A List of 13 Embarrassing (And Captivating) Things You Can Read to Take Your Language to Next Level
You know it, I know it, pretty much everybody knows it.
You should try reading more in your target language.
But it's hard. It's hard to force yourself to sit down and to do it. And that's why 99% of articles suggest that you should read something which is interesting to you. And it's a really great piece of advice. Seemingly, I mean.
Why? Because sometimes, even if you're at an intermediate level, pure interest is not enough to pull you through an article. I love neuropsychology, physics, and statistics.
But reading about it with my bad French would be as fun as sticking needles in my back and pretending that I'm a hedgehog. So no, that's not the way I start reading.
So how do I do it?
Well, the article's title probably gives away a little bit about what I read. I start with things which I consider a huge waste of time. BUT only in the languages, I'm fluent in.
That's why I prey on my most primitive instincts to keep myself focused on reading. I hope that this list will help with your studies. And please don't judge me, I'm just a man!
1. COMIC BOOKS
Let's be clear about one thing - I don't consider comic books to be a waste of time! So go ahead, unleash your inner child!
Usually, the storyline and pictures make it a breeze to finish reading and keep you coming back for more! Here's the website with free comic books in 9 languages (including English): Comicbookplus.com
2. BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Because who doesn't like dragons and fluffy stuff? The biggest website with free children books is:
They have books in thousands of languages! Well, not really, but definitely in over 30 languages! And here's the website with picture books: ChildrenBooksForever.com
3. SONG LYRICS
One of my favorite ways to learn. Emotions and melody create a powerful mix which makes reading really enjoyable. What's more, lyrics are usually short so they don't require a lot of attention.
Simply choose a band singing in your target language and google the title of the song + lyrics/text. It works for most of the languages. Of course for the languages which are more exotic, you might want to check the translation of "lyrics".
Most of the time I choose to read comments on Reddit, YouTube and below some interesting articles elsewhere. Usually, they are either quite witty or interesting which makes them really appealing.
To find such websites try to google: "news about celebrities" or any word combination of that kind.
6. EROTIC STORIES
There. I said it! And I'm not going to explain to you why. You KNOW why. Google "erotic stories" in your target language. Nobody needs (and wants) to know...!
Or any books of that kind. One of the guilty pleasures of women!
I've never tried to find such a thing but you can probably find a lot of such books and stories by googling "broken heart", "mysterious lover", etc. But hey! What do I know?
Just like comments, they are brief and (at least) try to be either funny or informative. Use Twitter Top 100 Most Followed website.
Then click "Global Top 100" and choose the country of your interest.
9. WEBSITES LIKE 9GaG.com
If you have never heard of
I had been battling my addiction to this website for a long time before I had won! But that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy such websites in other languages!
All the memes and cat pictures guarantee to keep you mesmerized and basically allow you to absorb all the phrases and words effortlessly.
The similar websites for languages other than English include:
10. GRUESOME STORIES
It's not for everyone but I really enjoy them. Google "scary stories" in your target language.
Or start with this thread on Reddit "What's the creepiest Wikipedia article you've ever read?" and change the language on Wikipedia to the one of your interest.
Reading confessions online is probably a modern counterpart of going through somebody's diary. To get you started, try to google the following phrases in your target language:
In Poland, it's almost a national tradition to complain about everything, so I might be a little bit biased. Try to google the following phrases in your target language:
13. SILLY WEBSITES / FORUMS
Take your pick - anything from conspiracy theories forums to camel spotting fan-clubs. The possible side effect of such reading exercises is coming to the conclusion that the human race is doomed.
What embarrassing things do you read which help you to stay focused? Let me know, so I can create the ultimate "shameless reading list"!
For comics, Webtoons has several language options: Korean, Chinese, English, Spanish, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Thai, German. I think the Webtoons app has 7 of these and if you want the others, you might need to download the Korean version, Naver. Pretty addictive stories with amazing art and the format is easy to read on a smartphone. If you prefer to read on their website, that’s an option too. Been using this for Spanish at the moment. 🙂
These are amazing recommendations! Thank you very much! 🙂
I recommend the French Topito.com ! As for comic books, the Francophone comic world is rivaled only by the Japanese! In any case, some of the greatest art and stories are found in bandes-desinées. I am on Twitter,and after 2.5 years, I’m nearly bilingual, or at least, my feed is!
