The Twenty-Page Rule

“After six weeks of Swedish, I was reading Swedish classics at sight. I had made a discovery: If anybody takes the trouble to look up and memorize every word and to understand every detail of the grammar in the first twenty pages of any book, he can read the rest of the book with scarcely any need of a dictionary. This is so because each author has his own style and mode of expression, which for the most part unfold in any twenty-page sampling of his writing. … That I could do this with Swedish inspired me with confidence that I could duplicate the experience with other languages as well. One summer I decided to learn French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Dano-Norwegian by myself, through studying each one of them one hour per day during the three-month vacation. … I took sight-reading examinations in the autumn at the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded sight-reading certificates in all of them.”

From Forgotten Scripts, by Cyrus H. Gordon (London, 1968), p. 137

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s