Your first book in a foreign language...

A place for everyone to have discussions about literature, classical and contemporary.

Moderator: Forum Administrators

User avatar
Ilayde
Posts: 285
Joined: 2008-11-19, 8:18
Real Name: Alicja
Gender: female
Location: Göteborg
Country: SE Sweden (Sverige)
Contact:

Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Ilayde » 2008-12-02, 15:13

Well, one of the best things about learning a new language, at least for me, is that we can enjoy reading books that we would otherwise never hear about, especially if they haven't been translated into our mother tongue. And I was just wondering - what kind of experiences do you have when it comes to starting to read in foreign languages?

The first novel in English I read was "Hijacked" by David Harper, and I only remember the title and the author because the very fact that I was reading a foreign language book seemed so exhilarating, not because the book in itself was very good ;) I was 17 then, it was during the vacations before my third year in high school, the book was a worn paperback I had bought in a crappy second-hand bookstore in Kraków, and I read it on the train on my way back to the north of Poland, where I lived. Well, it seems I remember the circumstances quite well, but I can't recall the plot of the novel... though I'm not really that sure it's worth it anyway ;p And I was all like "OMG, I can read books in English... hey, it means I can read the new Harry Potter novel that comes out next week!" :D It was "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" if I remember well, and it became the second book that I read in English, which made me even happier, and then I stopped counting ;) But I still remember how euphoric I was... because in my tiny teenage mind, Reading Books in Foreign Languages was like... well, a Very Special Skill. Something like speaking in tongues. :O

So, do you remember your first experience of reading books in foreign languages? Am I the only person who got so excited about that? ;p
Native and writing about [flag]pl[/flag] / Pretending to be fluent in: [flag]en[/flag] [flag]sv[/flag] / In love with [flag]fi[/flag]

User avatar
linguaholic
Posts: 3122
Joined: 2008-06-21, 13:29
Gender: female
Country: NL The Netherlands (Nederland)
Contact:

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby linguaholic » 2008-12-02, 15:51

I think the first book I read in a foreign language was Harry Potter (and the Philosopher's Stone) in English. I don't think I was quite as thrilled as you, but I was surprised that it worked without a dictionary and how much I got and also that it was so much better than the German translation. My first Dutch book was also Harry Potter (should make this a habit when learning a new language, it's fun to compare. Too bad there is no Esperanto Harry Potter published), with a similar feeling of "Wow, this works!" (And some confusion, because in Dutch the names are also translated.)
native: Deutsch / advanced: English, Nederlands / intermediate: Esperanto / forgotten: Français / fighting my way through: עברית מקראית / dreaming of: Čeština, עברית / admiring from a safe distance: فارسی

User avatar
Zorba
Posts: 3169
Joined: 2006-03-24, 21:09

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Zorba » 2008-12-02, 19:57

Image

Mi primer libro en un idioma extranjero fue esta novela, Nada, de Carmen Laforet. Publicada en los anos cuarenta, esta novela trata de la vida de una chica que llega en Barcelona para vivir con sus parientes y estudiar en la universidad en los años de posguerra. Hay muchos personajes extraños en la novela: la tía Angustias es una hipócrita religiosa, el tío Juan es un pintor fracasado y el tío Roman tiene inclinaciones sadísticas. Tiene enlaces con las novelas góticas del siglo XIX, por ejemplo Cumbres burrascosas de Emily Bronte.

Me gustó muchísimo este libro cuando lo leí, pero sospecho ahora a mi no me tanto interesería si lo leyera ahora. Pero me acuerdo de este libro con afecto.
Last edited by Zorba on 2008-12-02, 21:59, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
JackFrost
Forum Administrator
Posts: 16240
Joined: 2004-11-08, 21:00
Real Name: Jack Frost
Gender: male
Location: Montréal, Québec
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby JackFrost » 2008-12-02, 20:06

Oh god... I don't even remember... I think it was a book of Welsh hymns from my grandfather (a few of his grandparents were born in Wales). Oh I would've loved to heard those songs being sung. But it has English translations as well, so it's not completely foreign.

It was something in French at least. Probably that BD, but I don't have it anymore because it got ruined by water during storage.
Neferuj paħujkij!

