Do You Also Read Books Not Written in English?

ramblings keep me sane

When I started this blog my focus was on book reviews but now that it has grown, I want to share some stuff other than book reviews. Ramblings Keep Me sane is essentially about, well, ramblings. It could be book-related ramblings… or not. It’ll be like a discussion post where readers can share their opinion about anything under the sun.

Do You Also Read Books Not Written in English?

Most of the book bloggers I know in the blogging community speak and read books that are written in English. But it got me thinking, are there bloggers out there who speak more than one language? Do they read books other than those written in English?

The Backstory

As you all know (or maybe not), I am from the Philippines and I speak three languages. Yes, three. I am from the southern part of the Philippines and we speak Visaya in the southern part of the country. But three years ago we moved to the northern part of the Philippines where people speak Filipino (some call it Tagalog but just to be clear, the official language of the Philippines is called Filipino and it is based on Tagalog).

My first language is Visaya, it was only when I was six years old when I started learning Filipino when I got so addicted to watching television. Of course, Filipino is also taught in school so that helped me too. English is my third language and also taught in school from prep to college. I speak Visaya when I am at home, Filipino when I am with my friends and English, well, I don’t speak English much, at least not verbally. The only time I get to speak English is when I’m writing posts on this blog or when I’m on social media. I think I am pretty good in English but I feel weird when I use it in conversations because I am not used to speaking it. I guess no matter how fluent you are in a certain language, it would still feel weird speaking it when you don’t do it quite often.

So… do you read books not written in English, Farzy?

Yes, I do read books not written in English. There are Visaya magazines sold in newsstands and I tried reading them before but I don’t understand a thing! I also dislike listening to TV news in Visaya because they use words that are too “deep” and so foreign to my ear. You might think I am so fluent in Visaya since it’s my first language but that is not the case. I only know conversational terms. I like writing fan fictions and short stories but I don’t write in Visaya because of this reason.

In elementary and high school I read short stories written in Filipino since it was required to read them. I also wrote essays in Filipino but my knowledge of the language is very limited. I don’t know that much formal or “deep” words so I try not to write in Filipino. In high school I hate it when my teachers give us essay-writing activities because my knowledge of the language is very limited. But I do read books in Filipino. Most of them are romance novellas. To be honest there’s not much in the Filipino section in bookstores. The latest trend in the Philippine literature is giving book deals to those famous Filipino novels in Wattpad but I find those kind of stories so-so and blah. I’m not hating on Wattpad-stories-turned-huge-and-successful novels but I think the quality of MOST of them are below my standard. They just don’t impress me.

Multilingual Me

I love to learn different languages. In the beginning of my high school years I briefly studied Japanese, both writing and speaking. However, I find it more difficult to study Japanese writings but I’m pretty good with conversational Japanese. My interest in Japanese started when I got obsessed with anime in my early teenage years. But since I don’t understand that much Japanese in terms of writing, I don’t read Japanese reading materials.

I also understand a little Spanish since my first language is based on Spanish. (If 333 years of Spanish colonization doesn’t influence your language I don’t know what will.) From time to time I encounter phrases or conversations in Spanish, although I understand them I don’t really go out of my way and seek Spanish reading materials. I’d rather stick to English.

I just realized…

I just realized how ironic it is that I am not so fluent and comfortable in using my first two languages in writing. I also don’t read much Visaya or Filipino reading materials. In fact, 80% of what I read is in English. Even though I can speak and understand a lot of languages, English is my favorite because it’s the language I am most comfortable speaking and writing in. (I bet Jose Rizal is rolling in his grave right now.) I am also fascinated by its history and I just love the language. In fact, if I didn’t take up a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology I’d have considered being an English major.

Do you speak other languages aside from English? Do you read books other than those written in English?


6 thoughts on “Do You Also Read Books Not Written in English?

  1. English is my only language so I can’t answer your questions, but I have a friend in Croatia who prefers to read books in English. She orders most of her books from Amazon UK because they’re cheaper than buying books in Croatia, if she can even find the English-language books she wants.

  2. I don’t know you’re from Philippines! And yes, I read and speak other than English since well, I’m from Indonesia and Bahasa is my first language and all. I’m only starting to read in English about four years ago. So mostly my books are in Bahasa (the translates ones, to be honest most of Indonesian novels are pretty sucked too).

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