rdearman wrote:So if you're reading a book and you've only 5-6 unknowns. Then doing the maths tells us:
5 is 2% of the average 250 words per page of a written novel page. So if you already understand 98% of the words on the page, then extensive reading shouldn't be difficult, e.g. just reading for pleasure.
I look up on average 5-8 words per page, which are not all of the unknowns, they are the ones that I prioritize because they are blocking the meaning of a sentence, or they seem particularly useful or important. There are sometimes more unknowns that I choose to ignore because even if I can't guess it from context, I can tell that it's probably not something too important based on the rest of the sentence.
My experience is that assigning percentages to the number of words unknown is meaningless. In one of the example sentences I posted earlier (Era la sua maniera di essere una carogna, nel senso di non essere capace di trattenersi
.) there's only one word I don't know. But without knowing the meaning of that one word, the rest of the sentence has very little meaning because I'm missing the important point the author is trying to make.
So even if I can understand 15/16 of the words (= 94% comprehension) in that sentence, not knowing that one word means that I understand almost 0% of the message of the sentence. Knowing 8 out of 10 words doesn't mean you understand 80% of a sentence. And if you miss enough sentences on page, it leaves the remaining sentences you do understand without context and often meaningless.
When I go back and skim through pages I've already read after looking up the underlined words, I'm finding that knowing the meaning of those handful of words somehow makes the entire page significantly more understandable than it was before.
Brun Ugle wrote:Maybe you should try easier books like YA or graded readers. LR is also helpful.
This is a good suggestion but I don't think it would help me right now (though maybe LR would, and I've considered doing that more). Graded readers wouldn't help because the kind of vocabulary that I don't know at this point won't be found in graded readers - it's words like handrail, windowsill, beehive, clams, hardware store, gravestone, rickety, senile
. Basically words that are infrequent. Or alternate ways of saying things I know, like: non mi reggevo in piedi
(I couldn't stand) instead of the way I know:non riuscivo a stare in piedi
. Many YA books have tons of these kinds of words and colloquial expressions/slang, so I don't find them much easier than adult novels.