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Session 16

Do you think reading great literature is important?
In today’s episode we will be discussing whether it is important for people to read fiction.

Ogbarruu beekamaa dubbisuun barbaachisaadha jette yaadda?
Kutaa har’aa keessatti, asoosama dubbisuu faayidaa namootaaf qabaachuusaarratti mari’anna.

Session 16 score

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Is literature important?

Look at the Session Vocabulary – make sure you know what these words mean:

  • entertainment
  • literature
  • novel


What language is the most popular novel in the world written in? Is it:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Chinese

Listen to the discussion about whether reading literature is important and find out the answer.

Listen to find the answers. Then check them on the transcript below.

Show transcript Hide transcript

Yooyyaa! Gara English Together Afaan Inglizii waliwajjin kan mata duree tibbanaa irratti mari’annuu fi qooqa dubbachuun si barbaachisan si qoodnutti baga nagana dhufte. Ani Caaliidha, akkasumas Fiilii fi Saam naa waliin jiru.

Hi, I’m Sam.

And I’m Phil. Welcome!

Har’a barbaachisummaa ogbarruu dubbanna. Jalqabarratti gaafii xiqqoon siif qaba. Addunyaarratti kitaabni haasosamaa haalaan beekama ta’e afaan kamiin barreeffamee? Afaan Ingilizii, Afaan Ispeen yookaan Afaan Chaayinaa?

Wow, that’s a hard one! There are lots of people that speak all of those languages. Is the answer Chinese?

Oh, I don’t know. Is it English?

Gaariidha, utuma ati deebii kanaa yaada jirtuu, waa’ee kitaabaa bakka biroorraa dhufee fi waa’ee Azeerbiijaan dubbatu kan BBC Moniteriing Niwuusin dhihaate haa caqasnu.

News insert
The leader of the Azeri region of Nakhchivan has published a list of 30 books that he says all citizens should read. The Public's Supreme Assembly Chairman, Vasif Talibov, produced the list in order to encourage patriotism and broaden youngsters' horizons, the Minval.az news website reports. They include classics from Azeri and medieval Eastern authors, as well as Western authors such as Jack London and Ernest Hemingway. This means that a set of the 30 books should be sent to every school, library and cultural institution in Nakhchivan.

So, what do you think about this – ogbarrruu dubbisuun dirqamaa ta’uutu irra jiraataaree?

It’s a funny story isn’t it – I mean, I love a good book, reading’s great – but good as great literature can be, they’re just stories – they’re fiction. I don’t think anyone should be made to read stories.

‘Fiction’iin asoosamadha – it sounds like you don’t think fiction is important?

Well yeah – it’s not history, it’s not what really happened – all it is, is entertainment, isn’t it?

Wait, you can’t be serious? I mean, of course literature is fiction – but it’s so much more than that – it really allows you to broaden your horizons.

‘Broadening horizons’ means daangaa beekumsaan bal’isuu. Yeah, books can really do that, can’t they? They can really bakka nama sana si kaa’uun akka ilaalchaafi beekumsikee bal’atu si gochuu danda’a.

I think it’s a good thing that people are being encouraged to read more literature. If you can read about someone else’s life, their problems, you can get an amazing insight into how they think, or what their world’s like.

‘Insight’ jechuun hubannoo – waa’e kitaabilee waantan jaaladhu - kallatti (akkaataa) namni biroon tokko itti yaadu akkan hubadhu waan na godhuufi. It is great to get those insights into other people's lives. Why not have the list of things to read?

Wow, you two think too much! I love books, too – but I just want some escapism, to escape my life and pretend I’m in a world full of adventures. It doesn’t mean anything and no one should tell me I have to do it.

‘Escapism’ irraadheessuu/irranfachuu. You’re telling me that you just use books as a way to escape or forget about your own life?

And TV, and films, and videogames – it’s all escapism, it’s all for entertainment. It just helps me relax.

