My Polish tutor and I are making up a soap opera-esque story (TPRS method), and I take what we brainstorm and write it up as a short chapter, then she proofreads it. I am basically turning the chapters into little graded readers for myself because there are so few available in Polish.
I have just recently gotten onto LingQ full time and I have uploaded it so that I can more easily re-read it and practice the words that I don’t know so well. I have thought about making the chapters publicly available, but I’m not sure if people would be interested in it, or if they would feel it was substandard and junking up the place. (There’s not a huge amount of stuff available in Polish at the lower levels, so I can’t tell if it fits or not.)
I guess, really, the chapters aren’t much different from the Mini Stories, just longer and at an A2 level. It’s obviously not native content, although, as I said, my tutor (a native speaker) does proofread it. I guess it just seems a bit like hubris or self-serving for me to publish stuff that I wrote like I’m an expert at writing for Polish learners.
What do you all think? Should I share our tale of floozies and gold-diggers, suspected murder, and a mafia turf war, or is it something better kept to myself?
I discovered the TPRS method on the internet and I really liked the idea of it. I had done Duolingo for nearly a year and had taken it as far as I could go with it. And I had tried flashcards for a while, but got bored with them and eventually quit. I tried the Gold List method, too, but that became too time-consuming after about a month, plus I didn’t seem to be remembering words as quickly as I was supposed to; I rarely hit the ideal of remembering 20% (or whatever the goal was). So I needed a new method.
I liked the idea of reading a lot to learn a language because I like to read a lot. (I also write, mainly fiction.) And storytelling seemed to be a lot more interesting a way to spend time than learning cases (of which only one has managed to stick in my mind, and only then when it’s used to show possession) or describing things in my kitchen. So I showed my tutor a YouTube video of someone doing it and she was intrigued. So that’s how we got started.
She doesn’t do it the way someone trained to do it would. She doesn’t tell me a story or repeat things a lot. It’s just the two of us making up a story. She’ll throw in something, then ask me what’s happening. Or she’ll ask me to describe the way a character looks or the room they’re in.
Even if it’s not exactly the way TPRS would be done, it’s still very helpful. Between describing stuff aloud and then writing it down in a story, I am learning a lot of useful vocabulary–the sort of words I actually use to in a conversation. So many language programs are aimed at teaching you how to be a tourist: how to get directions to a hotel, how to order food, how to buy a ticket, etc. That’s useful if I was going to Poland soon, but I’m not. It’s useless when it comes to having a conversation. Because most conversation consists of telling stories: I saw a deer in the yard this morning. There was an accident on the freeway. Work was busy and stressful; I had to work late. My mother called and nagged me. She said this, that, and the other. What did you do last weekend? Where did you go? What did you see there? Did you see that guy that just walked past–the one with the long beard?
Describing a scene in a fictional story is exactly the same as you would describe something that happened to you, which is what most conversation is.
I love a good story! Please share! =) I’ll write some of my own mini stories just for the practice and have a native-language speaker check it for me, but I’ve never thought to share them here. (I"m not even sure how to for that matter.) I even wrote a short book in English and had a native Polish-speaking friend translate it into Polish for me. Maybe I should share that? (I’m pretty sure my translator wouldn’t mind.)
I’ve also started creating video blog entries of me giving virtual tour in Polish, which I’ll get feedback on as well for my worst mistakes. (I don’t think they’ll point out every mistake I make in those because it would just take too long!) They’re absolutely terrible, but I still find them strangely amusing and I figure I’ll get a good laugh at them when I’m much better and watch them again years from now. =)
Are we allowed to share Internet links on here? I’d share a link to my Polish vlogs if anyone wants a good laugh (I’ve uploaded many of them to YouTube), but I’m not sure if “self-promoting” is allowed.
But… I’d definitely love to read some of your stories! So please, share away! =)
“Describing a scene in a fictional story is exactly the same as you would describe something that happened to you, which is what most conversation is.”
I agree that “stories” are an extremely powerful tool for language learning because we structure most of our experiences by telling stories to others and to ourselves.
“So many language programs are aimed at teaching you how to be a tourist.”
Well, it’s nice to be able to ask where the toilet is But apart from that, these kinds of “parrot phrases” (where’s the toilet / bus station, blah blah blah?) aren’t very interesting.
Some guy called Lucas created TPRS stories for the German language. The idea is novel and all. I tried a free sample story for the German language but stories are way too boring for my liking. No detective stories. No variety. Beans, horses, kings, queens I am not excited at all. Similarly, not every language learner will like reading Harry Potter books but they are a rage among language learners. There is always a danger of not targeting learners’ level of interest on an individual level and you are creating standardized lessons for the whole mass. That’s why LingQ is a superior product even with its extra bells and whistles. In my opinion, any method/product is superior if you can keep up with it for a very long time. If the TPRS method creates enough motivation and interest in you as a language learner, then, it is a superior method as well.
It is okay to share content in public as long as it does not breach copyright issues. Many people have done so for sharing their personal lessons with others.
stories are way too boring for my liking.
I see what you mean. This is probably also the problem with graded readers when “artificial” stories are created for language learning purposes (see the Graded Reader Series by Oly Richards). In other words, such stories may be didactically useful, but the fiction is sometimes sub-par.
Therefore, I prefer fiction by professional authors that is simplified for different language learning levels (see, for example, Penguin Classics). It’s then the “fiction aspect” and not the didactic aspect that makes the difference.
On the other hand, you don’t have to be a professional author to tell an interesting (real life) story (see Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History Podcast”: Dan Carlin - YouTube).
But even then, individual tastes / interests vary. It’s simply not possible to make everyone happy.