User avatar
Zorba
Posts: 3169
Joined: 2006-03-24, 21:09

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Zorba » 2008-12-02, 21:57

L'été dernier, j'ai passé un weekend au Pays de Galles avec une amie. Le dimanche, nous avons assisté à l'office d'une église. Durant l'office, le prêtre n'a parlé que en gallois (sauf quelques mots en anglais, comme "celebrity" (!) et toutes les hymnes étaient en gallois. Nous n'avons pas entendu un mot, et il était difficile de prononcer les mots correctement... mais les hymnes étaient très belles.

Elanor

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Elanor » 2008-12-02, 22:25

For me it was "The Lord of the Rings" in original. Naturally, that was cheating, because I knew the book almost by heart in Polish anyway.

User avatar
nighean-neonach
Posts: 2440
Joined: 2007-01-14, 22:39
Real Name: Mona
Gender: female
Location: eadar cuan is teine

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby nighean-neonach » 2008-12-02, 22:39

Ilayde wrote:So, do you remember your first experience of reading books in foreign languages? Am I the only person who got so excited about that? ;p


For me it is always a sort of triumph to read a "real book" (i.e. not something specifically for learners, or for young readers, etc.) in a new language.
For example I've been studying Icelandic for several years, but I had a slow start for various reasons and I only read my first Icelandic novel - one of the crime stories by Arnaldur Indriðason - last year in a literature class at university. At first it was just frightening and I thought that the class was far above my level. But after a few weeks I really got into it, and once we had finished it I felt so encouraged I began reading another one, and during the holidays this summer I read several more :D

In those languages I study at uni, the first books were usually not my own choice but stuff we read in class. So, my first Norwegian novels were rather boring and I didn't really finish them, just read a few bits to be able to take part in the discussions in class ;) The first Norwegian novel of my own choice was "Rødstrupe" by Jo Nesbø. It was so huge that I was a bit discouraged at first, but I had chosen this book because I had got the audiobook from a friend, and then the topic was quite interesting as well. And about halfway into it, I got so hooked that I began reading really fast because I wanted to know the outcome :lol:
Writing poetry in: Scottish Gaelic, German, English.
Reading poetry in: Latin, Old Irish, French, Ancient Greek, Old Norse.
Talking to people in the shop in: Lithuanian, Norwegian, Irish Gaelic, Saami.
Listening to people talking in the shop in: Icelandic, Greenlandic, Finnish.

KingHarvest
Posts: 4168
Joined: 2008-03-21, 5:46
Gender: male
Location: New York
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby KingHarvest » 2008-12-03, 0:27

My first book in the original language was Commentarii de bello Gallico.
Most men are rather stupid, and most of those who are not stupid are, consequently, rather vain.
-A.E. Housman

User avatar
loqu
Posts: 11835
Joined: 2007-08-15, 21:12
Real Name: Daniel
Gender: male
Location: Sevilla [seˈβiʝa] (Andalucía), born in Cádiz [ˈkaði]

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby loqu » 2008-12-03, 7:28

My first books in English and German were books aimed for learners. I don't remember the English one, the German one was called Oh, Maria and is a really simple and silly book.

The first real book I read in German was Der kleine Prinz (so typical) and afterwards a criminal novel, Das letzte Opfer, whose end was a total crap. I think I haven't read any real book in English yet.

The first book I read in Catalan was called Camps de maduixes (Strawberry fields), literature for youngsters.
Dir la veritat sempre és revolucionari.

User avatar
Nukalurk
Posts: 5843
Joined: 2004-04-23, 20:45
Location: Berlin
Country: DE Germany (Deutschland)

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Nukalurk » 2008-12-03, 7:35

How do you remember such stuff? :shock: In Esperanto, I've read a collection of old Chinese folk stories, but I really can't remember the other languages. I haven't read a book in Latin so far; and surely won't be reading one in Old Church Slavonic. ;)

User avatar
ILuvEire
Posts: 10398
Joined: 2007-12-08, 17:41
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby ILuvEire » 2008-12-03, 8:03

I wrote a really long post, then deleted it. >.<

My first book in Italian was Il principe piccolo (The little Prince). I also read a ton of short stories (I bought a book of short stories), but my first real Italian book was Il nome della rosa. I'm looking for another good book, but I want to make sure that I'll actually like it, because books from Italy are very expensive.

Where do you guys get these books!

My first book in Esperanto was La aventuroj de Alicio en Mirlando (The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland). I also read some more short stories.

