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https://www.duolingo.com/damnteddy

Finish duolingo and be able to read a book??

Hey there,

I want to keep myself focused the next year and significally improve my spanish. The goal I want to achieve is to read "The shadow of the wind" by carlos ruiz zafon in its original language! Do you think thats a feasable goal only using duolingo??

Cheers and thank you!

3 years ago

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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I have found ANKI flashcards to be very helpful in building vocabulary.

Also, when you start to read books in a foreign language, use a Kindle Touch or Kindle Paperwhite with bilingual dictionary installed. You will save yourself tons of time and your reading will be so much more enjoyable than if you have a separate dictionary you have to cross reference all the time.

GregHullender recently wrote a very good article about reading a foreign novel on a Kindle

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/damnteddy

I just did some research and it also works with the moon+ reader app and you can select different dictionaries inside of the app. That comes in quite handy for me because I also learned russian and kindle doesn't have a lot of russian literature (can't even find harry potter in russian) and I already have the abby lingvo app for the in-app translation. So overall GREAT TIP! Thank you!! I'll try it now with russian and when it works and I finished the spanish tree I'll try it with spanish as well ;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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I hadn't heard of the moon+ reader. Thanks for mentioning it. I'll mention it to Greg, too. He'll be interested.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GregHullender
GregHullender
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To read a novel, you need a large dictionary. Not sure if Abbysoft's dictionaries are large enough. But definitely try it and see. The other question is whether they handle all the inflected forms. It's very discouraging to press on a word and get nothing because the word was hablaban and only hablar would have worked.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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YES. YES YOU CAN. I'm not quite sure why everyone here is saying no. Once you get through the tree, you will have a solid enough basis to start talking books. It will be really tricky at first, and you'll have to start figuring out your preferred way to build your vocabulary (I use Anki A LOT), but after the Duo tree you should be able to tackle kids books and then slowly work up from there. I highly suggest reading Harry Potter, because most people have read it, and it's targeted at kids, so you'll know the story even if you don't understand a bit, and the language increases in difficulty with each book. You don't need to know every word in a book to understand the story, you just need to know most of them.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/rspreng

No. The Duo tree will not teach you enough vocabulary. Most folks here will say you need to use Duo plus other resources to get a genuine grasp of Spanish.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/superdaisy

I find reading longer texts to be sort of tiring, but it helps to do Immersion (and reading practice elsewhere) to build up your stamina.

No, Duolingo will likely not give you all the vocabulary to read the book without any help, but that doesn't mean its impossible. Surely you come across words you don't understand while reading in your native language? How do you deal with those words? Use the same strategies here, probably in this order:

  1. Re-read the last few sentences and guess from context.

  2. Look at the word and compare it to words you already know, including English words.

    It helps if you know a lot of English word roots because there's overlap between Spanish and English that way.

    My Spanish teacher pointed out that if you have a lot of verb knowledge, you will at least be able to recognize verbs even when they're not conjugated in a familiar way. If you can identify that "volveréis" is from "volver," you can know that someone is returning, somewhere, at some time.

  3. Read on and see whether the meaning is implied or explained.

  4. Look up the word in a dictionary. As others have said, reading an e-book might make this way easy.

When I was in high school, we read really basic short things for Spanish III. Little short stories aimed at the second grade reading level. And then in Spanish IV, we jumped straight to Isabel Allende. Mystical realism was a pretty confusing introduction to high school-level novels! We spent a good amount of time second-guessing our comprehension because surely she didn't have green hair, stuff like that. Skimming with the Cliff Notes in English helped a lot because we didn't have to struggle to keep track of the major events on top of everything else (this was before Spark Notes, Wikipedia, and GoodReads).

tl;dr version of my advice: The sentence complexity may be harder to work around, but you already have strategies to tackle words you don't know. It helps to have Cliff Notes and a dictionary on hand, but you can totally do it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/razorfangius
razorfangius
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I read El Principe de la Niebla and have started El Palacio de la Medionoche by the same author.

It is possible ... but remember that Duolingo Spanish only gives you 1575 words when you finish your tree. So you won't have any trouble with the grammar, but you will have to stop to look up:

"el nube de burbujas" -- the cloud of bubbles "echar por la borda" -- to throw overboard

etc.

So I would recommend doing plenty of immersion after you finish your tree and wait for level 15+ and then have reasonable expectations. You will have to sit with google translate available and you will start by reading at maybe 40 words a minute. But if you stick with it, your speed will pick up and it will get easier as you start to see the same stuff over and over again (dirigido, desarollado, logrado, etc.)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ilmarien
Ilmarien
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La Sombra del Viento is on my list of books to read too, though I don't think I'm ready for it just yet. Duolingo alone won't give you the vocab for that, no.

What I'd do is work up from children's literature to adult literature. I've always made the mistake of jumping right into the difficult stuff first, and always quit about 20 pages in, if even. Reading something lower level will help you get more of a mastery over the language itself and the more common vocabulary, and then you can apply that to something harder afterwards.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/damnteddy

I'd be happy if you write here when you started to read La sombra del viento after the first chapters and tell me how hard it is for you! Thanks!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ilmarien
Ilmarien
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It'll probably be a while, but I'll try to remember! I've got a young adult fantasy author - Laura Gallego Garcia - I'm working my way through first, so my hands are kind of full for the moment.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/damnteddy

wow, thanks a lot for the shared experiences! I might rethink/adjust my goal, to not be too disappointed when I stuggle to read the book but since Zafon wrote youth books at first I might stick to them at first...

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SydneyAndrews

I haven't picked my first big "in the original language" book to read in Spanish yet. For now I'm supplementing duo with articles, dual language stories, resources like Barron's Reading In Spanish, etc.

3 years ago