You can share what you write by “importing” it, the same as if you were importing a book or website. If gives you the option on the import page to keep it private or make it public.
I haven’t seen anything on the forum that says we can’t share links to our personal blogs or vlogs. I’m sure a lot of language learners have them. I have found that watching other people have lessons is helpful because I learn something, too.
Well… my vlogs aren’t lessons–except in the sense that I practice trying to speak Polish on the fly. And it’s useful when I show it to native-language speakers who tell me all the things I said wrong in it!
But it could also inspire people who speak Polish poorly that yes, they aren’t alone! =D
The first one involves a story I created that I did have my Polish teacher check before I filmed it, but the rest are all off-the-cuff and often times difficult to listen to or even difficult to understand. (More than once I’ve watched a video and wondered, “What the heck am I trying to say?”)
I watched a video by a blogger after he had been speaking nothing but Macedonian with his wife for a month. I actually found it easier to understand him than Polish videos, even though I know 0% Macedonian (and didn’t even know it was a Slavic language until he started speaking). I think the reason why I was able to understand him is because he spoke very slowly, so I had time to hear each word distinctly and I could notice its resemblance to a Polish word I knew.
So the irony is that students can understand other students easier than they can natives, but without natives making the content, we would be learning it wrong!
I was taking a Polish class in person (a little before COVID) and said something in Polish, and my teacher had absolutely no idea what I was asking, but one of the other students understood me perfectly. He found it imensely interesting that we could understand each other speaking “Polish” even though him, a native-language speaker, couldn’t understand it. =)
I really wish I remembered what it was I was asking. It was kind of funny at the time. From his point of view, it was like we were talking our own private language that happened to sound similar to Polish.
LOL. That reminds me of my second year of Spanish in high school when we got a Mexican teacher. She started talking to us and we were all looking at one another; no one knew what she was saying. And we were her first class out of college, so you could see her panic setting in, like what is going wrong? Are these my Spanish 2 students, or has there been a mix-up?
She wrote “gracias” on the board and asked with alarm, “You don’t know this word?” And we were like, “Ohhhhhhh, that’s what you were saying! Yes, we know gracias.”
No one had prepared her (or us) for the fact that a Mexican Spanish accent is quite different from an American Spanish accent (our level 1 teacher was American). It took us a couple of weeks, but we adapted to it. She just learned to write down what she was saying if we didn’t immediately understand; oftentimes it was a pronunciation issue rather than a true comprehension failure.
But you know, thinking about it, small children will talk to each other in their broken English (or whatever language) and they will understand each other even when adults can’t. Sometimes older kids can even act as interpreters. I think that’s because their brains are at similar levels of language comprehension, so they see and describe the world the same way.
The same is true for foreign language students. You and I would speak Polish to one another in a way that Polish people wouldn’t because we’re going to structure sentences and word choices based on English. So what makes sense to us might sound odd or not make sense to a Polish person. Like, if I said “Mam isc do sklepu,” you would know what I mean (and may not even notice the error) because we say “I have to” in English instead of “I must.” But it would probably confuse a Polish person.
Upload it for sure! I have no idea whether you are a good writer or not, but who cares? People are here to learn, so even if your stories wouldn´t be any good, plenty of people would still be happy to read them to learn the language. If people don´t like the stories and don´t care to use them to learn either, no problem there anyway, since nobody is forcing them to read them. If the stories are good / fun to read, that´s just a bonus.
There is much more of a problem of there being too little fictional material on LingQ, than there being too much. There is also the problem of a lack of modern fiction, since LingQ can´t have copyrighted material here and most public domain fiction is very old (get´s into the public domain because the authors have passed away a long time ago).
I am writing some very banal and boring texts in Icelandic myself, just to be able to have more beginner material on LingQ once the language gets added. They are certainly not creative masterpieces, but I´m sure people will be happy to have them to learn from.
One thing I´d do is to also have the native speaker who proofreads the texts make sure they aren´t only correctly spelled, but also are worded in a way that is natural in the language.
Well, y’all had me talked into it, but I have hit a snag. I have to have an audio file with it to make it public. I thought that LingQ just auto-generated audio because the voices are similar to what Google Translate uses. I don’t know how to generate an audio recording of my text. I certainly wouldn’t want to try, not being a native speaker.
Can the native-language speaker you had correcting the text also record a reading of it? I can’t imagine you’re writing full-length novels yet that would require hours of audio recording! =) Or maybe even find a native Pole on this site who can do that? I’d even be okay with a non-native (but fluent) speaker who can speak reasonably well. I’d volunteer, but if you watched any of my videos, you’d be able to tell that I’m not suitable for the task. (Yet!)
Thank you! That’s the sort of thing I was hoping existed. I will give it a try, probably this weekend. I am used to the Google Translate voice (as we probably all are!), so if it’s equivalent to that, I’ll consider that good enough.
Me, personally, I don’t like just listening to things. (It’s the old Catch-22 of not wanting to listen because I don’t understand much at all, but I don’t understand much at all because I don’t listen.) I prefer to get my listening practice while watching cartoons; that way, I can at least figure out what’s happening, even if I only understand a few words. Which means I’m not terribly picky about how good the audio is for a story that was only meant to be read, not be a podcast.
“Freetts” is probably the easiest solution for you, because it’s an online converter. Maybe it’s even possible to test it with a “female” and a “male” voice in Polish.
Unfortunately, this service has a limit on the number of characters you can freely convert per week. If I remember correctly, it’s 6000 characters.
I’m not terribly picky
I’ve got a simple test: Would I want to listen to a voice in my bed at night?
Two types of voices fail this test: artificial voices that seem to come straight from the crypt and shrill human voices.
In short, a voice that has the potential to give me a heart attack at night isn’t the right audio choice for me