My first book in Japanese was 夢十夜 (Ten Nights of Dreams) by Natsume Souseki. I needed a bit of help with many of the kanji, but it was great!

Well, actually the story was depressing and sad, but it was awesome that I was reading a book in Japanese!
[flag]de[/flag] [flag]da[/flag] [flag]fr-qc[/flag] [flag]haw[/flag] [flag]he[/flag] [flag]es[/flag]
Current focus: [flag]ga[/flag] [flag]ar[/flag]
Facebook | tumblr | Twitter
“We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don't have books, don't fuck them.” —John Waters

User avatar
Kubi
Posts: 3235
Joined: 2003-09-16, 15:17
Gender: male
Country: DE Germany (Deutschland)

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Kubi » 2008-12-03, 15:10

My first books in English and French were at school, I don't remember which ones any more.

In Italian it was the Commedia (Divina) - but as that was not only Italian, but medieval Italian, I decided to cheat and bought a bilingual edition, so that i could check the German version whenever needed (and it was needed often...)

In Spanish I think it was El origen del poder, a book about Japanese history that i got from an Argentine penpal with Japanese roots.

In Japanese all I read up to now was a short story out of a book called ノックの音が (a knock's sound), and even that took a long while because I had to check dictionaries so often.
Je défendrai mes opinions jusqu'à ma mort, mais je donnerai ma vie pour que vous puissiez défendre les vôtres. - Voltaire

User avatar
Karavinka
Posts: 2309
Joined: 2004-04-24, 4:00
Gender: male
Location: Montréal
Country: CA Canada (Canada)

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Karavinka » 2008-12-09, 4:05

English: My memory is a bit hazy, but I think it was either The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien or Nemesis by Asimov. I opened The Hobbit first, and then Nemesis; I'm not sure whether I finished The Hobbit in my first try. I did finish reading Nemesis, though I did not understand much. That was around May-June 2001, soon after I moved to Canada.

French: Le Petit Prince by Saint-Exupery. I even copied every words with my hand. I wasn't particularly excited by the book - I knew the book well enough already (read in Korean translation many times in junior high) and I simply wanted to read something that I might be able to challenge. It was around 2003. The next book, as far as I remember, was Manifeste du Parti communiste, much later - there was a long gap in my French study.

Esperanto: Manifesto de la Komunista partio. Time unknown. I was young and clueless that I learned something of this language. Well, I read the Manifesto as kind of my Rosetta Text.

Japanese: 『涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱(Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)』 was the first book I read, other than a children's version of Shakespeare in simple Japanese with full furigana. It is an average light novel, and again I knew the stuff already anyways. In 2007. The first book in Classical Japanese was 『奥のほそ道(Oku no Hosomichi)』, 2008.

Classical Chinese: 『論語(Analects of Confucius)』, followed by the rest of the Four Books. Doesn't everyone almost universally begin with this? I am yet to read a full book in Modern Chinese. 2008.

German: Wissenschaft als Beruf by Weber. 2008.

I stopped reading Spinoza's Ethica in Latin somewhat past halfway through because I had to go back to some serious French study this year; I'm planning to go back to it, hopefully soon...

nighean-neonach wrote:For me it is always a sort of triumph to read a "real book" (i.e. not something specifically for learners, or for young readers, etc.) in a new language.


Indeed... that's why I remember my first books.
↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A
Spoiler Alert: Turkish | -30 Thai | Sink or Zapotec

User avatar
nighean-neonach
Posts: 2440
Joined: 2007-01-14, 22:39
Real Name: Mona
Gender: female
Location: eadar cuan is teine

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby nighean-neonach » 2008-12-09, 10:32

ILuvEire wrote:Where do you guys get these books!


Online book shops, mostly, or while travelling in the respective countries, or I ask friends to send some :) I suppose here within Europe it is easier to order books from other countries, I've seen that some stores don't ship to other parts of the world. Scandinavian books are expensive for me, too, especially as those countries don't have the Euro. I don't feel ashamed to admit that when the Icelandic currency crashed the first thing I did was ordering a heap of books and audiobooks from there 8-) :lol:
Big bookstores here in Germany usually stock a good choice of current and classic English novels, as well as some French, Spanish, Italian, and sometimes Turkish and Arabian books. In big cities there are usually also specialist bookshops which import books from certain countries.
Last not least, university libraries are usually a good idea, too :)
Writing poetry in: Scottish Gaelic, German, English.
Reading poetry in: Latin, Old Irish, French, Ancient Greek, Old Norse.
Talking to people in the shop in: Lithuanian, Norwegian, Irish Gaelic, Saami.
Listening to people talking in the shop in: Icelandic, Greenlandic, Finnish.