That’s a great recommendation, thank you!!! 🙂
I am going to show my students this page. I think you are doing a great job. Thanks…
Thank you! Glad you have enjoyed it!
Love these ideas. Always looking for more ways to encourage my students to read more. Oh, and no I had NEVER heard of 9Gag.com… but thanks for now getting me addicted to it!!
You are welcome!!:D Thank you for your comment 🙂
This article is so funny! I’m going to have to share it with my students.
It’s funny to think about because when I want a “rest” and some down time to use English (my native language), I definitely end up on gossip sites and funny YouTube videos. I’ve never thought of doing the same thing to improve my Spanish or Japanese. Although I do buy “Hola” in Spanish sometimes. ::red cheeks:: … Easy to read, but yes, I am still improving my langauge that way.
Thank you! It’s kind of my motto – “It’s not the waste of time if it’s in another language!” 🙂
I love your site and it contains some very valuable advice for language learners and for most people interested in improving their lives, in fact.
I’m a language coach, currently working in Fucecchio, Tuscany helping people with the languages that i speak (English (mother tongue), German, French, Dutch and of course I could help in Italian, but I’m here to improve that one;-)
I am hosted by families and give them a minimum of ten hours a week intensive coaching/training in return.I like to pick up a few more clients on my travels. 8-10 hours with me, puts them on a path to become successful independent learners My approach is based on neuroscience and how people learn and has great parallels with your work.
I’m continually amazed that the Italian education system seems to want to do everything possible to prevent people from learning languages. It is something humans are designed to do!
Keep up the good work!
Love your comment John! It seems that educations systems almost anywhere are hell-bent on making people fail at language learning! I am looking forward to hearing more from you! 🙂 Great job by the way! 🙂
“You KNOW why”
Can’t stop laughing. Thank you Bartek, it is very helpful to get all of this advice with links to free activities, which might be used immediately.
You’re welcome! As always glad to be of service 🙂
Great list! When I was studying Japanese, I needed to read business and political news but they were really boring…so I switched to gossip 😀 Now I mostly read tweets, recipes, song lyrics and random personal blogs.
I know what you mean! This is like a guilt-free pass to the world of mindless entertainment 😀
To make looking for sites in other languages easier you can use http://www.2lingual.com/ – it translates your search term and then gives parallel columns of hits in both languages.
Much easier indeed! 🙂
Thank you for your input 🙂
I’ll share my addiction with you: http://fishki.net
There’s an English version I think, but the main language of the page, and most of the content, is in Russian. I think as far as “embarassing reading lists” go, you can find a bit of everything there.
I’m adding it to my personal list of Russian resources. Seems very entertaining! 🙂 Thank you!
Fanfiction about movies, books, comics/manga, animation, celebrities, etc. The really big fanfic sites have lots of filters including language. Some have even been translated into different languages so you can read them together.
Some of the biggest: http://www.fanfiction.net http://www.archiveofourown.org
Amazing! Thank you! 🙂
My suggestion, which goes along with the comic books tip, is Japanese manga (manhua, manwha in Chinese or Korean). I’ve been able to find many of them for free online in Spanish, French, Chinese, and I’ve even seen German. There’s a huge ‘scanlators’ community online that provide free manga that they scan themselves and then translate, usually from Japanese. If you’re learning an Asian or relatively common language, chances are there’s a group that has free manga in your target language.
That’s really great tip! Thank you! Do you happen to have some of the links to such websites?
There’s far too many to name. I usually keep an eye on release websites like Mangaupdates.com. Most of the time I find one that looks interesting, look under associated names, where they put the title in other languages, and then just run a search for it. I’ve found many different free manga reading sites in Spanish and Chinese, but I can’t speak for anything else.
I like to use this one for spanish because you can also search by genre.
Another release website that shows languages: http://bato.to
These are absolutely fantastic, thank you!
Advice on how to pick-up girls 🙂
I’ve been watching videos like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRsbfW4PW24 in order to learn Portuguese, and it’s quite helpful because he speaks rather clearly, and you can guess the kind of things he’s going to say.
Haha, great piece of advice, thanks! 🙂