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People have differing opinions on news broadcast these days.  Some feel that news programs have a slanted view of things, depending on who owns the news program.  Others feel that the news is a vital lifeline as to what’s going on in society.  But can watching the news in Korean help you with your Korean?  As with everything else, there are pros and cons to this.  Let’s take a look at some of them.

Cons

There are many news programs about Korea, but not all of them are in Korean.  If you are watching a news program in English, you may learn about culture.  But it will not be helpful in learning the Korean language.  News programs that are in Korean are designed for those who are fluent in Korean, not for those who are learning Korean.  If you are in the beginning stages of your Korean learning, this can be overwhelming and very fast paced.  The frustration of this can be enough to make a person want to quit learning Korean.

Also, if it is a local news program, there could be an extra accent in the Korean that could make getting any information even harder.  For this reason, I would advise one to be cautions about trying to learn from the news when they first start learning Korean.

Pros

If you are more advanced in learning Korean, you may be able to learn a lot from the news in Korean.  Many Korean Americans have told me that the news in Korean is usually a higher level of Korean.  So instead of speaking in Korean at a friend level, it is usually at an honorific level of Korean.  While this is not a level of Korean that you will hear spoken a lot, it is important to know this level of Korean for important occasions.  If you can pick up on words, you will hear words that may not come up in regular conversations.  This will cause your vocabulary to grow, which will be helpful in the future.  The news also has subtitles to describe what is going on.  While these can move fast, you can practice reading out loud  in Korean everyday with the news.  Being comfortable reading Korean aloud can be very beneficial for your future.

Another pro for watching the news regularly is that you can use it to gauge your progress in Korean.  If you feel comfortable with watching the news in Korean, set a goal of either reading the subtitles or just understanding the news program(s) that you watch.  Do this everyday for 2-3 months if  possible.  If you are reading the subtitles, you will probably notice that your reading is faster, and possibly, more accurate than it was before you started.  If you are just trying to understand the news, you will probably notice that you are understanding more of the new than you did before you started.  Seeing proof that you are making progress will help you to keep pressing forward in your Korean.  Even if you are not reading or understanding as much as you would like to at this point, you will have a goal in mind that you will work harder to achieve.  Having are reaching realistic goals are what helps language learners to progress permanently.

At some point, all of us will need the news to know what is going on.  Since the Korean War never officially ended, Korean news will be vital if you are in Korea.  It can be hard and frustrating to learn Korean via the news.  But if you use Korean news programs properly, you can and will see improvements in your Korean.  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to #askthewaygookin.

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