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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 73 of 295
20 January 2014 at 7:23pm | IP Logged 
ummagumma wrote:
Snap!

I have a Kindle and the Collins pop up dictionary. I find it great and makes the whole
reading process easier.

Thanks for bringing our attention to the Duden mono German dictionary. I will consider
transitioning but obviously for this to be practical I have to be confident I can get a
proper understanding, repeatedly, of the German translation. But as you mention, with the
dictionary being free, I have nothing to lose by trying it out.


The Kindle plus Collins is really great.

I don't know what level you are, but you might want to think about getting a subscription to die Zeit. It's a great weekly German newspaper with a similar scope to the Guardian. The Kindle subscription is only 8 euros/month (I think).

Die Zeit

Edited by patrickwilken on 20 January 2014 at 7:53pm

1 person has voted this message useful



patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 74 of 295
22 January 2014 at 12:38pm | IP Logged 
Narrow reading, wide gaps

With the new year I have started to read more 'adult' books. I just finished "Südlich der Grenze, westlich der Sonne" by Haruki Murakami, and earlier in the month the first of the Harry Hole mysteries, "Der Fledermausmann" by Jo Nesbø, and "Gammler, Zen und hohe Berge" by Jack Kerouac.

It really feels like my vocabulary has taken a big step forward, but it really is surprising how I will suddenly hit a wall in my understanding. I flew through Kerouac, but reading the 30 page essay on Kerouac and Snyder at the end felt like I was wading through treacle. I have started reading articles from the weekly newspaper, Die Zeit, in the morning and suddenly feel like I have gone back at least six months in my learning.

I have similar experiences with films. I am currently watching the third season of the Sons of Anarchy (recommended). Although I understand a lot of what's going on, there are still big gaps in my understanding of conversations. On the other hand I watched "Strange Days" and "The Mothman Prophecies" in the last week and had no trouble at all understanding pretty much everything people said.

I don't think this can be just put down to good and bad days or to grammar. There just seems to be interesting limits to my vocabulary, and that is surprising in so far as I have had the expectation that as my general vocabulary improved I would be able to access all genres relatively equally (albeit with the need to learn a relatively small specialized vocabulary associated with each).

What I think I am realizing now is that while there are some very low frequency words associated with each genre (e.g., words like "crime scene" in thrillers, and "spaceship" in scifi), there are a ton of mid-frequency words that are associated with each genre (or even author). The upshot of which is that you can get extremely fluent in a particular area, but suddenly take a *big* hit in understanding when you read something else.

While I like the idea of "narrow reading", at my intermediate level I feel I have to start what you might call wide reading if I am ever going to get to C1, since while you can probably ignore or pick-up the low frequency words as needed, the mid-frequency words can't so easily be done without.

Edited by patrickwilken on 22 January 2014 at 7:58pm

8 persons have voted this message useful



Gemuse
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 2381 days ago

818 posts - 1189 votes 
Speaks: English
Studies: German

 
 Message 75 of 295
22 January 2014 at 5:48pm | IP Logged 
Have you tried some vocabulary books Patrick?
1 person has voted this message useful



Fuenf_Katzen
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
notjustajd.wordpress
Joined 2668 days ago

337 posts - 476 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Polish, Ukrainian, Afrikaans

 
 Message 76 of 295
22 January 2014 at 5:55pm | IP Logged 
Die Zeit is a tough one. I became overly ambitious last year and moved on to that one right after Deutsche Welle became too easy. I chose that one because I read on a forum somewhere that it was definitely for C1 level and above, so I figured it would stretch my vocabulary. I definitely had the 6 month regression period! It's better now, but I admit I typically read in the Gesellschaft and Wissen sections which probably makes it easier (I really don't like to read current news events and would rather read things where I can learn new information).
2 persons have voted this message useful



geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2987 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 77 of 295
22 January 2014 at 6:00pm | IP Logged 
If the actual newspaper of Die Zeit is too tough, start with the articles free online at
www.zeit.de--they seem to be much easier. I spent a little while making vocabulary flash
cards from those a few years ago, maybe 10 a day, and after about a month I started to
feel much more comfortable with news vocabulary in general.
4 persons have voted this message useful



patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 78 of 295
22 January 2014 at 7:53pm | IP Logged 
So nice to have all these German learners on my blog!

