Obtaining a wide-ranging knowledge in a second language can be difficult. While in your mother tongue it may be possible to have discussion on almost any topic, most people have at least a rudimentary knowledge of almost any topic, this is something that is not the case when you are in the learning process of a second language.
Increase your general knowledge in a second language
As we have discussed on previous blog posts about learning Chinese, in some cases maintaining motivation through sticking to topics that interest you might be a good way to quickly increase fluency in your desired knowledge area – but the downside of this is that you will have a restricted vocabulary set until you can catch up in other knowledge areas.
Start in the Childrens’ Section
While geting away from the boring text books is a great idea to increase your general knowledge, knowing where to start can also be a problem. Adult books and magazines might be too daunting and word-heavy at first, so instead start with the children’s section.
Covers can be deceiving
Consider the cover above. If you scanned too quickly you could assume that this was a boring comic with some cute characters. Though on close inspection we can see that the magazine has the following sections:
wèi shé me gǒu de bí zi zhè me líng mǐn?
Why are dogs noses so sensitive?
yǎn jīng shì zěn me kàn dōng xī de nē?
How do our eyes see things?
yŭ zhòu shì shé me shí hòu dàn shēng de?
When was the universe born?
Clearly if you didn’t look closely you would have missed out on a children’s magazine that actually has some interesting topics covered – who couldn’t use learning some Chinese terminology about how the universe was born? 😉
Next time you visit the book shop don’t overlook the childrens’ section, as there just might be some interesting books or magazines there that could help you improve your Chinese ability in general knowledge topics.
What books do you read to increase your general knowledge language ability? Do you read books aimed at children? If so which ones?
For those interested, the magazine cover above is from a Taiwanese publication called 哇！我懂了 (Wow! I understand now!)