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How many books until fluency

  Tags: Fluency | Reading | Book
 Language Learning Forum : Books, Literature & Reading Post Reply
15 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
glidefloss
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3863 days ago

138 posts - 154 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, French

 
 Message 1 of 15
15 October 2015 at 8:06pm | IP Logged 
How many books do I need to read to reach a high level of Spanish?

I have lived in Mexico for a little more than a year. I can understand movies, but I have problems speaking.

I have listened to Harry Potter 1-7 audiobooks in Spanish. I have listened to 100 years of solitute many times.

I have also read books with the titles, Zetas, En el camino, Estrella distante, and I have just started En Llamas (2nd Hunger Games book).

I have found that reading this hunger games book is fairly easy. I have seen the movie, but the language is requiring much less effort.

How many books does it typically take to reach a high level of understanding? I realize you can make of this question what you wish, or dissect it and say there's no answer etc. I'm just looking for averages or personal stories, like : After I had read 20 books in French, I found that my level was much improved, and I could read easily.
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daegga
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Austria
lang-8.com/553301
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Speaks: German*, EnglishC2, Swedish, Norwegian
Studies: Danish, French, Finnish, Icelandic

 
 Message 2 of 15
15 October 2015 at 10:04pm | IP Logged 
For a high level of spoken <insert language>? Maybe a handful, plus 1000+ hours of audio
input.
For a high level of written <insert language>? Many. 5000-10000 pages (see Super
Challenge) are a good start. Get a lot more if you want to get really good.

Some factors are language-dependent, and I haven't tried Spanish. The numbers are just
very rough guidelines.

Edited by daegga on 15 October 2015 at 10:12pm

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James29
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3270 days ago

1265 posts - 2112 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French

 
 Message 3 of 15
15 October 2015 at 10:16pm | IP Logged 
Good question. I'm interested to hear responses. I've read about 1,500,000 words of Spanish (novels) in about the last 14+ months. My guess is that equates to roughly 12 regular sized adult novels (I count words instead of books because it avoids the issue of having long or short books). I feel like I need to still read much more. I can read popular adult novels translated into Spanish pretty easily, but there are always several words per chapter I have to look up. It has helped my listening comprehension quite a bit and has helped my vocabulary a ton, but I don't think it has helped my spoken grammar much at all or the fluidity of the way I speak.    
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Expugnator
Hexaglot
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Brazil
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Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
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 Message 4 of 15
16 October 2015 at 4:20pm | IP Logged 
I can speak for Norwegian because that would be more or less the equivalent of a native speaker learning Spanish (Spanish is already transparent for a Portuguese speaker):

My figures are currently 3000 pages in Norwegian. I realize I need some intensive reading (looking words up) to progress - today I found the excerpt I read more difficult and so there were several lines I couldn't understand, but all in all I think with 2000 more pages I will have reached a comfortable level for understanding literature. I can already understand non-fiction or contemporary literature about contemporary subjects by looking up 2-5 words each page. It's this one book I'm reading, that mentiones biblical stories that bring up more trouble.
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jeff_lindqvist
Diglot
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SwedenRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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Studies: German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Mandarin, Esperanto, Irish, French
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 Message 5 of 15
16 October 2015 at 5:45pm | IP Logged 
Read the threads Cheating and Consolidating and Extensive reading. There's a lot of good info there.
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Mork the Fiddle
Senior Member
United States
Joined 1864 days ago

86 posts - 158 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Norwegian, Latin, Ancient Greek

 
 Message 6 of 15
16 October 2015 at 7:38pm | IP Logged 
I read about 1,200,000 words of French and I can now read it easily. Among the authors I read were Proust and Alain-Fournier. I read maybe 900,000-1,000,000 words of Spanish and I can read it easily, too, but not quite as easily as French. Among the authors I read were García Márquez and Manuel Puig.

"Easily" does not mean that I know every word I come across or that I never look up a word in Kindle or a hard-copy dictionary. It does mean I can skip the look-up and still have a very good idea of what is going on 99% of the time.
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James29
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 3270 days ago

1265 posts - 2112 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French

 
 Message 7 of 15
16 October 2015 at 10:43pm | IP Logged 
Mork, how much did you do in French in addition to the 1,200,000 words? Did you already have a pretty good base in French (other than reading)?
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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
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 Message 8 of 15
17 October 2015 at 1:47am | IP Logged 
It takes time. You can rush it up to a certain point but there's a point of diminishing returns.
I've not read 10k book pages in English or Finnish. I've definitely read more Italian than English, yet I'm only knocking on the door of basic fluency. Reading is great, but quality is much more important than quantity. (but paradoxically this means that for a vast majority of learners, Twilight is a better choice than War and Peace)


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