Reading Habits #3: Foreign Language Books

… or reading novels in a language other than your own.

I love language.  I love it’s components and variations, I could talk about English forever and God forbid you get me started on the importance of English speakers learning a foreign language… or, you know, three or four.  I love languages and I always have, and this is why I am always thankful that I began learning German in Primary school at age 5.  I continued with it through highschool, and eventually won a scholarship for one year’s exchange when I was 15.  Thanks to this, I am able to speak, write, and most importantly, read in a language other than my own.

I won’t say that I read for pleasure in German, because it’s definitely something I do to more to challenge myself, but it is something that I can do without keeping a dictionary by my side.  I don’t understand every word, but I can make my way through and understand the story.  Along with the challenge of comprehension, I read in German to continue my study of the language.  Reading prose as opposed to a textbook shows you how the language works and fits together and I find it fascinating.  And fascinating though it may be, it doesn’t feed my appetite for a good book.

So yes, it takes me a little longer (sometimes a lot longer) to read in German, and I’m not in it purely for the fun of it, but I, a native English speaker, am READING a BOOK in a FOREIGN LANGUAGE.  And that is an achievement in itself.

What about you?  Do you read in a language other than your own?  Do you keep a dictionary on you?  Do you do it for fun?  Let me know.


5 thoughts on “Reading Habits #3: Foreign Language Books

  1. Well I would certainly love to learn something widely spoken in Europe (Like German, Italian or French!), but since English isn’t my mother tongue, I think it’s mandatory that I learn to read a book in a ‘foreign’ language, which is English itself 🙂 However, I do find it a whole lot easier to read books in English than in Filipino, because the words are simpler and the vocabulary is wider, so it’s not easy to misinterpret statements. But I think that if I got to read a book in a language other than those, I’d be very proud of myself too. So kudos to you!

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  3. I’m minoring in Italian, and I’m just getting to the point where reading a book in Italian isn’t absolutely daunting! Part of the class I’m in currently involves reading a novel in its original Itailan, and I love it. I can definitely see doing it not for fun, like you said, but to challenge myself. I most certainly need a dictionary, though. 🙂 I imagine it’s always better to read a book in its original language, though most of us don’t have that ability. Maybe one day I’ll read The Inferno!

    Great post!!

  4. That’s great! I minored in Italian, too, so I’m know where you’re coming from – but The Inferno? Ambitious indeed! I’m totally with you about the whole ‘reading in the original language’ thing, I feel the same way. Best of luck with your reading!

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