Reading in foreign with a Kindle

I’ve already discussed the issues I encountered when first starting to read in Spanish.

Well, I wish I’d had my Kindle three years ago, because it is the perfect tool for dealing with the ‘to-look-up-or-not-to-look-up-unknown-vocabulary’ question.

The Kindle comes with an English dictionary installed, but you can download dictionaries in as many languages as you like, and switch between them according to whichever language you are reading in.

Then, when you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t even need to go to the dictionary and look it up, you simply move your cursor to the word in question and the definition pops up in a bubble at the top or the bottom of the page. Observe the example above from Don Quixote

Instant definitions without interrupting the flow of your reading. Amazing!

The highlighting and notes functions are also pretty neat. You can highlight and make notes on interesting words and phrases you come across so that you can quickly find and access them at a later date. You can even see the passages that have been highlighted by other people who have read the same book, creating a kind of virtual reading community.

I am a total convert.


4 thoughts on “Reading in foreign with a Kindle

  1. I had no idea about the Kindle dictionary function; I haven’t read a book in Castellano in quite a while and I think part of it is my fear of failure. I’m getting on this ASAP


  2. You must. Plus, with illegal file sharing, you may never have to buy a book again ;). If you want to get back to reading in Spanish, may I recommend Juan José Millás? He writes these lovely, introspective, philosophical novels set in Madrid. He uses relatively simple, everyday language to get across some really interesting ideas. I particularly liked ‘Laura y Julio’ and ‘No mires debajo de la cama’ (which is told from the perspective of the protagonist’s shoes).


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