Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The past is a foreign language

Over at Shelfari's Who Doesn't Love a Classic group, Jennifer of Lit Endeavors started a discussion of reading in a foreign language, and it got me thinking. I took four years of french in junior high and high school.  It must have sunk in as I was able to test out of the language requirement at my BS school, and passed the requirement for my MA program. But I've not really done much with it other wise.  Although I did impress myself, when a couple years ago when I rented one of Eddie Izzard's dvds, I understood the joke in french he did at the end of the show.

So I think I'm going to take my own suggested I put in the discussion thread.  Find a YA book or book and try reading them in French, then move on to classic or more adult oriented titles once I got the hang of it.  I've decided that the Harry Potter series would be a good one. Between reading the American versions, the audio books, movies, and the plan to get the British versions, I know it pretty well so should probably be able to reference and follow it pretty well in French. Although looking on Ebay I see a LOTR set and a collection of some classic French works at reasonable prices.

So anyone else read in French or not your native language? Or have a suggestion on something for me to try in French?


Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

I can read in French. I have the French version of the first Harry Potter book sitting on my shelf, but when I started reading it I wasn't sure if I was understanding the novel because my French reading abilities are strong or simply because I'm already familiar with the novel :-)

If you really want to test your ability to read in French I'd recommend trying something you're not already familiar with. I'm not sure what I'd start with though...maybe stick to something in the YA genre.

Sarah said...

I picked up a set of LOTR and a selection of french plays and novels off of Ebay today, and while I've read LOTR and seen the movies a few times, I don't know them as well.

I would think reading Harry Potter in french will probably help with vocabulary. I know there's conjugations or other verbs I've forgotten, so knowing the context already would let me focus on the vocab, in theory. Will have to see, the auction on those doesn't close for a few days, so have time to think about it.

Reading Angel said...

I can't read anything other language, but I would love to be able to! I think Harry Potter would be a great choice!

Marisa said...

Hope you have fun with Harry Potter in French! The house names and a few things have been changed to make more sense in French (i.e. play on the fantasy association or play on words, etc.). I'm a bilingual reader (French/English), but I also try to boost my reading in foreign languages like Spanish.

Bonne lecture!