User avatar
Varislintu
Posts: 15330
Joined: 2004-02-09, 13:32
Real Name: M.
Gender: female
Location: Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Varislintu » 2008-12-09, 11:01

My first book in English was Polgara the Sorceress by David & Leigh Eddings :lol: :grin:. I was about 12-13, I think. I loved it back then, and the feeling that i could do it, and just the sheer amount of vocab I picked up! Oh, to be 13 and impressionable again :).
Det finns ingen
tröst. Därför
behöver du den inte
(Gösta Ågren)

User avatar
Mikael
Posts: 557
Joined: 2007-01-31, 22:55
Gender: male
Location: New York, NY
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Mikael » 2008-12-09, 11:45

The first books I read in Spanish were La vuelta al mundo en ochenta días and Un beso de Dick (which turned out to be really inappropriate, but a good story nevertheless). The first book I read in French was Le petit Nicolas. Being able to read an entire novel in a foreign language was very exciting to me also.
*~

User avatar
ILuvEire
Posts: 10398
Joined: 2007-12-08, 17:41
Gender: male
Location: Austin
Country: US United States (United States)
Contact:

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby ILuvEire » 2008-12-10, 4:15

Varislintu wrote:My first book in English was Polgara the Sorceress by David & Leigh Eddings :lol: :grin:. I was about 12-13, I think. I loved it back then, and the feeling that i could do it, and just the sheer amount of vocab I picked up! Oh, to be 13 and impressionable again :).


Wow, how did you do it? I struggled through some points of that book, because he shot for being semi-archaic. But that's one of my favorite books of all time. :) Have you read the rest of the Belgiariad (sp)?
[flag]de[/flag] [flag]da[/flag] [flag]fr-qc[/flag] [flag]haw[/flag] [flag]he[/flag] [flag]es[/flag]
Current focus: [flag]ga[/flag] [flag]ar[/flag]
Facebook | tumblr | Twitter
“We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don't have books, don't fuck them.” —John Waters

User avatar
Sean of the Dead
Posts: 3884
Joined: 2008-10-11, 17:51
Real Name: Sean Jorgenson
Gender: male
Location: Kent
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Sean of the Dead » 2008-12-10, 5:16

My first book was "Wo ist mein Teddy?", and childrens book, for German. My first full book was "Der Kleine Prinz", and my 3rd will be "Naiv. Super." (for Norwegian) in a few days when it arrives. :D
Main focuses: [flag]kw[/flag] [flag]he[/flag]
Sub focus: Plautdietsch
On my own: [flag]is[/flag]

User avatar
Varislintu
Posts: 15330
Joined: 2004-02-09, 13:32
Real Name: M.
Gender: female
Location: Helsinki
Country: FI Finland (Suomi)

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby Varislintu » 2008-12-11, 6:17

ILuvEire wrote:
Varislintu wrote:My first book in English was Polgara the Sorceress by David & Leigh Eddings :lol: :grin:. I was about 12-13, I think. I loved it back then, and the feeling that i could do it, and just the sheer amount of vocab I picked up! Oh, to be 13 and impressionable again :).


Wow, how did you do it? I struggled through some points of that book, because he shot for being semi-archaic. But that's one of my favorite books of all time. :) Have you read the rest of the Belgiariad (sp)?


I don't know, it just wasn't too difficult. I was used to his style from before and knew the characters and some of the events real well. Drank in the semi-archaism like a sponge ;). I had read the Belgariad and Malloreon in Finnish and Swedish before Polgara. Then I read Belgarath, but after that I was kind of through with Eddings, he (they) started to repeat himself :P.
Det finns ingen
tröst. Därför
behöver du den inte
(Gösta Ågren)

User avatar
culúrien
Posts: 4742
Joined: 2005-07-15, 1:53
Gender: female
Country: US United States (United States)

Re: Your first book in a foreign language...

Postby culúrien » 2008-12-11, 6:34

I've never read a non-learner's book in a foreign language. I don't feel good enough in Spanish yet to do so, hopefully I'll get there eventually.
استیسی


Return to “Literature”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest