Reading is an excellent way to create lots of input language learning in your routine. As a beginner though, it can be difficult to understand what’s going on without constantly looking for words in the dictionary. This makes it difficult to stay motivated. Wouldn’t it be nice to keep on reading without an army of interruptions at your doorstep? Well, were you aware of the wonderful existence of bilingual books? Few people are. I’m not talking about that precious bilingual dictionary. I’m talking about actual novels written in two languages side-by-side; a true language-learning hidden gem. As a beginner, you can read the paragraph in English, then read the same paragraph again translated in your new language. Pretty cool, huh? We absolutely love these books; they are incredibly effective.
Sure, you can always use your eBook reader to translate sections of text you select in any book. But it’s always better to read something translated by a real person rather than a digital robot, which may not always be accurate. No offense, Roboto. Having the English version of the text as a companion makes it much easier to make deductions and understand the meaning of each paragraph. It’s also quite effortless to find the translations you’re looking for if you don’t understand a sentence; just look at the paragraph next to it! It makes the whole language-learning reading experience much more fluid and enjoyable.
As you get better in your new language, you don’t always have to read the English parts. Simply use the translations as a reference to help you when you don’t understand. You can gradually and seamlessly increase the difficulty as you get more confident. Using the book’s translation as a reference instead of an online translator will ensure that the words are used correctly and in the right context. Words often have different translations for specific situations and a books translated by professionals are much more likely to be accurate. Remember to use these books as a tool and experiment to find the way they can benefit you the most. Find material that interests you and that will keep your attention.
The only downside to bilingual books is that they aren’t all that widespread. Depending on the language you want to learn, the selection may be limited. You should still be able to find several titles in many languages. There are a couple of keywords you can use to find these books on the web. Go to your favorite online book store and look for the following terms: “bilingual book”, “bilingual edition”, “dual-language”, “parallel text” or “learning edition”. Experiment with these keywords a bit and you are sure to find something you’ll find interesting. You will likely find a lot of children bilingual books; “The Cat in the Hat” for example, is excellent for language-learning purposes (as well as learning about green eggs and ham). If you are looking for something a bit more advanced, try including an author’s name in your search. There are many free or cheap classic books available because the copyright laws protecting them have expired. Search for classic authors like: “The Brothers Grimm”, “Mark Twain”, “Oscar Wilde”, “Lewis Carroll”, or “Charles Dickens”. If you are looking for a Spanish bilingual novel on Amazon for example, you could type something like: “Spanish bilingual edition Charles Dickens“. Look at the pictures showing the inside of the book to make sure it has parallel text, meaning both languages side-by-side, before you purchase it.
Granted, the titles available can be limited and difficult to find, but the search is highly worth it. Bilingual books can serve as a powerful tool to practice reading and learning tons of words in your new language. Ever wondered what the original Alice in Wonderland is all about? You now have the perfect opportunity to discover these classic tales while learning a language at the same time. Awesome!
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