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Amara September 21, 2012 09:36 PM

Reading Spanish-language Books To Improve Fluency
What do you think of reading Spanish-language as a way to increase Spanish fluency?

How effective do you think that it would be, and what advice do you have before I proceed?

Do you frequently read books in your target language?

zuma022 September 22, 2012 09:37 AM

I do try to read a fair bit. I think it helps with getting the flow of the language and helping with vocabulary and of course reading comprehension. I don't think reading books alone will make you fluent but to me it's an important part. I feel that I learn that I don't need to understand every word to get the gist of it, which I think is an important skill in listening comprehension.

Kunstliebhaber September 22, 2012 10:39 AM


Originally Posted by Amara (Post 128652)
What do you think of reading Spanish-language as a way to increase Spanish fluency?

How effective do you think that it would be, and what advice do you have before I proceed?

Do you frequently read books in your target language?

Reading is the most effective and flawless, perfect way to master a language.

When I was in high school, some classmates of mine never read a book and when they had to do it, they read even worse than an illiterate or a kid learning to read for the first time.

That's a shame, indeed.

Oh, and just saying: They didn't even know how to write properly and their arguments were worse than fallacies.

In conclusion: Reading just not makes you better in a language, but makes you smarter too.

BenCondor September 22, 2012 11:23 AM

A trick I've learned is to write out translations in English (or your native language) for texts being read in the target language. It's often amazing how much that you think you understand isn't really understood at all. "False friends" especially can throw you into guessing an incorrect meaning.

A caveat though. Don't dwell on the translation once completed. Learn the words in the target language and try not to look at the translation when you're re-reading the original text.

Glen September 22, 2012 06:53 PM

I think it depends on what you want to do with the language: if it's mainly to become a translator, then reading and writing in both languages is essential, but if it's mainly to become an interpreter then reading is probably somewhat less important than listening and speaking. Even so, all four elements are necessary, in varying degrees according to what your ultimate goal is.

I like to read plays, since the dialogue is immediately useful in everyday situations; and comics, just because the characters speak plainly and simply!

Qazsdec September 25, 2012 09:50 PM

Creo que es vital para aprender el idioma. El español es un idioma muy vasto, así que tienes que tener cuidado con qué autor lees. No vas a comenzar con un autor barroco pues. Personalmente, creo que deberías comenzar por los cuentos que las novelas. Estoy pensando en autores, pero no se me ocurren muchos para comenzar; creo que lo mejor sería que escogas autores que ya hayas leído en inglés (que te hayan gustado) y cuya prosa sea simple. Te recomiendo al japonés Haruki Murakami.

magicrob October 30, 2012 08:47 AM

Agree with all points above. I would add though, that as a way of gaining vocabulary it can cause problems - I remember reading a couple of books by Eduardo Mendoza, and took note of some interesting vocabulary I found. When I finally managed to slip those words into conversation (I think one was "rimbombante"), I got some strange looks. People just don't really use those kinds of words.

That was my fault for basically trying to show off. When using books for vocab, it's great for developing passive vocab, but with active vocab be careful because many authors have their own ways of writing, and you can end up sounding quite unnatural.

JPablo October 31, 2012 09:31 PM


Who gave you "strange looks" for "rimbombante"?

It's a pretty common word in Spain... unless you pronounced in a weird way...?

The way to develop an active vocabulary is to understand the terms as you go, and actually make up sentences of your own, with the new terms (something from 10 to 20 sentences), so you get familiar enough... (You can also google the word or check it in CREA and see the examples there...)

And don't be afraid to make mistakes, it's better to make a mistake and ask people to help you fixing it up, than to refrain yourself from communicating.

My 2 euros...

Link to a search for "rimbombante" in CREA

chileno October 31, 2012 10:45 PM

I concur with JPablo.

magicrob November 01, 2012 11:10 AM

True - "rimbombante" was perhaps a poor example - and trying out new vocabulary should always be encouraged. I guess my point was that each writer has their own idiosyncracies, which may not lead to the most "natural" sounding Spanish. When reading literature in Spanish, it can be hard to be aware of the register or style used - so what's literary may not be right for a conversation.

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