I was wondering if there was one word in English for "to read something thoroughly until one understands it well"? I am trying to translate a word which has this meaning in Chinese.
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pore over "She spends a lot of time poring over the historical records of the church."
This idiom means that you're spending a lot of time reading, studying, digging deep into a text. It has more of the idea of looking for details than spending time to comprehend it as a whole, so it may or may not be what you're after.
to learn and understand new facts, so that they become part of your knowledge: We had to absorb a lot of new information very quickly.
While it is not limited to obtaining information from reading, that is one significant avenue.
It's not strictly a proper English word, but 'grok' might suffice:
Source: The Jargon File
To pervade (or permeate) oneself with [a text] until it becomes assimilitated.
*Perdue pervaded himself with advertising, day and night. He devoured great volumes on the subject, and can still drop quotes by people like David Ogilvy and Rosser Reaves the way other people cite the Bible.
Another good phrase is to imbue oneself with, as in:
Or, more simply, you can do just as well saying to familiarize oneself with, as in:
"To impregnate [oneself with]" actually was the first expression that came to my mind, as long as it's a straightforward and quite naive translation of French "[s'] imprégner de". Though it shares the same sense in English, I'd best avoid it here, since it apparently is better known from native speakers of English in its literal sense "to make pregnant, get with child or young".
I impregnated myself with those five words for three years, until, through them, I became an initiate. I was only dimly aware of the work going on inside of me. The revelation which resolved my assimilation of Doru's words occurred in the autumn of 1979, in the countryside, and was occasioned by the fragrance of a small wine grape.
That being said, "to pervade oneself with [something]" or, said more simply, "to familiarize oneself with", still might be what works best for you, as long as "to impregnate oneself with" chiefly has the literal sense "to inseminate" in modern day English.
Con has this meaning: “To get to know; to study or learn, esp. by repetition (mental or vocal); hence, in wider sense, to pore over, peruse, commit to memory; to inspect, scan, examine" —OED 1, s.v. Con, v.1, 3.
In the 1662 edition of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (described by some as standing with Shakespeare and Milton as one of the great glories of the English language), The Collect for the 2nd Sunday in Advent reads:
Blessed Lord, who hast caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Unfortunately the compilers of the 1662 edition could not come up with one word, so they used five - and that is the best I can suggest. To read something thoroughly until one understands it well one must 'read, mark, learn and inwardly digest it.
I think it's best if you use a verb and an adverb together, instead of just using one word. If you think about it, the word 熟讀 actually has the same structure - 讀 to mean read, and 熟 to mean do it passionately.
Here, I think 讀 means to study rather than to read. And 熟讀 means to study 'passionately'. So I would lean towards using something like study zealously...however, if you're looking for just one word, then to master something implies that one has read repeatedly on the subject until it is understood.
Also, see this question for words that means to read carefully.