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Reading Newspapers to Learn English

Updated on February 5, 2017
Sridevi, star of the Indian movie English Vinglish about learning English in America.
Sridevi, star of the Indian movie English Vinglish about learning English in America.
Newspapers have cut down the price of their weekend editions to about two dollars because of the internet competition.
Newspapers have cut down the price of their weekend editions to about two dollars because of the internet competition. | Source

Christmas Languages

Living your homeland and settling in another country has many adjustment difficulties, especially the new language.

Languages are not homogeneous because there's a language for every occasion. Christmas for example, or the holiday season as it is called. It has its own language that will grace the internet and newspapers.

Canada and the U.S. have many free newspapers at road corners. Newcomers can use them this Christmas to learn about Christmas activity, even if they don't celebrate it. Newspapers are still good educational tools, especially language and writing.

Languages Live in People

Languages are like water. They need grooves to run along, pause somewhere and form a river, then glide down mountains on their way to meet the promiscuous lover: the sea.

If I want to attend university in Norway, I should be outside as much as possible checking out Norway coffee culture so that I can meet Norsk, the language.

It is out there, living in store advertisements, children playing in the park, a woman talking to her dog, men playing local games, lovers fighting with their mouths and in the bus.

Can You Learn Languages Online?

I can learn a language online. The internet has everything.

  • You are a student right? You travelled more than 50,000 air miles to come to a foreign country for a university degree and professors want assignments in Spanish, German, English or French.

  • Your darling killer phone or computer will not give you the feel, the nuances, the expressions, hand gestures and the rhythm of languages.

  • You must be on London pavements, to understand why the market woman, newspaper cellar, barman and fish and chips seller call you ‘Luv.’

  • You must live with the British upper crust to understand why a man who looks like Danny Denzongpa, the Indian actor, speaks like Prince Charles and calls everybody ‘darling.’ That is language in motion.

  • Internet articles are also not good for you as a student because they are all gravitating towards bullet points. They are mostly ‘how to’ articles.

  • Remember the time factor on the internet. People are impatient to click to the next blog or hyperlink. Bullet points are easier to read.

  • Your college professor has all the time in the world to read your assignment.

Newspapers as Foreign Language Teachers

It is easy to pick up a new language in North America because there are many free newspapers. They even have boxes in major intersections.

It is a common sight to see people in the morning, clutching their coffee mugs, bending down to open a green box for a copy of the daily Metro newspaper, published by Star Media Group. Winnipeg has its edition. Toronto its own.

Yes. Metro newspapers in most cities are also online, which means you can scroll down your mobile phone and read today’s Vancouver Metro.

So what’s the point? The point genius, is that an old school newspaper has pages. You turn pages to get information, and your professors call it reading.

Some of your parents sold properties, livestock, borrowed money, sold their labour to business slave masters, just for you to fly to another country to get a college education. And those books, how much are they $200 each? They have pages like newspapers.

So, let’s read shall we? The good thing about newspapers is that they are organized into sections and you need that habit.

What your professor needs from you is a well thought out paper, with engaging sub-titles and the obligatory citation list.

Form Students Newspaper Clubs

There are five or 15 students from your country who are struggling with learning English or French. Form clubs where you will read weekend newspapers and study layout and design.

It doesn’t matter which part of the world you are, there will always be a newspaper. Big cities like Chicago have weekend editions.

Club Meets Regularly

  • Meet at my place this week. Yours next week.

  • Coffee shops won’t cut it. You will be laughing, eating and reading. Nyet!

  • Sit on the floor and make room for newspapers.

  • If your rooms are small, book a college room or someone’s basement.

  • Get used to how the language is written. It is colour with a ‘u’ if you attending Durham University in the United Kingdom. It is color if you are at Penn State University.

  • How long are the newspaper articles? Your university assignments tend to be longer, I think.

  • Read aloud. There are six people in the room. Read a paragraph each.

  • Why? Confidence. It will build your confidence in the language. Tomorrow you might be chosen to introduce a visiting microbiologist from your country.

  • You are still at the polytechnic but check out the careers section in the newspaper

Practise the New Language

  1. Most newspapers have a Community Section, where they list what is happening around town. Weekly farmers’ markets is something you should attend religiously, to see the language in action.

  2. Fish markets sell more than fish. You don’t have to say anything. Just listen to customers talking to the fish seller.

  3. Garden shows. You will learn a lot about flowers and pick up phrases local people use.

  4. Car shows. They are usually held at convention centres. You need some money to get in though.

  5. Vintage car shows are usually free, where owners proudly display their automobiles.

  6. The point is, newspapers have free events you can attend to practise the language and also hear it is spoken.

New Language New Investment

Foreign students learn new languages out of necessity. They cannot make it to graduation day without them. Academic staff wants assignments. Students must make presentations before teachers and their peers.

You can also learn a new language. It is an investment into the future. The world no longer has two shades of gray: English and French. North American economies depend on the constant influx of people from all over the globe.

Instead of swearing, why don’t they go back to their country? Learn a new language. It will open up an amazing world of etiquette, architecture, sociology, astronomy, physics and the arts.


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