1Mw: 70000 german words read

I’ve passed 70000 words in german now. I’ve been reading every day, and lately i’ve been listening to audiobooks at the same time. The gains are not as immediately visible as they were at the start when i was just reacquainting myself with the language, but the gains are still solid and consistent. There’s probably a lot that i’m learning without realizing it, but i’m still getting some “Aha!” moments all the time.

Currently i’m reading Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens (chamber of secrets), and also listening to the audiobook. I’m really liking this Listening-Reading method, as it more clearly cements the sounds of german in my head. For the last few nights i’ve been dreaming in german, and at random times through the day i notice that there’s a lot of “german chatter” happening in my head. Bits of phrases just turn over and morph into other phrases, like my brain is randomly walking the space of german.

The other benefit of Listening-Reading is that i can follow the story much more easily. The guy reading it does a lot of funny voices for the different characters and puts a lot of enthusiasm into the presentation, so it really allows me to understand a lot more of the situation, and pick up more meaning from that. It adds more context through tone of voice than i would otherwise get because of my lack of vocab.

This story definitely feels a lot easier to understand than the other book i was reading that had no audio. This could also be because harry potter is pretty easy reading anyway…this is book 2 and it’s really simplified and aimed at kids. I remember trying to read the english version once and i just couldn’t continue because all the plot points were reiterated so many times. But this becomes a great feature for someone learning a language.

Now, when i was back at 20000 words, it felt like 1M words was terribly far away, but now that i’m 7% of the way there, it doesn’t seem so far. I’m quite curious to see what my german reading skills are like once i’ve hit 1M.

I just looked back into the previous book and flipped back to page one. I remember not being able to get much at the time, just a word here and there, barely enough to get the idea of the story. Now it’s actually quite understandable, so my progress has actually gone further than i thought. Strangely, i don’t know the exact meaning of all the words, but they seem more familiar and i can guess a broad meaning for a lot of them that gives a partial understanding of the text.

This is definitely motivational. It’s good to go back and check on previous things and have journal entries to tell you what you thought about it several weeks ago so that you can compare. Keep reading, and improvement will magically happen!


4 Responses to 1Mw: 70000 german words read

  1. Keith says:

    I like how you’ve termed that, “German chatter.”
    That is a good word. That is what I was talking about when I said that I would hear Chinese in my head after watching about 5 or more hours of TV.

  2. Jim Morrison says:

    I have just found your blog.
    Very interesting reading as I am also trying to brush up on my rusty German.

  3. Hi,

    I’m looking to do something similar with Spanish. I have bought the first Harry Potter book and the audiobook. When you say you are listening/reading, you mean all in German(L2) right? I’ve heard some people say they listen in L1 and read in L2, but I think that would not be as effective since it’d be too easy to slip into blocking out the L2 audio. Your thoughts on this please?

    Thank you!

    • doviende says:

      I’ve heard people doing it successfully both ways. If it’s a difficult language, then you usually want to do a bit more prep work and start with reading L1 while listening to L2. For languages that are much closer to English, like German and Spanish (since English has many latin-based loan words), you’ll be able to guess a lot more words, so I find it quite productive to read the L2 as well. The best option, of course, is to have a parallel text so that you can look across at the English version whenever you want.

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