There is a multitude of ways to learn a language, from reading a grammar book to listening to the radio. However, none is quite as informative and effective as reading the news online.
You may think that finding newspapers in a different language is extremely tricky, but this is far from the case thanks to a new form of media – online news media! In this day and age, reading news stories from all over the world has never been more accessible. Now is a better time than ever to master the art of learning a language through using the technology that is right at your fingertips. Reading online news stories in a foreign language, combined with the MosaLingua Desktop app to save key words that your not familiar with, will pave the way for the new, fluent you!
Read on to learn five tips to learn a language using online news media.
Online media, like a good novel or comic, is an excellent learning tool. Why? Because it undeniably allows you to build on your vocabulary. Whether you are learning basic and recurring words or complex and industry-specific ones, by looking at online media regularly, not only does your vocabulary expand, but you also learn about sentence construction, syntax, grammar, and conjugation. You get a feel for a language in the written form.
The biggest drawback of learning a language using the press (as with reading in general), is that it does not give you any precision when it comes to pronouncing words. However, we will see later in this article that when used with other methods, it will allow you to master the pronunciation of even the most difficult vocabulary.
Besides the fact that online media is completely free to use, it allows you to practice a specific set of vocabulary, the set that YOU want to learn. By using such websites as Newsman.jp or Newspapermap.com (of which you’ll read more about later on) you will have access to a broad variety of newspapers. Looking at websites like these will help you find articles on topics that are of interest to you. For instance, if you want to expand your sports vocabulary then you simply must visit the sports pages of a newspaper. The same goes for technology, economy, and society; whatever subject you are interested in, an online newspaper will be available to you!
This will allow you to enrich your vocabulary on any given subject, while also enriching yourself on lexical fields. In the written press it is not an uncommon occurrence to come across a word and its multiple synonyms many times, which allows you to learn how to avoid repeating a word through using new synonyms that you learn.
Sites to Use to Learn a Language through Online News Media
- Newsmap.jp is my favorite, as you are offered access to many countries per tab. Start by clicking on the country of your choice (by default you’d likely want to choose an American press). On each tab, you’ll be given access to a page of headlines. This means that you do not choose a specific newspaper, but instead a subject that you are interested in. This is what makes Newsmap.jp so interesting. If you do not have all of the necessary details of a certain newspaper title, don’t panic. A pop-up (move your mouse over the title) will give you the article’s summary, date of publication, and the number of articles written on the particular subject (to deepen your search if necessary).To access the article you must click on the headline, which will redirect you to the newspaper’s website (and the article in question more specifically).
Note: This site uses a color code for the front pages of the given newspapers. Each color corresponds to a subject, such as the economy, technology, and sports…
- Newspaperman.com is a rather well-built website as well. You do not need to choose a specific topic, but you do need to know the specific newspaper you want to read. The site gives you a large world map on its homepage, giving you a multitude of geo points (small arrows). Each point represents a specific newspaper. You must simply click on it to be redirected to the newspaper’s website. It is both extremely simple and efficient.
Note: This site also lets you choose a newspaper by picking a certain language instead of finding it on the map.
Now that you know how to access news stories from across the globe, let’s take a look at five tips to learning a new language by reading them regularly!
5 Tips to Learn a Language through Online News Media
1. (Try to) Read every day
It’s crucial that you read the newspapers every day to learn, and especially to memorize new vocabulary. The good news is that current events are just that. They change every day, which allows you to learn about new subjects every day and not endlessly read the same type of text (as is the case when you’re reading a novel).
Reading every day can also help you assess your learning progress. For instance, you come across a word you don’t understand on the first day. After several minutes of thinking, save the word in a new MosaLingua map to go back to on a later date. The following day, when you read the same article with the same word in it, you will have a much easier time remembering it. Even if you do not remember it right away, chances are the next day you’ll have it anchored in your brain.
This example may seem a bit simple but it’s an outstanding way to memorize vocabulary in the long-term through repetition. (Check out our article on the spaced repetition system here). Each day, take the time to read for a few minutes in a foreign language. Combine this with our MosaLingua’s Desktop App to store phrases and words that you want to learn, and you’ll be making awesome progress in no time.
2. Use context clues for help
As mentioned earlier, before looking for a word you don’t know in the dictionary, we recommend that you first think critically. This is because one of the main benefits of reading online news, just like any other book, is that it gives you words in context, not just a nonsensical vocabulary list.
Before you jump right to the first dictionary you find, use the words surrounding the mystery word to attempt to find meaning. With some luck, you may figure out some of the word’s synonyms. That might help you guess the meaning of the word, and make new connections in the lexical field at the same time.
This is quite a clever method when you have a grasp of sentence construction in your target language. It’s a good idea to use this technique when you already have an intermediate level in the language.
3. Make use of online dictionaries
I remember I once went totally OFF-TOPIC on a high school English paper. Why? Because I was missing the translation of ONE word. There was a single word that I did not understand, and there were no context clues to help me understand it. I was lost without that one word (today I know it well). I missed the entire big picture!
So yes, sometimes even after several minutes of reflection, research, and deduction, it is difficult (if not sometimes impossible) to find a word’s meaning. A word that could change the entire meaning of the text, no less… The good news is that there are tools nowadays to help you quickly and easily locate the translation of these words: online dictionaries and translators.
4. Create your own MosaLingua flashcards
Once you’ve found a word and its meaning, save it on your MosaLingua maps, which were created specifically for this purpose. Review the new word using your app, and with strategic repetition, you’ll eventually memorize it for good.
How do you create a MosaLingua flashcard?
- Go to the “Explore” tab
- Click on “Useful Lists”
- Click on “My New Maps” and then the + sign
- You can then add the word in the given language with its translation and any additional text (for instance, the word used in a sentence)
We wanted to create a comprehensive tool that allows you to create cards on the go when you are reading an online newspaper (or any other text for that matter): This tool is called MosaDiscovery!
It is a tool that can quickly and easily be installed on the browser of your choice, which allows you to:
- look up the meaning of a word quickly from any web page
- add this word very easily to any MosaLingua application to help you retain it in your long term memory through the MOSA Learning method
5. Learn pronunciation
When we learn a language, pronunciation is key. Unfortunately, the biggest downside of reading is that it does not allow us to learn the right pronunciation of a word, just its written form. How then are you expected to know its pronunciation?
Couple this learning method of using online newspapers with a different method based on spoken language this time. For instance, listen to audiobooks to improve your listening comprehension and pronunciation (by repeating words out loud). How can you find the right pronunciation of a given word using this method? Google Translate is a great tool that gives you both the translation and pronunciation of the word during your search. Additionally, the MosaLingua app allows you to listen to the pronunciation of words that are available on its lists.
Regularly reading the online newspaper is an effective way to learn a language. It is also an interesting learning method, as it allows you to latest stories in the news. Personally, I read the Brazilian newspapers to keep me both informed on the latest news stories in Brazil (a country I particularly cherish) and to learn a language through memorizing new vocabulary (and refresh without ever losing track).
Additionally, MosaLingua’s desktop app, MosaLingua Web gives you a wide variety of different newspapers, magazines, and other written materials to get you started on reading news stories in a new language.
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