Gemuse wrote:
Have you tried some vocabulary books Patrick?


I put lists from Themen Aktuell for a while in Anki, and then when I started reading books I started putting words/sentences from the books into Anki as well. But after about a year of Anki I decided to just read and let my vocabulary naturally develop. I quickly look up words I don't know on the Kindle as I go, but don't make any other effort to memorize them. So far that's been working very well.

Fuenf_Katzen wrote:
Die Zeit is a tough one. I became overly ambitious last year and moved on to that one right after Deutsche Welle became too easy. I chose that one because I read on a forum somewhere that it was definitely for C1 level and above, so I figured it would stretch my vocabulary. I definitely had the 6 month regression period! It's better now, but I admit I typically read in the Gesellschaft and Wissen sections which probably makes it easier (I really don't like to read current news events and would rather read things where I can learn new information).


That makes me feel much better! I've been focusing on the politics section, partly because it's at the start, but also because I live in Germany and want to know what Germany is thinking about the world. Perhaps I should check out their special section written for children first! :)

geoffw wrote:
If the actual newspaper of Die Zeit is too tough, start with the articles free online at www.zeit.de--they seem to be much easier.


That's a good tip, but I have a Kindle subscription and it's relatively easy to read with the Kindle and dictionary, and the Kindle is nice as I have a week to slowly and systematically work through the entire paper. The only problem is that there are a lot of words not in the dictionary.

geoffw wrote:
I spent a little while making vocabulary flash
cards from those a few years ago, maybe 10 a day, and after about a month I started to
feel much more comfortable with news vocabulary in general.


I think in general that's a great idea. The problem is that I sort of OD'ed on flashcards. At the moment I think I'll suck-it-up and see how it goes for the next few weeks. If I am still having lots of trouble I might make a new deck in Anki.

Edited by patrickwilken on 22 January 2014 at 8:03pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2987 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 79 of 295
22 January 2014 at 8:15pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:

geoffw wrote:
I spent a little while making vocabulary flash
cards from those a few years ago, maybe 10 a day, and after about a month I started to
feel much more comfortable with news vocabulary in general.


I think in general that's a great idea. The problem is that I sort of OD'ed on
flashcards. At the moment I think I'll suck-it-up and see how it goes for the next few
weeks. If I am still having lots of trouble I might make a new deck in Anki.


I think flashcards in general are a great idea--in theory. In practice, I'm allergic to
them, and I sympathize completely with anyone who runs away screaming from the thought of
flashcards.
3 persons have voted this message useful



patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2832 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 80 of 295
22 January 2014 at 9:02pm | IP Logged 
geoffw wrote:
patrickwilken wrote:

geoffw wrote:
I spent a little while making vocabulary flash
cards from those a few years ago, maybe 10 a day, and after about a month I started to
feel much more comfortable with news vocabulary in general.


I think in general that's a great idea. The problem is that I sort of OD'ed on
flashcards. At the moment I think I'll suck-it-up and see how it goes for the next few
weeks. If I am still having lots of trouble I might make a new deck in Anki.


I think flashcards in general are a great idea--in theory. In practice, I'm allergic to
them, and I sympathize completely with anyone who runs away screaming from the thought of
flashcards.


I used to add unknown words that I came across while reading into Anki. At a certain point I started reading much faster than I could learn cards (I ended up with something like a 3-month gap that was getting ever bigger). At this point I realized I could either read less or not worry about cards so much.

A lot of my cards were 'sentence cards' anyway. And I figured I could see the same sentence X-times or X-sentences once in a book. I thought the book option was more fun.

Anki is great to build your vocabulary up to the point where you can start using native materials. After that point I am not so sure (esp. if you consider the time you make/use the cards could be spend reading).

Edited by patrickwilken on 22 January 2014 at 9:06pm



1 person has voted this message useful



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