How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

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german2k01
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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby german2k01 » Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:23 pm

So what do you want from German?


I enjoy good literature which I consider as delicious food for my soul. Then I also enjoy watching documentaries and movies. Since I am living in Germany I have to be fluent in putting my thoughts across. So speaking German is also essential. Writing is something I am the least worried about at the moment. Concurrently, I have been working on my listening and reading but damn in German, you feel like it may take forever to start reading fluently. I guess I need ample patience and be persistent every day. That's the impression I have got after reading the aforesaid replies.
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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby german2k01 » Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:27 pm

rdearman wrote:We have the super challenge here where the goal is to read 100 books and watch 100 films. I have done that a couple of times and I am not C2. I can read, but still look up a lot of words.


I have just read the guidelines of such a super challenge. Don't you think the book length should lie somewhere between 250-400 pages instead of 50 pages? This is puny. Also, movies are less dense because of silent visuals. Don't you think it should be 75-100 seasons of television series? Television series are more language dense. No wonder if you are not C2 as of yet.
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german2k01
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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby german2k01 » Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:40 pm

This thread:Massive Input in Berlin (by member patrickwilken)


Thanks for sharing this thread. Very useful. It will definitely help me to plan reading & Listening for 2022.
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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby einzelne » Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:09 pm

german2k01 wrote:It will definitely help me to plan reading & Listening for 2022.


The question is would it finally encourage you to open a grammar book?:)
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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby german2k01 » Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:38 pm

The question is would it finally encourage you to open a grammar book?:)


That's a million-dollar question. :) I have Hammer's German Grammar and Usage. I am so scared of reading German grammar. It is scary.
Instead what I have been doing now is understanding grammar through "sentence mining". I have been appending sentences from my reading to my Anki collection. Each german sentence carries a correspondence translation in English. I am developing an intuitive feeling for Grammar, for example, I know that "past tense is described with the prefix "ge" ". In a continuous sentence, you add "gerade" to make it occur. What do you think about my approach? My current thinking is that I am not confusing my brain with unwanted and long-winded explanations?

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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby einzelne » Mon Oct 04, 2021 8:11 pm

german2k01 wrote:What do you think about my approach?


I think I already gave my detailed suggestions on how to work with grammar in one of your earlier posts. First, you take a short grammar book and read it as a travelogue. When you drill certain grammar points to the point they become second nature on the basis of useful sentences. Then, if you come across some grammar features in your reading you don't understand, you try to find an explanation in a big grammar book, write down an example and then continue to collect another examples while reading. When you have a dozen of sentences (relevant for you) which illustrate the grammar point, you repeat them out loud till they become automatic. Alternatively, you can pick up a good textbook which already contains easy and useful everyday sentences with such grammar structures.

And then, of course, you need to speak with native speakers and try to introduce new grammar patterns into your speech.
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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby Le Baron » Mon Oct 04, 2021 9:12 pm

I've read a sizeable number of 'books' in French over many years. Ranging from comics when I was a youth (and I skipped over unknown words in the normal way of child reading) to novels and non-fiction. I still look up words. I even look up words in English.

I get the question though, you're asking how long it takes to reach a point where the tolerance of unknown words has a negligible effect on the overall reading. My personal answer is that it ebbs and flows depending on the books. About 6 months into learning Dutch I was reading a novel by Boudewijn Buch, Het Bedrog, and found it astonishingly easy to read. Prior to that I'd read De Heilige Antonio (Arnon Grunenberg) which was also not that difficult. Then I started Herschenschimmen (J. Bernlef) and ground to a complete halt. I don't really know why. This happened numerous times.

