Mini-Stories Project Update

Here are the numbers so far for the mini-story project:

Portuguese: 7 translators

Spanish: 6 translators

Russian: 3 translators

Arabic: 3 translators

Dutch: 2 translators

Danish: 2 translators

Slovak: 1 translator

Greek: 1 translator

Belarusian: 1 translator

Esperanto: 1 translator

German: 1 translator

Czech: 1 translator

Finnish: 1 translator

Hebrew: 1 translator

Italian: 1 translator

Farsi: 1 translator

Turkish: 1 translator

French: 1 translator

Ukrainian: 1 translator

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered so far. We’re getting translations and recordings every day :slight_smile:

We are assigning five stories per translator as a minimum, and you don’t have to record the audio if you don’t want to (though any recordings volunteers would like to make are welcome).

Anyone who would like to take part is welcome to! We have lots of languages to cover, and (as you can see above) many langauges that only have one translator so far.

We are giving two months of LingQ premium membership to volunteers who translate five lessons and one month more if you record those five lessons.

Zoran is taking over the coordination of the project. If you’re interested, please contact him at zoran (at) lingq (dot) com


I should add that I am returning to Vancouver tomorrow and will coordinating closely with Zoran on this project.
The Greek lessons I am using were translated and recorded by one person, and they are working well for me. Ideally we divide the load, but if we only have one volunteer, that can also work.
I am quite excited at how effective these lessons are. Remember that translations must “localize” names and any obvious cultural issues. So far I am finding these stories translate well, and are not too culturally specific. I have the impression I am learning about Greeks in their daily lives, although the stories are translated from English.
In some languages we will need special attention. I can imagine that in Japanese and Korean, different persons will be less of an issue for the second “point of view”, than different levels of the language. There may also be a need for language specific lessons. But let’s begin with getting these original lessons translated and recorded.
I am looking at where we can “park” the lessons that are not yet in LingQ. Ideally we get enough stories going that we can at least put them in the Beta section until we have a complete set. Let’s see how things develop. Other ideas are welcome.

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Here is an outline of what I hope to achieve with this project.

100 mini-stories in 5 levels.

The goal is to create parallel stories for as many languages as possible, thus providing translated versions in the language of the learner. Languages are not limited to languages supported at LingQ. All stories will be available for free use outside LingQ. The stories are meant to be easy, and will attempt to use the most common VERBS of English, as much as possible. Thus the goal is not so much to increase vocabulary, as to reinforce the basic patterns of the language.

This is an experiment. It may turn out that these translated stories don’t work in all languages. We may have to create language specific stories. In addition, members may want to create their own stories, in their native language, following a similar methodology. We would then look at how to integrate these.

This is not intended as a complete course in a language. It is hoped that these stories will provide some structure for learners at LingQ. This is only one source, and learners will be best advised to intersperse these lessons with many other sources and lessons, returning regularly to these stories to refresh their capabilities in the patterns that are featured in different levels (see below)

We will look at ways to introduce grammar explanations in the notes to these stories, but that is for the future.

Each story consists of three parts; A) a simple story, B) same story from a different point of view, C) Questions.

Questions include a statement with most of the facts needed to answer the question. The recording has a brief pause to allow the learner to attempt to answer if he/she wants to.

All stories (A & B) consist of 10 sentences. Sentence length is 7-8 words in level 1, 8-10 words in level 2, 10-12 in levels 3-5.

All stories have 8 questions

Each level will attempt to concentrate on certain concepts or patterns (see below). Each individual story may have a special area of concentration, in terms of language usage, which will be identified by tags for that lesson, to facilitate search. However, all aspects of the language will of necessity appear all over these stories. The key is to make the stories interesting and natural. The attempt to feature certain aspects of the languages should not make the stories unnatural.

Level 1.

Focus: Simple sentences. Present tense. Positive and negative statements. Adjectives, adverbs, comparisons.

Point of view: Different persons.

Questions: Is it or is it not. Does he or does he not. etc.

Level 2

Focus: All tenses, past, present and future introduced. Use of time words: always, usually, sometimes, for a long time, during, still etc. as much as possible. Words of quantity. Say and tell. Prepositions.

