Easily learn English effectively with the help of English language newspapers
No one can deny the significant influence reading has on our progress in learning a foreign language. For people who do not have an English-speaking partner to converse with; or don’t have the time to take classes and work on their skills, reading is the best option.
The truth is, reading materials, as English language newspapers, are the most accessible tools that help the learners to enhance their English skills. But it is also important what material to use and what to read. We also progress in the learning process based on our conditions and our comfort level according to the type of resources we use.
As an example, books are excellent reading materials. But they can be too long and take too much time to finish. Reading them can especially be hard for people with ADHD or people who have a short attention span. That is when shorter reading materials enter the game.
One of the reading materials is English language newspapers. This article will explain the benefits and advantages of reading English language newspapers for the English learners.
- 1 Is reading English language newspapers hard?
- 2 Why we should learn English by reading English language newspapers
- 3 The main features of English language newspapers
- 4 Effective learning by reading English language newspapers
- 5 Choosing a preferred section of the English language newspaper
- 6 Noting down the new vocabulary from the English language newspapers
- 7 Talking about the events in the English language newspapers
Is reading English language newspapers hard?
English language newspapers are not literal products. When we start reading in English, we cannot go straight to Shakespeare’s plays or Jane Austen novels. It might be helpful to think of learning English as climbing a ladder. We can’t skip steps, or we will fall and hurt ourselves.
Learning English, or any other language in this context, is precisely the same. We have to start easy and keep up the work until we are ready to take the next step, which is moving to more complex reading passages.
Usually, if language learners are at an intermediate level, they can start reading English language newspapers. But this still does not mean that the learner will be able to understand a passage and comprehend the meaning completely.
One of the most important reading features when learning a foreign language is coming across new words and forms. A common obstacle in the way of consistent learning by reading is feeling disappointed and discouraged because the learners may not be able to keep up with the passage. This can be due to the increasing number of new words and expressions or the repetition of an unknown grammatical structure.
In many cases, the readers are forced to face the insufficiency of their knowledge when they start reading in a foreign language, and soon they lose the courage to keep reading. But what they have to keep in mind is that the reader (the learner), is not expected to be fluent at the beginning stages of reading.
The learner is expected to reach fluency after reading efficiently many times. Also, keep in mind that the key to reading and reaching fluency is not giving up and keeping up with the learning process.
Why we should learn English by reading English language newspapers
Reading English language newspapers is really beneficial for the English learners because of many reasons. Some of the benefits that can be mentioned is:
- Newspapers include current events happening daily all around the world. That is why they barely contain any outdated form of language. So basically, anything we read in the English language newspapers are considered standard and updated vocabulary and grammar.
- Since the majority of people read English language newspapers, the grammar structure and vocabulary used in the English language newspapers are at a certain level that can be comprehensive for anyone. Therefore, English language newspapers are a perfect learning source for English learners.
- Sometimes, new words, phrases, and even specific language structures are invented and added to the language when new events happen. Reading English language newspapers is an excellent way to keep track of new forms and phrases.
The main features of English language newspapers
Every reader should keep in mind that reading English language newspapers, which is basically the same as every other reading material, is slightly different since it is written in journalistic language. This means that there are specific linguistic features we can only find in English language newspapers and not in, for example, a novel.
Here are some of these features the readers can look out for in English language newspapers:
newspapers are meant to be engaging. One thing that kills the engagement is overly long sentences. This is why the readers may encounter some structures that may seem odd if they are not familiar with it, Especially in headlines, sentences are shorter and may be written in a form contracting written English language standards.
For example, many headlines do not include verbs. This means they are generally not written like a standard, correct sentence. Take this headline as an example:
“A Time of miracles” at Iranian bookstores
This is not a full sentence. Yet the words do the trick, and we still understand what the headline means. The correct type of this headline would be: “A Time of Miracle is now being sold at Iranian bookstores.”
Change in verb tenses
It is obvious that first an event or incident happens, then the newspapers write about it. Usually, we use the past tense for something like this. However, the headlines in English language newspapers are in the simple present tense form.
