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book lists, or top 10

Can we encourage every course to have a sticky topic with a list of suggested starter books? Like, a top 10 of books that are good for novice learners?

October 25, 2017



No no no =) While I would like such a list there are soo much sticky posts already! How about music? movies? dictionaries? youtube channels? news sites? etc etc..

I'd rather have something like the Norwegian course has done:

The second page contains all kinds of useful resources and lists, although I couldn't find a list of "simple" books there at first glance. But it would be a nice place for such a thing imo


Books, not music, movies, whatever. When you finished a course on DL, you're stuck because you still can't read most novels. There are novels, however, you can read. Reading is a good next step after DL, for learning a language.


I don't disagree with you on the usefulness of books, or a list of "beginner"-titles. However, people learn in different ways, for you that may be books. Someone I know listened to Dutch music all day (really annoying tbh =), and her Dutch is really fluent now). Others (esp. in the Japanese course) watch manga, others watch movies (for example, I have watched many Disney movies in my target audience), or series. All those could have a list of top10 resources for beginners. We can't have stickies for all of them since it would become a mess! If you have a singular "master" post which refers to different useful resources there's way less clutter.

Also, how about resources for learning during your Duo experience? Grammar guides, dictionaries, pronunciation-sites, flashcards, wordlists, conjugation-websites etc. So much possible topics which can have top10 lists. Should all of them have stickies? No way! So what's wrong with a post in which different topics/resources get their list of useful resources?


As an example, when I had learned Spanish, the first novel I read was Cien Años de Soledad. I quickly found out that's not the best book to start with. Then I read other books in Spanish, which were easier. Few years ago I red "Ciudad en Invierno", which is both very good - imho - and doable for someone who isn't 100% fluent. In German I would recommend "Atemschaukel", but not "Der Zauberberg", although both are very good - imho.

I must say, novels are my main source of new vocabolary. Others may find films or vacations more useful.


Well, it's a complex question, but I think that - generally speaking - "high" literature is not the best place to continue studying after Duolingo. My method looks like this: instead of belles-lettres I start reading more schematic texts, especially related to any topic that I'm familiar with. In my case, I usually choose popular books about the history of my homeland. Alternatively, I try to find some middle school history textbooks.

The first and more obvious reason is that classical novels like Cien Años de Soledad contain very "dense" language that is also very often larded with archaisms, neologisms or jargon, while textbooks use higly standarised registers, plus they contain many repetitions of particular words or phrases in various new contexts. The second reason is that choosing these textbooks you are already familiar with those fields that are covered in them, so you have more ways of decoding the language.

For example, I started learning Russian with Bulhakov, but I was forced to check new words every three or four sentences. In cases like that, one simply cannot feel that pleasant "flow" that is necessary to really enjoy literature, ergo the experience is rather frustrating and demotivating.

I understand that you are a literature enthusiast, so after you finish your Czech Duo course, do not start with Hašek or K. Čapek, but rather try to find their popular biographies or maybe some middle school textbooks about the Czech literature. Then try academic textbooks and only then start reading more "demanding" texts.

PS I hope that my post is comprehensible despite (possible) mistakes.


I don't agree with the "sticky" part, however.....a list of starter books, videos and practices would be a great option for each language in the store. Your idea is Lingot worthy!!!


The perfect place for a book list would be beneath the owl. When you finish a course, you get book suggestions.


It's a very good idea! I love books! If you are learning Czech, I would recommend you everthing related to Karel Čapek. Nice stories. And of course, Jan Neruda.
Books were very useful for my English learning. I used the Penguin editorial: simple versions from classics!
And about videos, you can check Krteček, a classic Czech cartoon: https://www.stream.cz/pohadky/krtek
Also on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU68L-QInH8


I love K. Čapek, but I cannot fully agree with this part of your post. I'm Polish so Czech should be very easy for me, but I couldn't enjoy neither "Válka s Mloky" nor "Továrna na absolutno" without a rather long preparation. Of course, K. Čapek also wrote some children's books like "Měl jsem psa a kočku", but trying to read his more "serious" works at the beginning wouldn't allow me to fully enjoy his fantastic sense of humour. Maybe his dramas like "R.U.R." would be easier for a beginner? I'm not sure.

BTW, you have a great "collection" of languages. I'm especially impressed that you are able to learn so many similar languages simultaneously.


I am with you on this. Čapek uses way too much vocabulary. In order for reading to work as a language acquisition tool, it must be enjoyable, so the proportion of unknown vocabulary needs to be as low as possible, and the topic as rewarding as possible. The trouble with someone else's list will be the subjectivity of topic preferences, if not also of the vocabulary already known.

In a Duo thread some time ago, students of Czech as a foreign language liked this side-by-side Czech/French Little Prince (which of course will not be everybody's cup of tea either): http://files.sposs.webnode.cz/200000398-1aac61ba68/Exup%C3%A9ry%20Antoine%20de%20Saint%20-%20Mal%C3%BD%20princ.pdf.


Mods are already under lots of pressure not to make a new sticky without taking an old one down, because stickies have clocked the "Popular" tabs.

I wish we had a separate tab just for stickies for each course. A book/other media list would be great! :D

El leon, la bruja, y el armario was a challenging yet good read once I'd progressed most of the way through the Spanish for English speakers course. My one regret was that I was only able to get a copy of the book in Castillano, instead of a Latin American Spanish translation.

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