WebLitera is an online library for reading foreign literature.
Of course, grammar textbooks are still needed, but they should not be given 100% of your time, just as much as is necessary for the current understanding and no more.
On this site you have the opportunity not only to learn the language, but to absorb it at the same time with interesting books.
What is the difference between fiction and textbooks? There are several important points:
- textbooks are artificially divided by language levels - A1, A2, B1, B2, and so on. This is not bad at the very beginning of the study, but it is a problem already from the B1 level, because this level involves communication with native speakers, but in reality this does not happen. Native speakers, even teenagers, use the entire vocabulary up to the C2 level, and all textbooks carefully avoid using words of the higher levels. That is, learning a language from textbooks, you will definitely have difficulty understanding native speakers
- textbooks often offer lists of words to memorize, such as verbs that are linked by grammatical rules but not contextual. This means that you are trying to memorize unrelated words. This is a problem because the human brain works differently - it remembers the entire context as a whole, including the visual image, taste sensations, emotions, and so on. That is, to make it easier to memorize words, you need to experience emotions. But when you read textbooks, you feel nothing but fatigue. In fiction, the opposite is true - all words and phrases are closely related in meaning, literary translation into your native language fills you with emotions and experiences, you learn to remember what emotions a foreign text should evoke in you. You start to "feel" the language you are learning
- The tutorials for each topic devote several pages of words and explanations. This is also a problem, because the human brain memorizes information through repetition. However, rereading the same word list over and over again creates rejection and the feeling that you are unable to learn the language on your own. Remember - if you experience negative emotions while learning a language, then you are learning it wrong. Reading literature with translation does not require you to memorize words or do anything at all that generates negative emotions. You just read the text with translation, the same words or their synonyms are encountered hundreds of times along the text and are remembered on their own against your will or desire
- textbooks are written in artificial language, in ordinary life, most likely, people do not speak this way. If you have learned the verb "to do", then this does not guarantee you understanding of the interlocutor when he describes what he did yesterday. The fact is that even minimally educated people try to avoid repeating the same words and use synonyms more than you might imagine. But often these synonyms are separated by textbooks into other levels (B2, C1, C2) and are deliberately excluded from the curriculum. In the literature, there is no such artificial division; the use of synonyms is limited only by the author's vocabulary and the context itself. You come across more difficult words, not because you have reached a high level, but because in this context this word is more appropriate in meaning
- learning a language from textbooks stretches the process for decades. You can get to A2 in one year and take another 20 years to get to B2. In real life, no one demands a language certificate from you every day, but foreign interlocutors will bombard you with new words every minute. You cannot tell them every day that you have not gone through this yet and that the study of these words is in your plan only after 20 years! Reading literature immerses you in the environment instantly, from the first paragraph you read a C2 level text. At first, this can shock and scare you, because you were taught that you are not ready for this. But do not be alarmed, this is not an exam, and no one forces you to learn new words, they will learn themselves gradually by repetition. You only need to read the text and try to understand it from the level at which you are now. All other information is in translation. The importance of literary translation is that it does not translate words, but the general meaning and emotions, while the structure of sentences can be radically different. You can read a long novel and never look into the dictionary - all the words are already in the translation, and the repeated use of the same words in different contexts will give you the correct translation and teach you how to use words in different situations
- language is a means of communication, its task is to transfer information from source to recipient. But textbooks turn the process of learning a language into an end in itself - study for the sake of learning, and its main function - the transfer of information - is lost. Have you been studying a language for 10 years and have difficulty reading the first paragraphs of a book? Admit that all these 10 years you did not study the language, but memorized words, and not every day, but all the time postponed your studies to longer periods, because you did not see the point in such training. Reading literature completely eliminates this problem, you immediately move on to the ultimate goal of your learning - to obtain information. Even after reading one short story, you will simultaneously achieve several goals - you will become a more erudite person, get a new life experience from the author of the story and, most importantly, you will feel how the same text is perceived in two different languages. This will allow you to learn how to convey your thoughts and emotions more accurately
- it is unlikely that you will feel proud or inspired by reading the list of verbs in the textbook, and you will not be tempted to return to these pages over and over again to find out how the list of words ends. In literature, everything is different - interest in learning is supported in a natural way, you do not need to force yourself to pick up a textbook every day. You are inspired by the very opportunity to read literature in a foreign language, and after reading even a short story, you should feel a little pride and feel free to tell your friends that you are reading literature in the original
- of course, there are few people in the world who are able to sit every day with a book in their hands, especially with a bilingual one, there is no time for that. But people spend much more time doing nothing at all, without noticing it themselves. For example, on a trip to or from work, people spend several hours a day and all this time they just sit and look out the window. You have probably already thought that this time can be used more productively, but did not have a solution for learning foreign languages. Now you can do it. You won't find free audio tutorials anywhere for years to come, but you have fiction and a modern smartphone. All modern smartphones support the function of reading text from the screen, and the voice quality of an electronic assistant is almost as good as the voice of a real person. Turn on the dubbing of a bilingual book, and the assistant will read you paragraph by paragraph, first in one language, then in another - in the same way as the text is located in the book. Such a technique will help you to better learn how to perceive complex texts by ear and at the same time not have difficulties with understanding the meaning - after all, the translation into your language will also be sounded.
The books are prepared in such a way that you can simultaneously read a book in paragraphs in a foreign language and in your native language.
Here's an example of what it looks like:
At the beginning of the study, you can first read a paragraph in your native language, then in a foreign one - this way you will already initially know what it is about.
Further, according to the degree of mastering the vocabulary, the reading order can be changed, first read a paragraph in a foreign language, try to understand the general meaning, and then re-read it in your native language.
As a next step after reading, you can listen to the whole book again in a foreign language or with translation using the text-to-speech function.
Start with an overview all authors.
Select the book you are interested in in one of the available languages. You can start reading from the title page of the book in the original or in parallel with translation into another language from those available.
In parallel reading mode, you can synchronize the translation paragraphs yourself for more convenient reading.
In the news section, fresh news articles will appear every day in the languages that you select in the settings. Each paragraph of the articles has been simultaneously translated into your language using an electronic translator, so slight inaccuracies are possible. However, the quality of electronic translation has already reached such a level that, for texts on general subjects, it is impossible to distinguish the translation of a robot from the translation of a professional translator. In addition, you will always understand the general meaning of the article, and this is the most important thing.
A paragraph of a news article with a translation might look like this:
If you are the owner of a news resource and your site's news appears in our feed, please read this appeal
Why do I need to read the news?
- Reading the news daily is the primary necessity of any expat living in a foreign country. He must be aware of those events which take place in the country where he lives. There may be new laws or rules for regulating the order, important information about the political and economic state of the country, information about the work of medical institutions or stores. Locals often receive such information via radio, television, or through communication with friends, but the emigrant is isolated from these sources. Reading newspapers in the original also causes great difficulties due to the complex storytelling style of professional journalists.
- If you are not an expat, reading the news will still help you better understand the mentality of the country whose language you are learning. You will know how people think in this language, what worries them. If you make friends in this country or hire a tutor, then the discussion of current news will definitely become one of the topics of discussion.
- News is often repeated, and one topic is discussed many times in dynamics, so you will come across the same words for a long time, which will make them easier for you to remember
- Reading subject news (medicine, sports, politics) will allow you to build vocabulary in professional fields, which will also increase your language competence