The following might appear somewhat elitist, I don't mean it this way. When it comes to learning words in the 'normal' way - by which I mean experience and use, like in your own language - it matters who your daily peers are and what your own educational experience is. In situations like universities you're forced into accruing lots of words you wouldn't otherwise come across and words your tutors and student peers use.
Reading books of your own choosing is a next-tier substitute, but you don't get discussion and repetition of vocabulary in a use situation. Nevertheless it is a powerful system for learning words+meaning. I always want to stress a caveat though: that the way a person reads and acquired words/meaning in their native language was already bolstered by the fact they could speak/understand the language before they were reading. And that it is all around them being reinforced.

From that I think it makes sense to assume that if a book contains words that don't crop up in your day-to-day language experience, you'll have to look them up; probably multiple times and that you'll forget many, with some lingering in your subconscious memory as the usual 'inactive vocabulary'.

So the question is: how many books? I feel the answer is: as many as it takes. Unusual words aren't in great numbers in most books, so perhaps after 25-30 diverse books in a language you're studying with complete focus, you ought to have some familiarity with the most regularly used words and constructions. So that you're only looking-up outlier words. You are in the country of the language you are learning, so there has to be an advantage with words being reinforced after learning them. You must also use them.

I'll just add... I went to the doctor's today and before going I looked up the words for 'acetabulum' and 'pelvic diaphragm'. Aside from that the conversation was normal and fluid. I expect to have to look up words, this is a foreign language for me and there are thousands of words and phrases I don't know.
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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby rdearman » Tue Oct 05, 2021 6:05 am

german2k01 wrote:
rdearman wrote:We have the super challenge here where the goal is to read 100 books and watch 100 films. I have done that a couple of times and I am not C2. I can read, but still look up a lot of words.


I have just read the guidelines of such a super challenge. Don't you think the book length should lie somewhere between 250-400 pages instead of 50 pages? This is puny. Also, movies are less dense because of silent visuals. Don't you think it should be 75-100 seasons of television series? Television series are more language dense. No wonder if you are not C2 as of yet.

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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby jammon39 » Tue Oct 05, 2021 7:07 am

In response to the OP and Post Heading, I would say in Bangla it took me between 750 and 1500 hours, depending of course on the material. However, I didn't focus on reading very much until the end of that study time.

High-school level material that I am familiar with in English or is within my realm of "personal fluency" topics I can "free flow read" in Bangla without a dictionary with 80-90% comprehension (meaning that 10-20% of the vocab will not be immediately accessible).

I recently did an experiment where I took a detective novel and read along with the audiobook. I highlighted every single word I did not immediately know. Many of these words I did know if I had a second to think about it, or if I pieced together the meaning from stems, or could look at the context. From that experiment I would say 80-90% of the material was immediately comprehensible. 90-95% comprehensible if I was reading at my own pace and did not have to move on with the audiobook narrator. (I am beyond 2000 hours of study at this point.)

Material that I was super familiar with in English (like the New Testament) I could free-flow read in Bangla at maybe 750 hours. Material I have no familiarity with in English depends greatly upon genre etc. I could read say a detective novel or middle grade novel with 80-90% comprehension. Science fiction probably not, but I plan to break into the science fiction genre soon.

I was using a highly social method of learning (GPA), that focused almost exclusively on speaking, listening for the first 750-1000 hours of study. If reading was my main focus, I might have been able to get there quicker.
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Re: How long did it take you to do "Free Flow Reading" without dictionary in your TL?

Postby jammon39 » Tue Oct 05, 2021 7:57 am

I have just read the guidelines of such a super challenge. Don't you think the book length should lie somewhere between 250-400 pages instead of 50 pages? This is puny. Also, movies are less dense because of silent visuals. Don't you think it should be 75-100 seasons of television series? Television series are more language dense. No wonder if you are not C2 as of yet.


Yikes.

Book lengths actually vary by culture and language. Many Bangla novels would actually be considered "novellas" by English novel standards. If you look at rdearman's signature he counts pages, and the novels he's reading are pretty long. 75-100 seasons of tv is nowhwhere close to the time commitment of 100 films. TV series usually vary between 7-25 episodes per season.
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