How Many Words Have I Read So Far?

This week I capped off the Harry Potter series in Spanish.  It didn’t exactly take me by surprise that I’m done with it now, as I’ve been reading through the whole series quite avidly and more or less sprinted my way through the final book, but the fact is it’s over.

This feels like a pretty good accomplishment.  It’s not exactly a short series, which can be seen by the fact that it’s taken me four months to read through the seven books, with a few detours along the way.  I know it isn’t exactly high brow reading, but part of this project is all about volume, and the volume for the Harry Potter series over a million words.  So in that vein of thought, I figure it might be interesting to figure out exactly how much Spanish I’ve read up to this point.

So, first off, I’m afraid that my information is going to rely on word counts for the English language versions of the books I’ve read, out of necessity.  The figures for the Spanish translations just aren’t really available, unfortunately.  I’ve tried looking, and the few sources I could find ended up being web pages in Spanish that then listed the English figures, so yeah, no go on that front.  Additionally, I’m only considering novels I’ve read, which leaves out a whole bunch of children’s picture books and a few short stories, which of course leaves this list incomplete, but in the grand scheme of things is likely not missing very much content.  Also, considering I’m rounding the numbers to a small degree, and I also am just sorta taking the sources’ word for it that these are accurate counts, we’re going to be working in an abstract “close enough” ballpark anyway.

And without further ado, the list of books:

  • Charlie y la Fábrica de Chocolate: 30,700 words
  • El Principito: 16,500 words (x2)
  • El Maravilloso Mago de Oz: 34,800 words
  • El Superzorro: 9,400 words
  • Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal: 76,900 words
  • El Odio que Das: 96,000 words
  • Harry Potter y la Cámara Secreta: 85,100 words
  • Harry Potter y el Prisionero de Azkaban: 107,200 words
  • 1984: 88,900 words
  • Harry Potter y el Cáliz de Fuego: 190,600 words
  • Harry Potter y la Orden del Fénix: 257,000 words
  • Harry Potter y el Misterio del Príncipe: 168,900 words
  • Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte: 198,200 words
  • Nocturno de Chile: 42,900 words
  • Total Word Count: 1,419,600

Well, that certainly is a lot of words, though not quite as high as I thought it might be.  Really, that’s from misremembering how long Harry Potter was altogether, because for some reason I thought it was scraping 1.5 million in total, rather than just being a little over 1 million flat.  I knew that HP was going to take up the bulk of the count, because, well, it’s been the bulk of what I have been reading, but I wasn’t sure by how much.  At 1,083,900 words in just Potter, and 335,700 for everything else, it’s a pretty wide margin.

In looking back over the last four months of blogs just to make sure I didn’t skip anything, something that stands out is I had a rapid increase in reading speed.  A lot of the early books on the list took as long or longer in the number of days to read as the longest books in the Harry Potter series, while being dwarfed in length.  The speed increase seems more extreme in just October, but there’s a strong possibility that October had more instances of me getting carried away with reading.  If that’s the case, I got through more books in the same number of days by increasing the amount of time per day I was working my way through them.  I’ll have a better picture of how true that is next week, when I can break down October’s numbers as a whole.

Overall, I think the most important takeaway is an appropriate sense of scale for what is meant by “quantity” when discussing the input-based learning method.  As I discussed last week regarding my reading level, I’m pretty high, but not totally comfortable with it yet, and a large amount of my passive vocabulary that I can read and understand is not yet active vocabulary to where I could use it in communication.  And I can’t say much of that has changed in the last week.  So what quantity are people talking about when they say to consume comprehensible input?  Well, over a million words gets you to an intermediate level.  For me at least, maybe I’m just thick.  😛

Well, let’s look at this week’s numbers.

Tuesday 10/23

  • Anki: 140 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 200 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 3 chapters of Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte, ~70 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of My Little Pony, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 10/24

  • Anki: 150 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 200 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 2 chapters of Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte, ~80 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 10/25

  • Anki: 140 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 200 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 2 chapters of Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte, ~80 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 2 episodes of Daniel San GMR, ~30 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 10/26

  • Anki: 30 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 200 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 4 chapters of Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte, ~150 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 10/27

  • Anki: 30 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 200 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 1/3rd of Nocturno de Chile, ~90 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 10/28

  • Anki: 40 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 200 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 1/3rd of Nocturno de Chile, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 4 episodes of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 10/29

  • Anki: 50 cards reviewed, ~10 minutes
  • Duolingo: 200 XP earned, ~30 minutes
  • Reading: 1/3rd of Nocturno de Chile, ~100 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~15 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Anki: 580 cards reviewed, 70 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 1400 XP, 210 minutes
  • Total Watching/Listening: 2 tv episodes and 8 YouTube episodes watched, 165 minutes
  • Total reading: 10 chapters and 1 book read, 660 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 hours 25 minutes

Overall pretty solid, though I’m not pleased with myself over my watching/listening numbers.  I was pretty wrapped up in finishing off Las Reliquias de la Muerte and let Friday go, but there’re some not-great days besides that one, too.  I really need to step back and refocus on improving my ear for Spanish.

Although the main theme of this blog was sparked by me finishing Harry Potter in total, I also read and finished another book this week, Nocturno de Chile.  It forced me to break from my usual logging process for books, as it didn’t have any chapter breaks.  Or paragraph breaks, for that matter, being a stream-of-conciousness first person rant of sorts.  It was a pretty heady read, though fairly followable for me.  I’m probably going to be following it with Matar a un Ruiseñor, which I’ve had in my possession waiting to be read for quite a few months now.

Also, last Thursday, I had a minor learning-routine tragedy.  I went out and bought a new cell phone, as my old one was getting kinda squirrelly.  I was careful about making sure all my apps and stuff copied over, but I failed to remember that Anki is built in a weird (bad) way that requires forced-syncing in order for progress to show up everywhere.  I use Anki exclusively on my phone, didn’t sync it before the store did a factory reset and took my old phone as a trade in, and lost, oh…three months’ worth of usage?  Four?

Anki isn’t a big part of my learning and I devote a really small amount of time per day to it, so it wasn’t a huge loss, but I was not redoing all of that progress.  I added a different deck to my phone, one that has what is billed as “whole, useful sentences,” as a possible replacement.  Being sentences to review instead of individual words, it takes a bit longer to go through each card, so the number of cards reviewed has dropped a lot.  I’m not too keen on the deck so far, but I’m giving it a fair shake still, and I seem to be warming up to it a little.  If my opinion of it doesn’t keep improving, I might find a different replacement, or end up ditching Anki entirely for now.  I’m not really sure how much help it was giving me in the first place.

But enough talk.  Have at you!  By which I mean TTFN.

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