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Old 27th November 2022, 02:00 PM   #1
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Reading anthology for language study

I've been studying the German language for the last four years while living in the US. (I came in the US at the age of 28 in 1998 primarily to learn English).

The last four years I've been trying to put different levels of emphasis on reading, listening and practice. Of course practice really lacks. So I'm mostly experimenting in reading and listening, that is between reading and listening contemporary material and classic material. (Literature x radio).

I can't seem to gain the momentum I want. My goal is to reach proficiency in understanding rather than speaking. It's going slow.

I started thinking maybe I should read poetry. Poetry is more intensely speaking to the imagination and emotions than prose. I think the more vividly I expose my mind to the target language the more it will stick, and the more in-context it'll be.

Unfortunately I can't benefit from my experience in learning English. Because I learned it while living it, so that experience is not helping me much with this struggle.

If anyone has an opinion on using my study time with German anthology (primarily) I'd like to hear that. Thank you.

Last edited by Skeptic General; 27th November 2022 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 27th November 2022, 06:35 PM   #2
Delvo
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Here is a forum where helpful people with an interest in linguistics & language-learning answer questions and give advice to others who go there to ask for help in trying to learn their languages:

https://forum.wordreference.com/foru...sch-german.18/

It has subforums for other languages but I linked straight to the German one. You can post there in German or in English or another language, but of course most others have lower odds that somebody else there will know it and be able to answer you.

In case your native language is Spanish, the same website also has a second subforum that's specifically for German-learners whose native language is Spanish:

https://forum.wordreference.com/foru...ol-deutsch.62/

That's the best place I know of for learners of foreign languages to get all kinds of feedback & assistance. The questions are usually about a specific word, phrase, or grammatical detail, but the same group of people also have experience in finding things to read (and listen to).

* * *

From what I've seen there with people trying to learn English, poetry and song lyrics are more of a hindrance than a help. They tend to be too different from the way the language really works because poets & lyricists like to catch their audience's attention with their odd linguistic choices, which only causes more confusion for foreigners.

* * *

I was confused at first by what you wrote, and I believe it's because you slightly misused the English word "anthology". An anthology is a collection of short writings that have been gathered by a publisher (a book publishing company) to be produced and published as a single book. I don't know of any such book in German to recommend, but I doubt that's what you meant. If you meant you wanted to find out what might be in other people's personal collections, then a question like "what's in your book/literature collection" would work, but a reader's personal collection is not an anthology because it's not a single book assembled by a publishing company.

Last edited by Delvo; 27th November 2022 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 27th November 2022, 09:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
I was confused at first by what you wrote, and I believe it's because you slightly misused the English word "anthology". An anthology is a collection of short writings that have been gathered by a publisher (a book publishing company) to be produced and published as a single book. I don't know of any such book in German to recommend, but I doubt that's what you meant. If you meant you wanted to find out what might be in other people's personal collections, then a question like "what's in your book/literature collection" would work, but a reader's personal collection is not an anthology because it's not a single book assembled by a publishing company.
Yes I think I should've said anthology of poetry.
Thanks for correcting it.

I'm at my 4th year of my study. I grew up speaking German (0-7). But after 7 forgot what I knew as a child. The poetry I occasionally read is not confusing to me. I'm weighing benefits against harm (in my case wasting time - i don't worry about confusion). I'm not looking for a perfect method. What might be bad for one can be good for another. I wanted to discuss if the effect of poetry in emotion and imagination would create superior retention of vocabulary over prose.

Last edited by Skeptic General; 27th November 2022 at 09:07 PM.
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Old 27th November 2022, 10:48 PM   #4
jt512
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I've been studying German for about the last four years or so, as well. I'll tell you what my daily routine has been for about the last year. I don't know how much of it you will find useful because my priorities are different form yours; in descending order, they are listening comprehension, speaking, and reading comprehension. But, here's what I've been doing. Every morning:

1. Listen to Tagesschau in 100 Sekunden, a <2 min. summary of the day's news, from the tagesschau.de website.

2. Get the program transcribed at happyscribe.com (this costs $0.20/min., which is like nothing)

3. Read the transcript on LingQ.com. On LingQ, you can click on any word you don't know, and see the translation immediately, so you don't waste time looking words up.

