Does reading and recording books improve English?

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nikita1
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Post by nikita1 » September 10th, 2017, 11:59 pm

I'm intending to record one book, just for myself, and the principal aim of this will be improving English, because I cannot think in it at all, try as I may, I cannot use a single simple sentence in my thoughts on the fly, so to say. 5 minutes I wrote this first sentence, it doesn't satisfy me at all. One more thing is that I don't understand what I read when I read it aloud. So I'm intending to record an 8-hours book and see what it might improve. I've already read that book once, it hasn't an audio-version yet, and I've also converted the text to audio with the use of one site to be able to listen to every few sentences before recording so as not to make pronunciation mistakes and so that the result might be worth sharing somewhere.
But the main aim is to improve English and I wonder if somebody had the same intentions when they recorded audiobooks and how well that helped.

annise
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Post by annise » September 11th, 2017, 12:23 am

Just to clarify - is English your first language? Or something you can read well but not speak ?
Have you tried reading the text while listening ? that seems fairly popular for many second or more language learners.People's brains work in many different ways, I learn better by listening than reading so if I read something I don't understand I say it in my head

Anne

nikita1
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Post by nikita1 » September 11th, 2017, 12:59 am

No, Russian is my first language. I meant I can't understand the meaning of words when reading them aloud. It's like I all at once begin to concentrate only on pronunciation or anything, but not the meaning of what is being read. Though it is the same with my first language when I read it aloud. But that is just the second problem. The main aim is to assimilate English through reading aloud, through a constant flow of English structures that might cling to memory somehow, because just reading is of no use.
However, I just now realized, how is something going 'to cling to memory' if I won't understand the meaning of anything that I speak.. It seems that the second problem is the first. Then I'll be hoping I solve it at the first stages of recording and then, with normal understanding, I could proceed to 'assimilating'.
Last edited by nikita1 on September 11th, 2017, 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

nikita1
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Post by nikita1 » September 11th, 2017, 1:09 am

Yes, I tried reading while listening, of course. For two years I've tried different approaches, but so far I cannot write quickly and correctly. My aim is to write in English. It requires the ability to think in it quickly, to quickly remember and choose structures, without google and dictionaries. But now (as it was a year ago, only worse grammatically) I write only 500 words a day, which is a big annoyance and obstacle to pracrtice.

Peter Why
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Post by Peter Why » September 11th, 2017, 3:48 am

You might find this Russian site helpful: http://usefulenglish.ru/ It covers use of English and English pronunciation.

I made some recordings of English phrases for the tutor a year or two ago, and the site looks very well structured.
It is important to stress that we do not recommend studying English by comparing the text in English with its Russian translation. It is much more useful to study and use typical English constructions and commonly used words, phrases and idioms that we have collected and explained in the materials of our site.
Peter
"I think, therefore I am, I think." Solomon Cohen, in Terry Pratchett's Dodger

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Post by plaidsicle » September 12th, 2017, 6:46 am

nikita1 wrote: It's like I all at once begin to concentrate only on pronunciation or anything, but not the meaning of what is being read. Though it is the same with my first language when I read it aloud.
this happens to me sometimes when I read in English (my first language) too-- it's a weird feeling, sort of getting lost in the flow of the words.
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Piotrek81
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Post by Piotrek81 » September 12th, 2017, 8:50 am

plaidsicle wrote:
nikita1 wrote: It's like I all at once begin to concentrate only on pronunciation or anything, but not the meaning of what is being read. Though it is the same with my first language when I read it aloud.
this happens to me sometimes when I read in English (my first language) too-- it's a weird feeling, sort of getting lost in the flow of the words.
I have that too, especially with more complex sentences (which, let's be real, form a big part of what we record here :roll: ).

@nikita1
Bear in mind that literature often uses more sophisticated words and expressions that aren't particularly useful in everyday life. Even more so, if you want to record something in the public domain (that is, several decades old). If you want to do this type of exercise to expand your active vocabulary (words which you actually want to be able to use on daily basis, and not just to recognize), I'd suggest recording newspaper articles instead.
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nikita1
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Post by nikita1 » September 12th, 2017, 3:52 pm

I'd suggest recording newspaper articles instead.
Good advice, thanks!
But how do you think, whether frequent voice-reading-recording has improved your (even English natives'), ability to express your thoughts in writing, and vocabulary, or it has no better effect than just reading? Are all those literary structures and idioms memorized better when being spoken aloud? Having recorded a book, do you have a feeling that you could talk and write like the author of that book?

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Post by tovarisch » September 12th, 2017, 5:14 pm

Hello, Nikita!

My experience is that reading aloud (and subsequent listening to myself) helped me learn to pronounce the endings of words better. Also, you might want to ask to correct your pronunciation (PLers are not supposed to do that unasked). Take a habit of looking words up even if you feel pretty sure of the meaning and how to say it. Use sites like howjsay.com and forvo.com. Online dictionaries often include pronunciations given by native speakers.

As far as expressing myself better, I can't really tell how far I've progressed since I joined LV. Perhaps english.stackexchange.com (or even ell.stackexchange.com) is what you will find of interest*.

