Can you recommend passages to memorize?
March 15, 2012 9:27 AM Subscribe
Can you recommend passages I can memorize in Spanish, French, Italian, German, or Russian?
posted by kristi to education (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm trying to keep up the various languages I've studied over the years:
* Italian, and
One thing I've found really helpful is memorizing a few sentences of something in the target language. I have a simplified reader of Tolstoy's "Nikita's Childhood" for Russian, a couple of plays by my favorite Spanish playwright (Buero Vallejo) for Spanish, and Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity" in German, but I could use some other good sources.
Can you recommend some material in any of those languages that I can memorize?
For me, ideal passages would be:
- clearly and elegantly written
- medium difficulty or medium-advanced difficulty - harder than Dick and Jane, but easier than Shakespeare (except the Russian - medium-easy or medium would be better there; my Russian's pretty basic)
- publicly available: in the public domain or otherwise widely legally available on the web
- compelling - JFK's "we will go to the moon" rather than dry analysis
- not overly flowery; I prefer memorable prose over poetry
- reasonably modern - probably no earlier than 1850 or 1800 ... 21st Century is fine if it's easily available
I'm usually memorizing 20-80 words at a time, but I'm happy to work on longer pieces in chunks. Complete long works are fine, but I would especially appreciate pointers to specific shortish passages to focus on.
Bits of plays (especially monologs) or well-known speeches (like MLK speeches or Churchill's WWII speeches) would be great. Really evocative descriptive passages would also be good.
The more vocabulary and phrasing I could carry over into everyday conversation or thinking, the better.
Among my favorite English writers for these purposes would be Tom Stoppard and John McPhee, just to give you an idea of some styles I like.