Recently I made a decision which perhaps seems irrational from a certain point of view. I have been studying French and German since 2016 because one professor told me that if I couldn’t read either of the languages, I wouldn’t make a academic career. Besides, there are a lof of philosophical works in French or German that I have wanted to read in the original language. Having learned basic grammar of both, I decided to begin reading such books. After about one year of continuous effort to comprehend them, I judged it wiser not to go on this way. Instead, I study graded readers now.
Why did I make such a decision when my aim is to be able to read philosophical texts in the original language? Because I had already begun to feel that my comprehension is not based on sound judgement. That is, I read without paying due attention to grammatical structure or without learning what one must have learned before one intends to interpret complex texts in French or German. Since I enrolled in the graduate school, I have seen not a few students who have learned to read English in an unreliable way. So much so that one day one of such students made a summary of an article without including in it an argument which his supervisor thought was indispensable when summarising it. If I went on reading complex philosophical works this way, it would be probable that I could only read them imprecisely. I hope I will be able to read in a more judicious way next year. For now, it is time to be patient.