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I'm looking for a phrase that will allow me to say things like this:

Having learned English allowed me to read more books [in their original language].

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

You’re nearly there already: in the original is probably the most usual wording for this. Or to be more specific you can say in the original English, or whatever other language is in question.

I found this a bit irritating: if my French is insufficient to allow me to read Proust in the original, why should the editors assume that I can read Racine?  — Stephen Fall, www.readingproust.com

Google provides many more examples.

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+1 for providing extra Google examples –  simchona Jul 19 '11 at 9:12

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