Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

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Le Baron
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby Le Baron » Tue Oct 26, 2021 10:45 pm

Oh well, you taught me a word I didn't know: hapax.
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einzelne
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby einzelne » Tue Oct 26, 2021 10:53 pm

Le Baron wrote:Oh well, you taught me a word I didn't know: hapax.


You are welcome! I wish somebody told be about hapax and dis legomena when I decided that Moby Dick would be a nice first unadapted book to read in English... (from Wiki: "About 44% of the distinct set of words in this novel, such as "matrimonial", occur only once, and so are hapax legomena. About 17%, such as "dexterity", appear twice".)
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby german2k01 » Wed Oct 27, 2021 8:03 am

So, all these questions 'how many pages per day (or in total) I need to read in order to become fluent?' don't make much sense, unless you specify your reading mode.


I will be doing the extensive reading.
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby german2k01 » Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:08 am

einzelne,

How many books did you read in "intensive reading " mode?
Sure, you are learning and analyzing the language, however, don't you think it is mentally "exhausting" reading this way?
Reading 50 pages of an easy reader aimed at learning a second language is suitable for reading this kind of way but I am not sure it can be extended to reading lengthy novels?
Your thoughts, please.
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby lusan » Wed Oct 27, 2021 12:53 pm

iguanamon wrote: The simple formula after the basics that almost always works is "read a lot; listen a lot; write some; speak when you can".


So easy but so hard to believe.
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby einzelne » Wed Oct 27, 2021 1:21 pm

german2k01 wrote:How many books did you read in "intensive reading " mode?


I don't know. I'm terrible at tracking my progress. Sometimes I start a book by reading it intensively, then switch to the extensive mode. Some books will allow it, some not. It's hard to tell. Usually, it some organic process: classical works, 'high-brow' literature, philosophical works — intensive mode. Secondary literature and general fiction — extensive. Again, a lot of things depend on my mental focus, how tired I'm, family circumstances and so on.

It seems to me that, again, you want to hear some magic number. Like, the moment you read 10k pages, 5 million words, you suddenly become fluent. It doesn't work that way. Besides our situations are different – I never had such ideals circumstances to learn a language like you but I never shied away from grammar training or practicing active skills when I had an opportunity. What's the point of comparing each other then? Even if I new the exact number of books I read in English, German, and French, it would be of no help to you.
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby german2k01 » Wed Oct 27, 2021 4:14 pm

It seems to me that, again, you want to hear some magic number. Like, the moment you read 10k pages, 5 million words, you suddenly become fluent.


I am not looking for a magic number. German is my third language. I learned English on my own in my home country. I know what it takes to learn a language to a higher level if you are not living and working in the language. I am still learning it.
I am just trying to appraise the efficacy of the method itself whether it is sustainable over a long period of time or not. How much time should I allocate for it in a day? Some people say not just more than 20 minutes a day as this way of reading is mentally exhausting and conversely, in your case, I believe it is the main method of learning the language at least that's what the impression I have got. Please correct me If I am not wrong.
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby einzelne » Wed Oct 27, 2021 4:45 pm

german2k01 wrote:How much time should I allocate for it in a day? Some people say not just more than 20 minutes a day as this way of reading is mentally exhausting and conversely, in your case, I believe it is the main method of learning the language at least that's what the impression I have got. Please correct me If I am not wrong.


Well, experiment and find your own sweet spot — it will be different depending on your current mental and psychological state and the book you have in your hands. I try to be consistent but I could never stick to any strict routine.

It's not the main 'method'. I have a very conventional approach to language learning. As I said, initially I work with grammar and textbooks, I listen to audio and shadow it when I walk my dog and when I'm in the mood for it. I might practice retelling technique with dialogues and adapted books. It's just once you know core vocabulary and have a pretty firm grasp of grammar, vocabulary is the only thing you need to work deliberately (provided that you're interested in passive skills only). With extensive reading you won't get that many repetitions of low frequency words, so if you want to accelerate your pace, intensive sessions (with consequent review of new words and expression) is a good option. But again, you can only see the results after a year or two. It's in the nature of low frequency words to appear rarely. And, again, I would like to emphasize that by low frequency words I mean not some obscure words which even native speakers would find it hard to define but pretty common words which, depending on what you read, can barely occur in your texts. The example, I think, I already shared with you is a French word sauterelle (a grashopper). Since the beginning of pandemic, I read around 30 books in French, and I've only met this word once. Now, you can decide for yourself, whether or not you really need to know this word in the future, but if your answer is yes, then intensive sessions and consequent vocabulary review is your only option. And, of course, you can decide to take it easy and just read extensively. But don't expect quick results then (oh, well, you cannot expect quick results even in the case of intensive reading and diligent vocabulary review because of the Zipf law).
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby Dragon27 » Wed Oct 27, 2021 8:20 pm

