When learning a new language, becoming embedded in the culture and learning about the world around you in this new country are essential. Not only will you learn more vocabulary, idioms, expressions, etc. this way, but you will also gain a better understanding of how language is used in practice.
For the month of June, we challenge you to start following Dutch news sources to learn more about the Netherlands from the Dutch perspective, in the Dutch language. You might think this is too challenging or too easy for you depending on your level, but we’ll give you some more tips to modify this challenge to your level of learning!
For Beginners, start by following a few Dutch news sources on Facebook or Twitter. This way, you can simply read the headlines of the day or week instead of reading an article in its entirety. Take the time to read the headline and look up any words that you don’t know.
You can follow:
For Intermediate learners, start trying to read articles more fully; at the very least, try to read the first few paragraphs and the conclusion. Go slowly when you try to read the article; you can also read one article over a few days if you get frustrated or if you don’t have the time to dedicate to read it all in one sitting. Look up words that you don’t know and try to get the general gist of the article rather than trying to understand every single word literally.
For Upper-Intermediate learners, start reading the entire article (you can, once again, do this in a few sittings and/or over a few days if needed). Take note of the sentence or paragraph structures, especially if they’re new to you. Again, look up words that you don’t know (and maybe synonyms for these words as well) and try to get a deeper understanding of the article this time around.
For Advanced learners, read full articles and maybe start to read more complex articles such as those published by the NRC or de Correspondent. Continue to take note of sentence and paragraph structures and get a feel for how the author builds up her argument. Look up synonyms for words and think about different ways that you could re-phrase sentences written in the article. Finally, for an extra challenge, you could even find 2 articles written on the same topic and compare their arguments (you can also read the Ja/Nee article in 360).
If you’re unsure of which news source to follow, you can try to find the Dutch equivalent of your current favorite news source (Vice, for example, has a Dutch-language version). Otherwise, you can do some searching around to see which news source suits you (some suggestions below):
P.S. You can also follow these new sites and listen to videos or podcasts while cooking, etc. if that suits you as well! That may be a bit more passive learning, but learning nonetheless and a good practice for your listening skills! 🙂