Last summer I thought that it will take a long time before I’m able to read books in Chinese. But one of my teachers had a different idea and made us all read one book during the autumn semester. Now I can say that I can read and enjoy reading easy Chinese novels!
I used dictionary only two times, as my method was to enjoy reading, not killing the fun with checking every tenth word or so. There isn’t any pinyin, English or Finnish written on the pages. When I encountered a word I didn’t know I tried to guess based on the context and then just moved on.
The book I read is 单身公主 – 相亲记 and I chose it randomly at the biggest book stores in Guangzhou. Our teacher said that love stories are usually easier to understand and I wanted to choose a book which title I could read without a dictionary. The book isn’t the most interesting book out there (so I spent months to read it), but it’s good practice for intermediate learners like me.
How much did I understood?
I’m sure some of you are interested to find out how much I could actually understand from the book, so here is a random page where I underlined in red all the words I could understand. Those that I didn’t underline are the words I didn’t know or wasn’t sure about.
Some parts of the book were as easy as this page and some parts were more difficult. I could follow the main plot quite well, but of course didn’t get to enjoy all the nuances of the writing. I know that some people might think reading this kind of books is a waste of time and I probably wouldn’t read this in English or Finnish. But I want to read some easier books first, and from these kind of books I can learn the modern language. The language that young Chinese people use at the moment.
My goal for 2012
This is just the beginning. Because I love reading in English and Finnish, I also want to be able to read in Chinese. It’s time to set my book reading goal for 2012! I first thought of reading three books this year, but it’s quite an easy goal to reach. I’m going towards fluency so I need to aim higher.
I’m going to read at least five Chinese novels in 2012
Now some of you might think that even five books isn’t enough, but I want to save some time to read my other books aswell. Besides learning Chinese I also want to know as much as possible about Chinese history, so reading about history in English is important for me too.
How many books in Chinese will you read this year?