Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

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Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Speed (words per minute)
2
5%
Accuracy (% of know words)
26
59%
They are both important
13
30%
Neither are important
2
5%
Other
1
2%
 
Total votes: 44

tractor
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby tractor » Wed Nov 23, 2022 8:24 pm

Depends on what I read, when and why.
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby desafiar » Wed Nov 23, 2022 9:04 pm

I assume that accuracy is roughly synonymous with comprehension, so I chose accuracy.

My experience is that comprehension improves speed, but speed doesn't improve comprehension. Kind of like what is often said in music circles that, practice does not make perfect - practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect.
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby språker » Wed Nov 23, 2022 10:24 pm

I don't know of reading and listening to each chapter multiple times can be categorised as "slow reading", but it is indeed not very fast. I'm slowly ploughing through Tolkien's LOTR in Lithuanian, and I sometimes ponder whether I should try to read a bit faster (or repeat less), so that it will not take another year to get through (I am about half ways into the trilogy by now). The idea would be that I would read more books in my target language, seeing more words and expressions. But when I try to speed up, I lose traction, forcing me to slow down again to get anything out of it.

So, I am continuing in my slow speed. New books will be next year.
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby anitarrc » Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:34 am

I clicked "other", because I really wanted to say
it depends

At work I need to be super accurate, because I either translate or proofread.
But when I am reading news in Portuguese or a book for fun, it all depends on whether I really need to know. In other words stuff, which is irrelevant or purely ornamental to me, doesn't need looking up: the result is pure joy.
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby smallwhite » Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:51 pm

I didn't even know reading speed was a thing people paid attention to outside of exams, nevermind strive for, until I joined these forums. I've always just took my time.
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby badger » Thu Nov 24, 2022 8:45 pm

I sacrifice one for other other at times, so long as stay within a general zone of understanding the context & plot trajectory. if something is clearly a critical plot point then I'll make sure I understand it; if it's something less consequential then I may skip over a few words, particularly if I'm reading somewhere where it's less easy to look up words, like on a train for instance. I don't find I have to rewind several pages (too) often because I've got the meaning of something completely wrong. :lol:

probably worth saying that French and English obviously have loooads of cognates, so even if I don't know a word I can often hazard a pretty good guess what it means, false-friends aside.
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby Le Baron » Thu Nov 24, 2022 9:29 pm

badger wrote:probably worth saying that French and English obviously have loooads of cognates, so even if I don't know a word I can often hazard a pretty good guess what it means, false-friends aside.


I agree with your reading approach, I do a similar thing. Regarding the above quote, I think there's a certain point where individual words become less of an obstacle and it's more the problem of how words are used in unusual or unexpected ways and the word order/constructions of many set phrases with unpredictable, idiomatic constructions.

For example (and I'm trying to find examples off the top of my head) when my girlfriend at university was trying to learn French she would bring her book and knock at my door, exasperated, to ask: 'what does this mean...?!' And it would be constructions like e.g: je tiens à vous dire... Whilst knowing the word tenir and some conjugations, but never having encountered the exact construction, it was just gibberish to her.

And I've had similar things myself many times in languages I'm trying to learn. Fiction especially (though popular non-fiction as well now) can be full of expressions which are actually quite pedestrian to natives and well used, yet for some reason aren't the ones taught, even in books and videos purporting to divulge the 'most common and useful expressions'.
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby einzelne » Thu Nov 24, 2022 9:35 pm

For me speed and accuracy actually go hand in hand. The only way to read fast and actually enjoy the process is when you have 99% comprehension.

Of course, it's hard to achieve it for a lot of languages (esp. such difficult ones like Mandarine). So, depending on a book, I can be more liberal with the percentage of unknown words. If you read I mystery novel, you can easily skip a paragraph with a detailed description of a room, weather etc. However, I don't see the point of reading a novel which is considered to be a masterpiece in your target language and only "getting the gist" of it?

Luckily, e-readers made our life so much easier and since you're working on your Mandarine, here are two now classical essays by David Moser. The first one can give the idea how miserable the life was before digital tools:

I was once at a luncheon with three Ph.D. students in the Chinese Department at Peking University, all native Chinese (one from Hong Kong). I happened to have a cold that day, and was trying to write a brief note to a friend canceling an appointment that day. I found that I couldn't remember how to write the character 嚔, as in da penti 打喷嚔 "to sneeze". I asked my three friends how to write the character, and to my surprise, all three of them simply shrugged in sheepish embarrassment. Not one of them could correctly produce the character. Now, Peking University is usually considered the "Harvard of China". Can you imagine three Ph.D. students in English at Harvard forgetting how to write the English word "sneeze"?? Yet this state of affairs is by no means uncommon in China. English is simply orders of magnitude easier to write and remember.


The second one is on the paperless revolution. I agree with his message: Go digital, young man! Go digital, whatever your age is!
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby Picaboo » Sat Nov 26, 2022 7:45 pm

My natural method of reading English is to sound nothing out and have my eyes dice up meanings. I read very fast unless it's good literature and I wish to enjoy the sound and the flow.

With Korean, I try not to do this and sound everything out to reinforce every aspect of the sentence, but I find myself (unconsciously) ruthlessly parsing out grammatical endings and well-known words. Once I'm in a flow state, there are parts of many sentences I do not sound out at all--seemingly, I go right from shapes to meaning.

Which is pretty crazy skill transfer given it is a different alphabet.
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Re: Reading level: which is more important to you – speed or accuracy?

Postby leosmith » Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:32 am

Picaboo wrote:have my eyes dice up meanings
What does that mean?
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