A brief reflection: I consider myself lucky to speak and read several languages. Picking up Temeraire in Dutch has made two things clear: firstly, my Dutch isn’t as rusty as I think! Secondly, the staggering cognitive load of reading in a foreign language. I understand everything as I read it (I don’t actively translate along in my head), but it takes my full concentration. All that grey matter normally deployed on sifting implications and judging characters is focused on basic meaning instead.

It’s good to be reminded on a regular basis what a difference reading in your mother tongue makes. I have ALL THE RESPECT for my friends who read books in English as a foreign language and make it look easy. Now lets take a moment to consider authors who write their works in a second language. People, you are AMAZING. Never forget it.

Lastly, did you know that the Dutch word for ‘pacing’ (as in around a cabin) translates literally as ‘polar bearing’? OMINOUS, much? I love Dutch.

Do you ever read in a language that isn’t your mother tongue?