whether it be a book, an article or whatever, I usually don’t have many problems with understanding the general message of it as long as it’s at a “normal” reading level. However, there are always tons of new words, unfamiliar word usages, idiomatic expressions, etc. I always feel like I have to go through the entire text with pencil in hand, marking up everything that’s new to me. But the thing is, it gets sooooo long, boring and tedious in general that it takes all the fun of learning away. Yet I feel that if I don’t do it, I’m not really learning it (although the words seldom stay with me even if I do).

It’s really bugging me. My question is…well, what’s the best way to read in your new language? Should I mark everything up? How many times should I read it? Sorry that this question is long, but I reaaaally am tired of all this…

Thanks in advance!

I used to read interesting things. I’m studying English, so I always search sites and books about my favourite topics, and I try read it. I do it everytime coz I need to improve my English urgently. I search books than I’ve read for to read in my new language. For exemple, now I’m reading Little Prince, coz I’ve read this book in my mother tongue many times.

Good lucky :slight_smile:

Hi Herr Kommissar,

The most important thing is to enjoy the language that you are learning, and the process of learning itself! Otherwise you’ll fail.

What I do is to read a lot without noting something and without looking up anything in a dictionary. I only read and enjoy the book. If I don’t understand a word or a phrase, it doesn’t matter.

For studying concepts of the language and adding new words I choose some texts from LingQ or I import texts into LingQ. Then I study this text carefully. I think I study 10 percent or less in this way. In these texts I try to be sensitive for interesting phrases, structures and so forth, and I LingQ the unknown words.

In a language like English where I have a good intermediate level, my favourite activity is listening. I think I spend about 80 percent of my learning time to listen to interesting podcasts, 9 percent for reading, 9 percent for studying texts on LingQ, 2 percent on reviewing my LingQs and very seldom on looking up grammar (I have some knowledge of grammar). But sometimes I change this. I do the things that I enjoy the most.

In a language like French where I’m a beginner, I spend more time on studying grammar. Also I create LingQs for a lot of words and study each text very carefully. This is necessary to get a fundament in a new language and to develop a sensibility how phrases are built. I admit that the start in a new language isn’t so easy and sometimes it is not really fun. At this point you should have a lot of internal motivation to overcome this period, but after this first period you should try to enjoy the language and the language learning process itself.

In German there are different possible word orders. But I’m sure you’ll develop a feeling for what sounds natural and unnatural if you listen to a lot of German, or read a lot of German.

As I that before, do what you enjoy!

Hi HerrKommissar - that’s exactly the situation I have in learning foreign languages like English or French. Especially in my English learning I got same experiences. Sometimes I understand the entire text and next article with in the same level I cannot follow the content. But surprisingly Germans have same experiences at our own language - i.e. speaking a language fluently don’t garantee understanding. I have listened German texts here in LingQ and have shaked my head. Some words or especially phrase are so unusual or uncommon that I have problems with understanding. And I am claiming that I am advanced in my mother tongue. I love it playing with words and phrases in my own language but I am disliking speaking out of all reason. Never say die! Contents are not more intelligent only with using words or phrases which nobody can understand. Meanwhile I am ignoring these sort of texts.

Of course, you have to sort new words otherwise you’ll drown among them. Make a stop after each paragraph and try to understand the gist of it. Make also the effort to understand some words from the context. Look up only the key-words if you didn’t understand the paragraph.
Select also you links, you haben’t to learn all words by heart! Some words must stay passiv. It’s a necessary background for our speech.
And listen more(if you even understood only a gist) to get accustomed to the new pronunciation.
But in any way Vera is right: learning a language must make a fun. If you are in bad mood postpone your learning for tomorrow.

Thank you so much for all responses! :wink: This’ll all be really helpful!