Reading 3.000.000 words in German

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slowmoon
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Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby slowmoon » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:33 pm

My name is slowmoon. I will be reading ~3 mio. words of German in an effort to improve my vocabulary, reading comprehension, and reading speed.

In order to measure my progress, I just took an online German vocabulary test offered by Leipzig ITT (Institute for Test Research and Test Development). It can be found here: https://www.itt-leipzig.de/

This test measures passive knowledge of the 5.000 most frequent German words. There is a 30 minute time limit. My score was 107/150 (71%). Presumably, this means my vocabulary size is around 3.550 words. Whether or not this is accurate doesn't really matter. It will provide an objective benchmark against which I can measure my progress. I will take the test again only after I finish reading one million words, as I want to avoid any kind of "test-learning" effect.

Question: Why read one million words before I take the test again?
Answer: Researcher Paul Nation estimates that a reader will encounter each of the five thousand most frequent word families over twelve times if he reads one million words (from a diverse corpus), and that twelve encounters may be enough to learn most of those words.
http://nflrc.lll.hawaii.edu/rfl/October ... nation.pdf

Question: Why read three million words in total?
Answer: Again, this number is based on Nation's research. Three million words read yields nine thousand word families encountered over twelve times each. Nine thousand known word families would yield 97-98% vocabulary coverage of books written for adult natives, and about half the vocabulary size of an educated adult native. This seems like a reasonable goal.

Question: Will I be reading extensively or intensively? What is my reading style? What else will I be doing in German besides reading?
Answer: I'll be reading extensively. I generally skip things that I don't understand unless it seems they are crucial. If I see a word more than 2-3 times and it starts bugging me, I'll look it up. Other than reading, I'll be listening to audiobooks and watching videos ad libitum. Zero speaking or writing practice. That's about it.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Let's begin.
Last edited by slowmoon on Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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slowmoon
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Re: Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby slowmoon » Sun Jan 19, 2020 8:40 pm

Week 1 Update

Petersburg ist eine Stadt der Halbverrückten. Wenn wir mehr Sinn für die Wissenschaften hätten, könnten Ärzte, Juristen und Philosophen, jeder in seinem Fach, über Petersburg die wertvollsten Untersuchungen anstellen. Nur mit Mühe dürfte man einen andern Ort finden, wo die Menschenseele so vielen düsteren, schroffen und seltsamen Einflüssen preisgegeben ist wie hier in Petersburg.

- Swidrigailow

Reading
Franz Kafka: Ein Hungerkünstler, pages 1-14
Leonard Nimoy: Ich Bin Spock, pages 44-192
Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi: Bushido, pages 27-272
Fjodor Michailowitsch Dostojewski: Schuld und Sühne, pages 511-703

14 + 149 + 246 + 193 = 602 total pages, or ~150.500 words.
(There are half-pages and blank pages within these numbers, but I'm just going to count them as 250 words per page.)
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slowmoon
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Re: Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby slowmoon » Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:36 am

Week 2 Update

Ich bin nur ein Mensch, und ich habe keinen Zweifel daran, daß Spock mich um viele Jahre überleben wird. Ich kann nur hoffen, daß die Leute irgendwann einmal, wenn sie Spocks Gesicht anschauen, vielleicht auch an mich denken werden.

- Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)


Reading
Leonard Nimoy: Ich Bin Spock, pages 193-460
Anis Mohamed Youssef Ferchichi: Bushido, pages 273-425
Katherine Alice Applegate: Die Invasion, pages 1-140
Katherine Alice Applegate: Der Besucher, pages 1-136
Katherine Alice Applegate: Die Begegnung, pages 1-73

268 + 153 + 140 + 136 +73 = 770 total pages, or ~192.500 words.
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slowmoon
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Re: Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby slowmoon » Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:25 am

Week 3 Update

Wieder fühlte ich die schreckliche Hasswelle in mir hochbranden. Aber so sollte mein Leben nicht zu Ende gehen. Ich wollte nicht mit hasserfülltem Herzen sterben.