Look, it’s great that books are entertaining, and it’s great that they help you escape your routine – but maybe you should think where they can take you, and what you can learn…

Akkasumas haasaan kun waa’ee gaafii duraan gafatame sana na yadachiise – kitaabaa hasoosamaa haalaan gurgurame jedhame sun gara jaarraa 17ffaa fi biyya Ispeenitti nu geessa….Eeyye, maddawwan gara garaa akka raga bahanitti kitaabni asoosamaa yeroo maraaf haalaan beekumtii argate kun kitaaba Afaan Ispeeniin barreeffamee fi ‘Don Quixote’ (Doon Kiihootte)’ kan jedhamu ture.

I didn't’ expect that… so the most popular novel is in Spanish! I haven’t read it yet.

Maybe I should make you a list of books to read…. That’s going to be the first one… then you can tell me what insights you get from it.

You’re trying to broaden my horizons, aren’t you?


Gaarii, ani kitaabakiyya dubbisuun deema, barnoota torban kanaa xumurree nagaa otoo sittihindhaamiin dura garuu, jechoota har’a irratti dubbachaa ture haa’ilaallu – hundisaanii wa’ee ogbarruu wayita dubbannu kan itti fayadamuu dandeenyuudha. ‘Fiction’ jechuun asoosama, ‘to broaden horizons’ jechuun daangaa beekumsaa bal’isuu jechuudha, ‘insight’ jechuun hubannoo, akkasumas ‘escapism’ jechuun irraadheessuu jechuudha.

Turtii waliin qabaanneef galatoomi; barnoota dabalataa Afaan Ingilizii waliin-wajjiniitiin English Together torban ittaanu walitti deebina. Nagaatti.

Meaning & Use

fiction (noun)

Fiction refers to 'books and stories about imaginary events and people'. Books that give facts about real events, things or people are called non-fiction. We often use adjectives such as romantic, historical, crime or detective to describe the type of fiction, what it's about or where it's set.
Thomas Hardy wrote poetry as well as fiction.
My father prefers to read non-fiction, particularly history books.
Our neighbour is a successful writer of romantic fiction but she never talks about it.

The adjective is fictional, which we can use to describe a character, place or event in a book, play or film.
'Neverland' is a fictional island in the story of 'Peter Pan' but I always wished it was real when I was a child. It sounded magical! 


to broaden someone's horizons (verb phrase)

To broaden means 'to become wider' or 'to make something wider'. It is a regular verb. Horizons, when used in the plural form, refers to 'the limits of your experience'. With this meaning, it is either used with the verb broaden or expand, followed by a possessive adjective, such as my or your.
Travelling is the best education. It really broadened my horizons when I was younger. It still does!
You should read this article. It will expand your horizons and help you see the situation differently.


insight (noun)

Insight can mean 'a chance to understand something, or learn more about it'. It is often used with the verb get and followed by the preposition into. With this meaning, it is usually used as a countable noun.
It was a really interesting programme. It helped me get an insight into the history of that region.

can also mean 'the ability to notice or understand a lot about people or situations'. With this meaning, it is usually used as an uncountable noun.

Children can sometimes show amazing insight, more than we think they can!


escapism (noun)

Escapism 'is something pleasant or exciting that helps you to forget about real life and the boring and unpleasant parts of it'. It is an uncountable noun.
I love James Bond films. They're pure escapism!

Is literature important?

4 Questions

Choose the correct answer.
Deebii sirrii ta’e fili.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Over to you!

What do you think? Do you think reading can 'broaden your horizons'? Or do you think it's just 'escapism'? Tell us on our Facebook group.

Join us for our next episode of English Together when we will learn more useful language and practise your listening skills.
Turtii waliin qabaanneef galatoomi, barnoota dabalataa English Together torban ittaanu walitti deebina.

Session Vocabulary

  • fiction

    to broaden horizons
    ilaalchaa fi beekumsa bal’isuu



    abbaa biyyummaa (jaalala biyyaa)



    a novel
    kitaaba asoosamaa