Learning a Foreign Language Using Wikipedia

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One of the tools I use in learning English is Wikipedia. I switched Google on my computer to English Language, so results in my Google search are always in English. At the top of these results there usually appears links to relevant Wikipedia pages. So I only use English Wikipedia. You don’t have to change your Google setup in order to find Wikipedia pages in your target language. One way to find them is by searching keywords in the language you’re learning. It is very likely that the proper link will appear in the search results. The other method is to search terms in your native language and switch the page on Wikipedia to your target language. On the left side of the page, there is a list of languages in which the topic is available. Of course, you can’t find every single language there, though.

You can read articles from Wikipedia not just for learning languages, though. You can try to read what you need for other reasons; for example searching information needed for any activities at school.

For me as an English learner, using Wikipedia is very comfortable, because the English part of this website is the biggest one and the articles in English are in most cases the most comprehensive.  Looking at the statistics on Wikipedia, we can see how big the role of English is on the Internet.

There are 2,567,509 articles in English. The second biggest language has three times less articles. It is German with 808,044 articles. The third place is French with 709,312, and, as a pleasant surprise, the fourth biggest language Wikipedia is written in is… Polish. There are 539,688 Polish articles. The fifth biggest resource is Japanese with 539,688 articles. Wikipedia as a whole includes 11,389,385 articles, making it the biggest source of information on the Internet.
So, according to the previous points, I’ll summarize the results:
1. English
2. German
3. French
4. Polish
5. Japanese

These results are difficult to use as a means to measure the activity of different nations on the Internet. The popularity of Wikipedia is probably different in various countries. Probably such nations as China have other websites they use as encyclopedias. In practice, the Chinese language is the second most used language on the Internet. But I’m happy with fourth place for the Poles.

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