einzelne wrote:With extensive reading you won't get that many repetitions of low frequency words, so if you want to accelerate your pace, intensive sessions (with consequent review of new words and expression) is a good option. But again, you can only see the results after a year or two. It's in the nature of low frequency words to appear rarely. And, again, I would like to emphasize that by low frequency words I mean not some obscure words which even native speakers would find it hard to define but pretty common words which, depending on what you read, can barely occur in your texts.

But can abound in some other texts. Because they are, as you call them, pretty common after all. I guess that the kind of literature that you're primarily interested in (high-brow stuff, philosophy and what not) may lack some rather simple vocabulary that don't give trouble to natives, so another solution, in my opinion, is to widen one's language interests. Read and watch from different genres, fiction and non-fiction, be curious and study the world around you in a different language. After all, natives do develop their passive vocabulary somehow. Deliberate vocabulary review is a good option for some people, but it's only an option.

einzelne wrote:The example, I think, I already shared with you is a French word sauterelle (a grashopper). Since the beginning of pandemic, I read around 30 books in French, and I've only met this word once.

I've encountered a new word today - deadfall. I couldn't tell exactly what it meant from the context (in the book) and its structure, but as soon as I looked it up it became self-explanatory. I don't think I will ever forget the meaning of this word, at least passively. "Sauterelle" has an obvious root and a diminutive suffix, so it doesn't seem to me to require any kind of intensive memorization and review routine either. I know, not all "common rare" words are like that, but many of them are. Words of a language are not nonsense syllable (like the ones in the experiments measuring the forgetting curve), they connect with each other and create associations that help you retain every new word you encounter.
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Re: Reading goal for 2022 - need your advice?

Postby einzelne » Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:12 pm

Dragon27 wrote:After all, natives do develop their passive vocabulary somehow.


Yes, they do indeed — by being immersed in the language all the day long, by being constantly supported and corrected by parents and then teachers. Quite an advantage, I would say. We don't have it. (not to mention the differences in L1 and L2 acquisition) Quite often we only have a couple of hours per day for foreign language activities at best. In this case, you only option is to increase you exposure to such words artificially.

einzelne wrote:"Sauterelle" has an obvious root and a diminutive suffix, so it doesn't seem to me to require any kind of intensive memorization and review routine either. I know, not all "common rare" words are like that, but many of them are.


It's not how it works. Let me explain: if sauterelle is the only word you came across while reading in a day, then, yes, you might remember it. This scenario usually happens at the very advanced stages of fluent reading. What happens if you haven't reached this stage yet? Well, you have 5-10 new words per page. Imagine, you read 30 pages today: that means on average you encounter 150-300 words per session. It's too much information, and even if you check the meaning by using a pop-up dictionary, it evaporates immediately because you're constantly bombarded by dozens of other new words. Your brain is too overwhelmed since it cannot process all this information. Unless, of course the word will pop up a dozen of times over these 30 pages. It happens but quite rarely (because, again, see Zipf's law).

Alternatively, you can simply read extensively and just check new words now and then. But in that case I wouldn't expect to be a fluent reader in a year. 5-10 years — that would be a more realistic estimation (provided we are talking about general reading fluency, i.e. the ability to read a wide variety of texts).

I tried both methods extensive reading only and extensive+intensive (in my case that usually means that I gloss words on the margins or make a list of new expressions from my kindle books and then review them) and I can tell that, although more challenging, extensive+intensive mode of reading leads to better results, especially if you don't have the luxury of reading in your target language at least 3 hours a day.
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