Just after finishing reading my first book in Chinese

Choice of “The Little Prince” as the first work to read in Chinese was spontaneous but rather fitting the purpose. Worldwide most translated work, rather short volume and known conflict between childish appearance and riddled thorough content – it should be very much doable. My beforehand Chinese level was a little unclear. My university grades in Chinese are near perfect and I’m gradually climbing the HSK exam ladder but having an in-China experience I know how easy it is to stumble on a mass of unknown characters and get devastated by your own lack of knowledge. I had a rather long holiday in front of me, without any work to do, thus I was positive I would be able to finish this 40-pages-long pdf document. It resulted in less than two weeks of finishing it, not daily but regularly with intense long-hours sessions. I used my notebook to write down every new vocabulary and I was curious about the statistics, so I counted everything from zero to the end. I wrote down 738 new vocabulary, and if we do a rough approximation – this would result in 20 vocabularies per page which still sounds about reasonable. I wouldn’t call it an enjoyable reading as it was more of a dictionary time, but I believe it paid off as I could completely understand the story without reading it in any familiar language beforehand. Yes, for some reason it was my first time reading this famous French work. The whole experience reminded me of my first time reading German books (much heavier in terms of wording and content than this one) and same as then, it was more of a labour than of a relaxation session. But I know how easy I can read German books today and I am looking forward to the day when I can read Chinese just as easy. Learning languages is a lot of work but it’s usually all paying off in the end. 

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