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Could you learn a different language by reading a book in the language?

I'm trying to learn both German and Japanese at the same time, and there's this series of visual novels that I like that come out in English and Japanese (the creators of the visual novels are Japanese). Would it be worth while to get one or more of the Japanese apps of theirs? Right now I have the English version and Japanese version of a couple of their apps. Could that be helpful or am I wasting my time? I'm also wondering because if this could be helpful, it would be awesome to find books in German that I like, like the German version of Harry Potter or something.

March 12, 2017



If you're good at comparing sentences cross-linguistically, I think it would be a worthwhile investment because you can learn a lot in that way.

You can also use this site, which offers classic literature like Alice in Wonderland in multiple languages and you can read two translations side-by-side. http://bilinguis.com/


Wow, thanks for sharing this; it seems like a really good resource, and I had not heard of it before!


Thanks for this link! I had it before but somehow I lost it.


Thanks! This should be really helpful!


Books are great, and audiobooks are even better. Also, choosing what to read is just as important as choosing how to read it.

This article explains it quite well: Intensive vs. Extensive Reading, by Luca Lampariello.


I would add, if you can find both, you can help yourself avoid tons of pronunciation error by reading along to the taped version


Of course! That's why I prefer audiobooks (well, that, and the fact that they help you get used to the sounds and improve your listening skills). Why not kill two birds with one stone?


Reading is always helpful. Check out https://wormworldsaga.com/, this is a free graphic novel in German and some other languages.


Wow, this is great, thanks! And available in two of my beloved languages,


yes! books are great for helping your language skills. i have a bible in French, and have been able to learn off of it.


Reading a parallel translation in your target language of a book you like is a great way to build vocabulary. Harry Potter is a good example because the translations tend to be of high quality.


You can learn a lot that way, but a word of caution: Do not read something that is older than 1950 or is specifically targeted at children. Even then, some old children's books are not suitable. Someone here recommended "Alice in Wonderland" and this is a book I only recommend when you can already fluently read newspapers in the target language. In other words: When you have already learned that language and try to further improve your skills.

I always recommend the Asterix comics. They are easy stories, funny, and are translated into more languages than any other comic I know, including dead langauges (like Latin), several dying languages and even dialects (editions in various german dialects are available).

Other than that, I recommend easy reading books targeted at young people. My foreign language breakthrough to English were Dragonlance novels. When it comes to Japanese, things are difficult. There are very, very few bilingual books available and at least two of them are too tough for learners of the language.


Ya you totally could it's a Great way to memorize and learn!!


Definitely. Graphic novels and comics are useful because the pictures give you clues to the written dialogue. Also they often use colloquialisms, which grammar books don't and if you want to understand real speakers you need to know these.


Ttly!!!!! Do you know lots or not so much? Happy learning!!!


I think that if you put lots of effort into it, something good will come out of it for you. Keep up the good work!


It helps if you're at least intermediate level before attempting them, but it couldn't hurt to give them a try, especially if the visual novels are voiced. What's the name of the series BTW? Always looking for more good visual novel games. ^-^


Reading is excellent for learning a language, but you have to know the basics (unless it's a language very similar to your mother tongue). Since you're learning German, I can recommend you these series of easy to read books especially designed for beginners: "Dino Lernt Deutsch" They helped me a lot. You can find them on iBooks and other similar places. Here's the first chapter: https://youtu.be/vUXcYTjINtI


Books are a great way to learn (reading comprehension of) a language. However, I don't advise you to compare two versions of a book while you're reading. Just read the book in English, and then read it again in Japanese/German. I used this technique myself when I was studying Spanish, read Harry Potter in Spanish, it was great because I learned a lot of vocabulary about magics and stuff.

There is just one little thing that might be difficult. You have to have a more or less good grammar and vocabulary background if you want to do so. You can't for instance read Harry Potter if you don't know half the words and the structures used in it. Also, when doing so, try not to systematically translate what you're reading to English.

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