Reading a book and not understanding it due to language use

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DraculaMihawk
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What is the best way to deal with the use of archaic/complex language when reading? I'm reading this Jane Austen book for the first week and I feel like I'm having to constantly check up on words that I don't understand. Even then I don't fully 'get' the passage of text because of it's phrasing. I have other reading to do as well so I can't spend too much time deciphering one text fully. I feel like it's more translation work than English Literature.

Any advice or tips?
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by DraculaMihawk)
What is the best way to deal with the use of archaic/complex language when reading? I'm reading this Jane Austen book for the first week and I feel like I'm having to constantly check up on words that I don't understand. Even then I don't fully 'get' the passage of text because of it's phrasing. I have other reading to do as well so I can't spend too much time deciphering one text fully. I feel like it's more translation work than English Literature.

Any advice or tips?
Well Jane Austen isn't archaic language - archaic is something that is really old like Shakespeare or earlier. However, I do agree with you that Jane Austen has a very complex and unfamiliar syntax pattern that can be very confusing. The best thing you can do is to read the novel once just lightly; don't think too hard when reading it even if you don't get it. Then read it the 2nd time and make a few notes on the old words.

It's funny because I can understand Shakespeare more than I can with Austen. Her work is very "blocky" and heavy which makes it very hard to decode and understand.

I would honestly just reread it twice and make gradual notes as you get further into the book.
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jenoverboard
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This is going to sound like the most basic advice ever - but watch a movie/tv adaptation first. The first time I read pride and prejudice I had no idea what was happening, but after watching the bbc adaptation I went back and re-read - it made so much more sense once I understood what was going on. Which then had knock on effect - I've now read 3 Austen books without having any trouble, as I managed to work through her style with p&p
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