Good luck!

* - Beware of a certain dose of snobbery permeating it. I hung out there for a few months but then bailed when the benefit/snobbery ratio deminished.
tovarisch
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

Johndec
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Post by Johndec » September 14th, 2017, 2:01 am

Without a doubt reading out loud can help... particularly if you're reading a dictionary!!

:lol: :lol: :lol:

I jest, just a little joke there...

I do enjoy learning and reading other languages in my spare time (I'd love to record a chapter of audiobook with my French and German skills on here someday!) but I would be interested to know what apps do the bilingual people here on Librivox find works best for them?

I've always used Google Translate as my go to... but I'd be glad of any suggestions of better translation apps anyone's had experience with!

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Post by moniaqua » December 9th, 2018, 3:52 am

Hi Nikita,

I just found this thread because I was curious. How is your English going now? Are you feeling more confident?

A good help to learn it is to go to a place where the language is spoken only. Of course, not everybody can travel. So, the next better approach is to watch TV (nothing high-sophisticated for the beginning, some boring stuff like soaps).

Listening, what you obviously do, does help, too. Reading along with it is a good idea. To get the structure it can help to translate every single word of a text. Write it under the original text and listen the original text along.

I didn't read any text here to learn English, because I already knew the language when I found LibriVox. But I am working on Italian texts right now in order to improve there. I had read (silently, but with the dictionary right beside me) some books in English before I went to US, though. But I really learned the language in the country.

nikita1
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Post by nikita1 » December 9th, 2018, 6:19 am

moniaqua wrote:
December 9th, 2018, 3:52 am
Hi Nikita,

I just found this thread because I was curious. How is your English going now? Are you feeling more confident?

A good help to learn it is to go to a place where the language is spoken only. Of course, not everybody can travel. So, the next better approach is to watch TV (nothing high-sophisticated for the beginning, some boring stuff like soaps).

Listening, what you obviously do, does help, too. Reading along with it is a good idea. To get the structure it can help to translate every single word of a text. Write it under the original text and listen the original text along.

I didn't read any text here to learn English, because I already knew the language when I found LibriVox. But I am working on Italian texts right now in order to improve there. I had read (silently, but with the dictionary right beside me) some books in English before I went to US, though. But I really learned the language in the country.
I think before one asks somebody whether a particular way of studying useful or not, he has to know what somebody studies the language for. One studies just to be able to watch films in original, another for working abroad, and so on. In my case, I don't study it for speaking, as there are nobody to speak it with in my country, but I'd like to write in English more or less understandably to english speakers, in order to write in it a book in future. Also I have a hobby, whose subject has to do with old-fashion style, history, where I'd like to use all this poetical language which I pick up reading classic poetry. In the last 3 years of studying english from the lowest level by just reading and listening to books, I've read 40 books in Englsh, including big ones like The lord of the rings, The war and peace. This level of writing is what I've come to so far. I write very slowly, am always googling and searching the books I've read for some particular phrase.
As for speaking, whether it improves if one just reads or listens to audiobooks, in my case - no, I haven't advanced a step compared to a year ago. Cannot construct the simplest phrases when speaking. But writing more or less improves, and this's enough for me.
Listening hasn't improved either, by the way, although I listen to books a few hours daily. I mean I cannot understand youtube videos or films without subs. It's just that films and videos has uncompressed audio, words and syllables are half-pronounced and very fast, so to understand the speech there is much more difficult than with audiobooks.

As for the subject of this thread (I wanted to try reading aloud and recording as a way of studying), I tried (I recorded the epic poem Don Juan, a few cantos) but I soon got tired of countless names which I didn't know how to pronounce and soon was recording just for fun with names pronounced as I like. But at least I got for myself recordings with the "correct", metrical reading of verses, which is better to my ear. In short, I just haven't recorded much so far to say whether reading and recording audiobooks improves English.

moniaqua
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Post by moniaqua » December 9th, 2018, 12:17 pm

nikita1 wrote:
December 9th, 2018, 6:19 am
In my case, I don't study it for speaking, as there are nobody to speak it with in my country, but I'd like to write in English more or less understandably to english speakers, in order to write in it a book in future.
In this case I am wondering why you worry about pronunciation in your first post:
nikita1 wrote:
September 10th, 2017, 11:59 pm
I've already read that book once, it hasn't an audio-version yet, and I've also converted the text to audio with the use of one site to be able to listen to every few sentences before recording so as not to make pronunciation mistakes and so that the result might be worth sharing somewhere.
But well, you'll find your way; working here on English books will certainly help, too :)

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Post by tovarisch » December 9th, 2018, 12:38 pm

Just an observation... Knowing how something is pronounced is important to a writer in more senses than one. First off, there is such a thing as word play. Don't you want to be able to incorporate those in your text? Second, and in no way less important, if the text cannot be easily read aloud, if it does not "flow", it will not gain popularity. And only he who can say it well can write it as well. If your speech is impeded by lack of knowing how to form a phrase or a sentence that catches one's ear, you will not be able to express yourself well "on paper".
tovarisch
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

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