Point of view: different tenses, different persons.

Questions. When, what kind, where, how much, who,

Level 3

Focus: Purpose, intent, why, because, since, given the fact that, in order to, therefore. Verbs of motion. Verbs of giving and taking. More tenses.

Point of view: Tenses, persons

Questions: Why, for what reason, in what way, how, when

Level 4

Focus: Probability, necessity, possibility, doubt, conditional…if, even if, although. Passive mood. Subjunctive. Wishing, hoping, wanting, needing.Whenever, wherever, whoever

Point of view: Different levels of probability…ought to, had to, might have to, did

Questions: Did it seem, was it necessary, why,

Level 5

Focus: Expressing opinion. In my view, on the one hand, on the other hand, it would appear, from my point of view. He expressed the view that, consequently, however, given the fact that, despite the fact that, although, etc. nevertheless, moreover

Point of view: different levels of formality, different tenses, different persons,

Questions: Do you think that……? What, in your view, is…etc.

We will also need languages specific versions of these to deal with issues like formality levels in Asian languages and other specific issues.


By the way, I welcome comments and suggestions. The writer we have commissioned is creating stories at level 2 right now. This is a work in progress.

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I have a pair of questions about sound recording.
Should we make pauses before the answers to the questions? I guess the pause should be more than enough for a student to have time to think and to pronounce. Am I right?
Should we use latin A) and B) for Russian or would it be better to have cyrillic А) and Б)? What is used for Greek stories?

Hi Serguei, good questions.

The pause should be quite short since the majority of people will not bother to answer. I would say 3 seconds is enough. If a person answers he will just talk over the answer he hears but it is all good practice. That was my experience with Piotr’s stories and it worked fine.

I would use Cyrillic . In Greek Pavlos used A and B. I do’t think it matters. What do you think? We don’t even have to be consistent on this in my view.

Hi Steve,

do you think we should pronounce these A) and B)? They seem to be not important to hear them in every story.

More of a practical question: How to use iPhone exactly to record the stories and send them over? iPhone has a better mic than the one built in my laptop

I suggest there should be a discussion board for each lesson, ‘khan academy’ style, where learners would post questions about the content (additional explanations of the idiosyncrasies in the translation) or where even other native speakers could point out better translations for certain parts, and so on.
That would make it a bit easier to gradually collect the ‘grammar/linguistic explanations’ of each lesson, rather than just trying to first put it all out there.
For example, Slovak is very liberal with word order, there are many sentences that could be translated differently, depending on what we want to emphasize. So I could point that out, but it would be better if there was an interaction in a discussion as opposed to just putting it in the lesson notes.
Potentially, there could be some rewards for native speakers answering these inquiries as well.


I would prefer to have a 1st edition. We can discuss and improve everything later for next editions.

Zoran hasn’t sent me an e-mail yet. Should I start to translate them? I’ll record them with my smart phone. Is that okay?

“Slovak is very liberal with word order, there are many sentences that could be translated differently, depending on what we want to empathize”

There are so few resources for Slovak and Belarusian on the Internet that people like me will be ridiculously thankful to Branicek and Ress no matter how perfect the translations might be. I’m sure it’ll be good enough!


Belarusian is in process.

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Great news!

I record at same way that Steve does in this lesson.

Slowly, uttering all the words and I also did not say A and B.

Yes, we don’t need to pronounce A and B. As to speed, my Greek narrator goes quite quickly and I am getting used to it. What do people think. Once we have a few recordings up we can comment on this and see what most people want.

Please start, Zoran will contact you. Thank you!

Steve I already translated and record the stories 16-20. Now I’ll translate and record the lessons 26-30. My question is: should I increase the speaking speed? Since it’s a more advanced story I think will be good for learners at this level listen a natural speed.

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I agree with Ress. There is enough to do as it is. Let’s get some up in Drop Box here we will all have a chance to see them and comment. Don’t do more than one or a few at a time so that people can comment. Once we are happy with a series of ten or so, we will put them up on the site (if these languages are on LingQ) and keep building enough lessons in other languages so that we can add them to LingQ.

I will ask Pavlos who has been doing Greek for me, his sound is excellent.