4. Make Anki flashcards (www.ankiapp.com) of any words or phrases that I want to learn.

5. Go through my Anki flashcards. Anki keeps track of how often you get a word right or wrong and uses a spaced repetition algorithm to show you that word when the algorithm suggests you're about to forget it, so it's very efficient. Although I have thousands of Anki flashcards, Anki only shows me 25–100 a day.

I go through the same routine with other German online content of interest. Every German radio and TV station has a website where you can listen to or watch both live and archived programs. You will need a VPN to access some of it from outside the country (I recommend Surfshark).
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Old 27th November 2022, 11:27 PM   #5
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I don't believe in a school-like study. I can't make it a burden. It has to come natural, in entertainment form. I listen to German radios throughout the day. Or I listen to one of multiple audio books I have.

The first couple years I only used the 1001 Nacht. I had read the Arabien Nights 1-1/2 times when I was learning English. So the familiarity is what I took advantage of. I read about 1200 pages out of the 2000. I can understand the stories without having to use dictionary. Most my grammar needs got met through reading this book. When it stopped being entertaining then I switched to other reading material. But so far nothing gives me the momentum I had from reading that book.
I just ordered a-1380-page-poetry-book from Germany. We'll see..(Der große Conrady: Das Buch deutscher Gedichte).
Right now I'm tasting Verse für Zeitgenossen (Mascha Kaleko).
The reason I'm going with a poetry anthology is that a single poet tends to have the same emotion and theme throughout one (or all) book/s.
That won't be a lasting reading for me.
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Old 27th November 2022, 11:31 PM   #6
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I'm not looking for general advice in learning language.
I posted a specific question.

"I wanted to discuss if the effect of poetry in emotion and imagination would create superior retention of vocabulary over prose."
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Old 28th November 2022, 01:04 AM   #7
jt512
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Originally Posted by Skeptic General View Post
I'm not looking for general advice in learning language.
I posted a specific question.

"I wanted to discuss if the effect of poetry in emotion and imagination would create superior retention of vocabulary over prose."

You're welcome.
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Old 20th December 2022, 06:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Skeptic General View Post
I've been studying the German language for the last four years while living in the US. (I came in the US at the age of 28 in 1998 primarily to learn English).

The last four years I've been trying to put different levels of emphasis on reading, listening and practice. Of course practice really lacks. So I'm mostly experimenting in reading and listening, that is between reading and listening contemporary material and classic material. (Literature x radio).

I can't seem to gain the momentum I want. My goal is to reach proficiency in understanding rather than speaking. It's going slow.

I started thinking maybe I should read poetry. Poetry is more intensely speaking to the imagination and emotions than prose. I think the more vividly I expose my mind to the target language the more it will stick, and the more in-context it'll be.

Unfortunately I can't benefit from my experience in learning English. Because I learned it while living it, so that experience is not helping me much with this struggle.

If anyone has an opinion on using my study time with German anthology (primarily) I'd like to hear that. Thank you.
As somebody who studied German back when it was brand new, I find poetry to be less useful than prose in learning the language. This is because poetry, by its very nature, tends to use language atypically. Nobody talks like Rilke writes.

That said, things like rhyme and meter help with retention. So doggerly verse may actually be better than more artistic poetry. I don't remember one line of the Duino Elegies, but I can rattle off whole verses of Deutschland ein Wintermärchen or Lenore. Somebody like Heine might be good. Not all that "high art" poetic, but his language use is relatively natural, his subject matter topical, and he can be wickedly funny and witty.

Maybe children's poetry? dunno. I can *still* recite "die Geschichte von Daumenlutscher" from memory, in spite of not having looked at Struvvelpeter in years.

Stepping outside verse, I found one of the most useful things to read was good translations of popular English language books that I've already read. When I was in Germany in the '90s I was on a Michael Crichton tear, so I got translations of things like "Kongo" and "Dino-Park (Jurassic Park)". I found that to be quite helpful.

Last edited by Reformed Offlian; 20th December 2022 at 06:45 PM. Reason: added some more examples.
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