No matter how skilled you are at learning languages, memorizing grammar rules might occasionally drain your energy. Additionally, language is a living thing even if they do not.
Understanding how it is used in context is just as important as knowing its rules and workings. You may be familiar with the verb réfléchir’s tenses, but can you utilize it effectively in a sentence?
Reading in French will help you understand how French speakers express themselves. You will learn about customs even if you like older novels or fairy tales.
For instance, French fairy tales frequently begin with the phrase Il était une fois… (Once upon a time) and are frequently recounted in the passé simple (literary) tense. More recent stories will demonstrate how people speak today, including the sounds of their words if the author chooses to write things phonetically.
Reading in a foreign language can be intimidating and often downright infuriating. Recall what I said about my “education” with Monsieur Lupin: It was not all rooftop jumping and diamond (or Mona Lisa) theft; I also spent much time researching language and developing clever phrases.
Of course, there are times when this is not possible, like when you have to read a specific narrative for class. However, if you search on your own, you should be able to locate French stories that intrigue you.
The list in this post should be helpful in that regard. When a tale interests you, you are more likely to search up vocabulary…and to keep reading even when the going gets tough. You do want to know what happens at the end, after all.
This might not seem very encouraging, but it is the opposite; think of it as a continuous source of learning. No matter how fluent you become, your brain will have to work just a little harder, and you will probably still have a word you will need to look up now and then or a tricky sentence that you have to stop and untangle, no matter how advanced your language level is.
Studies have shown that learning and using a foreign language is excellent mental training and may fend off dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. There are even health benefits to reading in a foreign language.
Reading in French will become simpler. However, there is always a risk that you will run into some challenging terminology or syntax. Like anything else, perfecting something takes practice.
I find it far easier to read an Arsène Lupin short story or novel now than when I started L’Arrestation d’Arsène Lupin years ago. Naturally, that simplicity extends to nonfiction, making reading things like newspaper articles and school notes simple. So continue.
No matter how fluent your French becomes, it is unlikely that you will ever experience any reading difficulties again. For instance, even French speakers who are native speakers may find some writers’ writing styles extremely difficult to grasp.
So instead of getting frustrated with yourself if you have trouble reading a certain book or author, try to figure out why. Is it due to their sentence style, subject content, or language choice? Then, determine whether you want to or need to keep reading, and if you do, be prepared to consult your dictionary and other sources.
And remember rule number two: Reading a difficult French text can be irritating, but it is also a fantastic learning experience and mental exercise. The good news is that you will notice a change if the next book you decide to read is even somewhat simpler.