Repetition of sounds
Using words that include the same consonants sometimes increases the effect of the headline and links the words together in an almost poetic way.
For instance, when Donald Trump won the election and was declared the president of the United States, an English language newspaper announced the news like “Trump Triumphs.” We can clearly see and hear the repetition of the sounds “t,” “r,” and “m.”
That is what makes the headline interesting in English language newspapers. If the repeated words are at the beginning of the headlines, the repetition is called alliteration, which is pretty common in the headlines of English language newspapers.
Wordplay and puns
Every language is full of single words with multiple meanings and words with similar pronunciations but different meanings. These two linguistic features are the leading causes why wordplay is possible in English language newspapers.
One popular form of wordplay is “pun,” which is basically a joke based on similar pronunciations or meanings of two or more words.
For example, one specific headline in an English language newspaper was meant to open up to the news about a Dog that caused its owners’ house to blow up. The headline in the English language newspaper for this specific article was “Scooby Doom.” This entertaining title is a wordplay with the name “Scooby Doo,” a famous cartoon dog, and the word “Doom,” which means destruction.
Sometimes, even when every word, the whole sentence or the phrase in the English language newspaper is understandable, it may still not make sense. This mainly happens in the English language newspaper headlines and can either be because of the double meaning behind a word, the puns, or any other feature that makes a headline stand out.
The important thing to understand is that the headlines in an English language newspaper are supposed to be ambiguous because ambiguity attracts people. A headline that summarizes the whole article in a few words is good, but simultaneously gives away the whole point of the article.
An ambiguous, two-sided, and enigmatic headline or title, adds a touch of mystery to the event that has happened. It invites the readers to read the article completely, which is the primary purpose of English language newspapers.
All in all, we mentioned the above features so that the readers know English language newspapers are not always easy to read, but practice makes perfect. If the readers encounter an odd-looking headline or a strange form of language, they only need to keep reading the whole article, study, and figure out the meanings.
Effective learning by reading English language newspapers
We have mentioned that reading English Language newspapers improves various language skills. However not any kind of reading can help us to learn. We have to try to learn effectively, which means getting the most out of an English language newspaper.
There are few ways by which the learners can try to improve their language skills when reading English language newspapers. Some of the methods are mentioned below:
Choosing a preferred section of the English language newspaper
People have different interests. Not everyone may like politics or sports. Some people only care about cultural news while others might only be interested in the state of the economy.
Learners need to choose the topics in the English language newspapers which are interesting because although developing an extended vocabulary in all fields is beneficial, their level of engagement will definitely decrease if they force themselves to read something they are not interested in.
Noting down the new vocabulary from the English language newspapers
Every learner will certainly come across at least one word they have not heard of before. Especially if they start reading English language newspapers as a beginner or intermediate student. Therefore, facing all the new words and phrases in a passage can become overwhelming.
As a result, every single word the learners learn and remember means encountering fewer unknown words the next time they are reading an English language newspaper. So, it is absolutely necessary to look up the new words and expressions and then learn what they mean.
Language learners can keep a record of the new words in their preferred format. Write them down in their notebook, make flashcards, or prepare their own kind of dictionary. As long as it helps to stick new vocabulary to their long-time memory, it does not matter.
However, as hard as it may sound, it is not suggested to look up every single new word right after reading it. The best thing to do, is to go on with reading and then try to guess the meaning of the word by the guidance of the context.
Talking about the events in the English language newspapers
As much as the learners need to focus on reading correctly and efficiently, reading is not the only skill English language newspapers improves. If the learners know someone who speaks English, it is suggested that they remember parts of the English language newspaper and the events to start and form a conversation regarding them.
At first, it might be hard to keep the conversation going, but eventually, the learner will notice significant effects on their speaking skills. However, if no English-speaking partner is available, then the learners are advised to come up with conversations and dialogues and practice on their own.
As we stated in this article, no one can deny the fact that reading helps the learners to boost their language skills. If the learners are determined, they can use English language newspapers as a helpful resource and level up. Hopefully, this article would be able to help them understand the concept of learning English by reading English language newspapers.