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asad100101
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 Message 1 of 7
13 November 2007 at 10:29am | IP Logged 
As a beginner, how do you like to read your materials in your target language?

1. Do you read for structures, i mean, paying attention to tiny details like prepositions and articles, and rereading the same sentence many times?

2. Do you simply read for meaning by moving across sentences quickly?

Thanks.



Edited by asad100101 on 13 November 2007 at 10:30am

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frenkeld
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 Message 2 of 7
13 November 2007 at 11:00am | IP Logged 
asad100101 wrote:
As a beginner, ...

1. Do you read for structures, i mean, paying attention to tiny details like prepositions and articles, and rereading the same sentence many times?

2. Do you simply read for meaning by moving across sentences quickly?


Asad,

I once asked the same question and got no answers, so I proceeded to experiment on my own, paying some attention to the reading technique I was, for the most part subconsciously, using.

I found that ramming through a sentence that I can't grasp the structure of is rather pointless - you simply don't get what it says and that's the end of it. What I found myself doing in such cases was reading it over more slowly a few times, and that this was often sufficient to figure out how it was put together.

Now, if the reading matter one uses has too many sentences like that, one can either settle in for a long haul or find an easier text to work with for the time being.

As far as smaller details, I sometimes pause on them, sometimes not - that's really up to you. It's hard to read long works paying attention to every detail, but it can be useful with short articles, stories or excerpts. I once quoted a recommendation for how to read short pieces in this type of learning mode from the Spanish textbook I used. Let me repeat it here:

"You are advised to approach each unit of reading in this way:
First, read the Spanish aloud slowly, making the best you can of the meaning.
Then read over the Spanish more quickly at least twice.
Next read over the translation to get the general sense.
Then go over the piece word for word - Spanish and English - until you understand the sense of each phrase and sentence.
Finally, read the Spanish aloud, thinking with the text, until you feel that you can follow the author as well as if he wrote in your own language.
When you have done this, you should be at home with the new words, grammatical forms, and idioms. Not until you have confidence that you have reached this stage should you proceed.
When you come to a new installment, go back over the preceding installment so that you will not forget the words, etc., that you have learned."

Clearly, one can't possibly read a long text in this mode - this is really for a paragraph by paragraph approach. So, as my own answer to your original question, sometimes you can do it one way, sometimes the other, but I find myself weakening your approach number two, as I already said above, by reading over stubborn sentences a couple of extra times, but only for the purpose of understanding what they say, not for grammatical details. Some also just mark the sentences with unclear grammar or usage for later, more careful analysis.

Otherwise, I find that what works best for me is reading steadily, but if necessary, relatively slowly, without artificially speeding it up to where I start missing more and more of the meaning just so I can go faster. I also don't hesitate rereading a sentence if necessary. The expectation is that as my knowledge improves, so will the natural reading speed. In any case, this is the style of reading I have settled into with my current study of German.


Edited by frenkeld on 14 November 2007 at 9:39am

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asad100101
Diglot
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Pakistan
languagel.blogspot.c
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118 posts - 137 votes 
Speaks: Hindi*, English

 
 Message 3 of 7
15 November 2007 at 5:13am | IP Logged 
Your suggestion makes a lot of sense. I read an article twice in two different modes. I use method number one then followed by method number two. I normally read the same article twice. Of course, I do this with newspaper articles.The thing is, reading the same article twice is taxing for me so I am looking for something different. The same habit is creeping into while reading novels or books. I mean it will take me ages to finish them if I stick to this mode of reading. I have a couple of ideas that are popping into my head.

1. I want to skim articles(or first 25 or 30 pages of novels) quickly for noting down unknown words. Write down their meanings on a separate sheet of people and then read them so that I can read much faster. My enjoyment of reading will not be disrupted this way. Did you try this method before?

2. or simply follow read-listen method. When I follow this method I dont feel like looking up words in the middle of reading.


Thanks for your inputs. Let's see what works best for me.






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frenkeld
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 Message 4 of 7
15 November 2007 at 12:08pm | IP Logged 
asad100101 wrote:
1. I want to skim articles(or first 25 or 30 pages of novels) quickly for noting down unknown words. Write down their meanings on a separate sheet of people and then read them so that I can read much faster. My enjoyment of reading will not be disrupted this way. Did you try this method before?


I've certainly worked through some texts and then read them again. I generally prefer to look up a word while I can see the sentence it is from, so I don't usually compile a list of words to look up all at once, but rather work through a text sentence by sentence. (I may have misunderstood exactly what your proposed method is.) It might be OK to jot down the words to look them up later in some circumstances. I could see myself trying it with a language I know fairly well already, but not with the one I am relatively new to.

I recall patuco once mentioning jotting down new words for later lookup while reading, perhaps he could tell us more about his approach.


Edited by frenkeld on 15 November 2007 at 12:09pm

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Iversen
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 Message 5 of 7
15 November 2007 at 1:34pm | IP Logged 
I have written something in another thread about this subject, but this is my opinion:

there are two kinds of reading. One is the intensive (or active) reading where you try to understand more or less everything (though pondering for hours over an especially contrived construction may not be worth your precious time). This means that you have to look up as many words as you need, you probably have to use a grammar and you may well advised to write a complete ultra-literal translation (with comments) between the lines - at least in the beginning. A bilingual text is a blessing at this stage, but ideally you should only use it for control purposes.

Besides intensive reading it is worthwhile also to get aquainted with the grammar, and it is a logical step also to use the words you note down during the reading for wordlists or flashcards. You can do this kind of reading almost from the beginning, preferably with very easy texts. It certainly is a very slow and laborious process, especially in the beginning, but - depending on the languages - you will soon discover that you can dispense with the complete translation and just jot down the unknown words and the more interesting idioms and constructions.

The other kind of reading is the extensive reading. Here the goal is not to understand everything, but to acquire a kind of momentum while reading, and to get through as much genuine stuff as possible. If you are a total novice and the language is far from anything you know this kind of reading is only possible when you have acquired enough vocabulary and grammar through intensive reading and other activities. But it is bound to take up more and more of the time you spend reading, simply because it is so much more pleasing.


Edited by Iversen on 15 November 2007 at 1:37pm

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asad100101
Diglot
Senior Member
Pakistan
languagel.blogspot.c
Joined 5372 days ago

118 posts - 137 votes 
Speaks: Hindi*, English

 
 Message 6 of 7
16 November 2007 at 3:20am | IP Logged 
frenkeld. my suggested approach is to take a quick glance at first 25-30 pages of a novel (not actually doing reading)but just for the sake of jotting down unknown words. Write them down on a separate sheet of paper with their respective meanings and then start reading. It'll save you from looking up those words during actual readng. It is like preparing wordlists beforehand. I do not know how useful it is, but I can say that I can speed up my reading this way. Using dictionary in the middle of reading takes away all the pleasure and slows me down to a great extent.

Iverson, Thanks for your feeback as well. Guys at Antimoon say that extensive reading is not that useful because we are leaving out a lot of interesting grammar structures in the process. That's why we still make basic grammar mistakes even though we devour one book after another.

Edited by asad100101 on 16 November 2007 at 3:21am

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Iversen
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 Message 7 of 7
16 November 2007 at 4:14am | IP Logged 
asad100101 wrote:
Guys at Antimoon say that extensive reading is not that useful because we are leaving out a lot of interesting grammar structures in the process. That's why we still make basic grammar mistakes even though we devour one book after another.


... and that's why I emphasize that there are two kinds of reading, and that the beginner will have to do most of his/her reading as intensive reading, while the advanced student probably will be reading mostly in the extensive mode.


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