- Cassie


Reading

Katherine Alice Applegate: Die Botschaft, pages 1-109
Katherine Alice Applegate: Die Begegnung, pages 74-107
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen, pages 5-335
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schrekens, pages 5-351
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Askaban, pages 5-202
Frank Brady: Endspiel: Genie und Wahnsinn im Leben der Schachlegende Bobby Fischer, pages 11-50

109 + 34 + 331 + 347 + 198 + 40 = 1.059 total pages, or ~264.750 words.
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Lawyer&Mom
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Re: Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:25 pm

I love this! And you are plowing through the pages! I can read maybe 300 pages of German in a good week, so I’m very impressed! What is your German background? How much have you read before starting this project? Where are you getting your books? Have you noticed any improvement yet? (A couple thousand pages can make a huge difference, or not much at all, depending on where you are starting from!)
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slowmoon
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Re: Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby slowmoon » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:41 pm

Lawyer&Mom wrote:I love this! And you are plowing through the pages! I can read maybe 300 pages of German in a good week, so I’m very impressed! What is your German background? How much have you read before starting this project? Where are you getting your books? Have you noticed any improvement yet? (A couple thousand pages can make a huge difference, or not much at all, depending on where you are starting from!)


Thanks for your interest. I started self-studying German about 10 years ago as a hobby, but then I stopped and switched to Chinese when I went to China to work. My German has been neglected ever since.

Before starting this project, I'd read a total of 2-3 books in addition to random stuff online. Forum posts, video subtitles, Der Spiegel articles, and whatnot. Nothing as difficult as what I've been reading recently.

As for results, I've noticed quite a difference. In December, before the log began, I was spending about 6-8 minutes to read a single page of Crime and Punishment. Really rough. Maybe not the best book to start with. But by the end of Crime and Punishment, it took 2-3 minutes/p with even better comprehension. (The L-R method thread starter was right about idiolects.) This initial progress was highly motivating.
Last edited by slowmoon on Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Lawyer&Mom
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Re: Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby Lawyer&Mom » Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:59 pm

I’m just over 3,000 pages of extensive reading in French, starting from more or less scratch, and the difference is huge! (A native English speaker basically starts at about A2 with French reading...) I have about 2,000 pages read of German, but I started at about B2, and the difference is much more subtle... I’m interested to know what it’s like to get to the higher pages numbers. Keep up the good work!
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slowmoon
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Re: Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby slowmoon » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:41 am

Week 4 Update

Denn was kriegt der Mensch von aller seiner Arbeit und Mühe seines Herzens, die er hat unter der Sonne, denn alle seine Lebtage Schmerzen, mit Grämen und Leid, daß auch sein Herz des Nachts nicht ruhet?

- Der Prediger


Reading

Die Lutherbibel, Ecclesiastes, pages 1-18
Frank Herbert: Der Wüstenplanet, pages 7-261
Katherine Alice Applegate: Das Unheimliche, pages 9-148
Joanne Rowling: Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Askaban, pages 203-448
Joanne Rowling: Harry Potter und der Feuerkelch, pages 5-219
Brian Daley: Han Solo auf Stars End, pages 2-165
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien: Der Hobbit, pages 10-22

18 + 255 + 140 + 246 + 215 + 164 + 13 = 1.051 total pages, or ~262.750 words.
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reineke
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Re: Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby reineke » Mon Feb 10, 2020 12:29 pm

Your initial Leipzig score fell short of B2. Nation considers what you're doing cruel and unusual self-punishment. He advocates the use of graded readers. You have our full support. You should consider doing Dialang and Goethe placement tests. Your activities should boost your overall language skills. Also, there's a chance you're a dormant B2+ and since Leipzig only tests vocabulary up to B2 you're not using adequate measuring tools.
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slowmoon
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Re: Reading 3.000.000 words in German

Postby slowmoon » Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:11 pm

reineke wrote:Your initial Leipzig score fell short of B2. Nation considers what you're doing cruel and unusual self-punishment. He advocates the use of graded readers. You have our full support. You should consider doing Dialang and Goethe placement tests. Your activities should boost your overall language skills. Also, there's a chance you're a dormant B2+ and since Leipzig only tests vocabulary up to B2 you're not using adequate measuring tools.


Using graded readers to achieve 98% coverage of books I'm not interested in would be far more painful, IMO. I'm enjoying nearly everything I'm reading despite the 5-10% unknown words.

This week, I'll hit 1 million words read and I'll retake the Leipzig test. Probably Thursday. Then, as you suggest, I'll do a new placement test (Dialang) to establish a new baseline. At 3 million words, I'll test again. That will wrap up this log.
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