Vignettes, short lessons that we would like have in the library

Stephen Krashen, who has greatly influenced my approach to language learning, recommended “narrow listening” as an effective way to acquire vocabulary and comprehension skills. What is meant is a series or a Course containing short lessons, 2-3 minutes long each, on the same or similar subjects. Let’s call them Vignettes.

It is important that these be of interest to the learner. Therefore we want members to tell us here on this thread, what they are interested in , and for which languages. This will give lesson providers an idea of what to produce.

Here is my list, to start things off. I am studying Korean now. I am interested in the following subjects for all you native Korean speakers. Ideally these should be done in an informal and personal style reflecting the views of the person creating the vignette,

  1. Current affairs, Korean politics, world affairs. Your views or summaries of latest events.
  2. Famous people in Korea, present day or historical, in politics, literature or other areas.
  3. Diary 1. What you did this week, or today.
  4. Diary 2. Your views on the world, on life, or anything.

If we can generate some activity here on the thread, we may want to go to the Friends page and seek out native speakers of the languages we are learning and ask them to participate.

These vignettes will belong to the provider who will earn points from them, every month. Of course if we are really pleased with particular providers we can also send some points their way.

I am going to look into creating a lesson type called vignette.

Good idea, Steve!

I am studying several languages, but particularly Polish, (European) Portuguese, Swedish (beginner) and Turkish (maybe less than beginner as of now). Of course, I am also constantly improving all my other languages, so I would welcome the following kind of content in any languages I know at some level:

  1. local culture and lifestyle (including history, literature, music, etc.)
  2. geography
  3. current events and politics
  4. news on Europe and public transports

I may add more topics later on.

I am interested in the topics above (especially current events and politics) in German, Russian, and Spanish.

If anyone wants vignettes in English please let me know.

Hi Debbie, I can record some more Wikinews from Wikinews, die freie Nachrichtenquelle. As you know I’re recorded some of the articles there earlier but the interest was not very high but I would do this if you let me know which articles you would like to have recorded.

Vera, just my view, but I find the Wikipedia articles are somewhat dry. I think it would be of more interest to hear the views of ordinary people, perhaps using the Wiki article as a base, but personalizing it somewhat.

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Vera, while I think of it, I also feel that vignettes could focus on certain language patterns. 2 minutes heavy to the dative case, 2 minutes heavy to the accusative or genitive, for example in German. Somewhat artificial no doubt, but good for reinforcing our grasp of how these patterns work, and how the endings change. But then I could be wrong on this.

@Steve: The articles at Wikinews are like articles in newspaper and not like Wikipedia articles. I’ve recorded and published some of them earlier, and I knew that Debbie liked them. That is why I’ve offered to record more of them.

I really like this idea. I would also be happy to record vignettes for English if anyone wants.

What I would like to listen to for my German studies would be vignettes based around the following topics:

Language learning

Noted Vera, thanks.

Vera- I would love to see more of the wiki articles! They give me an audio version of current events with a transcript so I can lingq specific vocabulary as well! Better than having just a newspaper article or an audio or video podcast without a transcript. Very helpful for me and I really appreciate them - along with all of your content! To hear different views on current events or issues of course would also be interesting.

@Debbie: Just have a look at the Wikinews page and give me the name of the articles that you would like to have and I’ll record them. I don’t know if I’ll have enough energy to create other lessons as well, but we’ll see.

@Davidmachin: I’ve made some articles about travelling earlier. Look at the courses “Veras Tagebuch” (beginning with #500) and “Veras USA-Reisetagebuch”. In “GEOAudio” you find longer lessions about travelling. Also you find some lessons about language learning in “Veras Corner”.

Hi Steve and everyone
If I understand it right, creating vignettes would be similar to creating courses as they exist now, the difference being that topics would be on request? Am I right?

I’d like to suggest a few things, if appropriate:

If you’re going to create a lesson type called vignette, perhaps it would be a good idea to reorganize the categories, types and levels. I have only recently started to create content/importing lessons, but I find it difficult to categorize content and deciding which type it is. Does this happen to others too?

Why is Beginners1 and Beginners 2 a category and not a level?
What is the difference between Easy Content and Beginners and why is it a Type and not a level?
What is the difference between Members Voices (a Category), Member Writing and Member Created (Types)?
News and Politics exists as a category, but then there’s News again in the Type section.
Songs appear twice in the Type section.
If I choose Other, I’d like to have the possibility to have a text box to insert something; well, maybe that would add many similar new topics, but then the most common could be added to the pulldown.

Just my 2 cents


Vera - Thanks for offering - I understand you’re very busy. I looked at the site and any of the articles would be helpful, but only if/when you might have the time. We appreciate all you do for the German library!

At present the vignette is just an idea to help potential content creators match what they do to users’ interests. They should be rather short, 2-3 minutes long, and they should be in courses of at least 5 lessons that focus on a specific subject. This ensures that the users interest is maintained and that similar vocabulary reappears often, helping the learner to acquire these new expressions.

I am going to try to create a few in English over the next little while.

The types and categories are not consistent and reorganizing them is an enormous task since so many lessons are already classified. One day we may introduce some form of Tagging that allows us to tag lessons with multiple categories.

Yes Beginner 1 and 2 should just be a level not a category. This is a historical accident that goes back many years. The same is true for the category Easy Content.
Member created is anything created by a member. Member’s writing is something that a learner has had corrected and recorded by a native speaker. Members voices? I am not sure what that is. The other inconsistencies you mention are also valid.

For now we just have to live with this and in the future we will figure out how to clean it up.

Steve, as I wrote in a previous thread, I think you could find a group of users who could recategorize the lessons that remain uncategorized after doing some cleaning-up…

I am waiting for someone to let me know if there is any interest for these Vignettes in Italian.

As I mentioned on another thread, I think it’d be nice to see some of these vignettes from people with really strong and way-out-there political views!

And I’m not just thinking of ultra-Republican diatribes here - we could equally get guys like Friedemann to contribute some America-bashing Liberal-gibberish-sprouting hissyfits! :smiley:

Hi friends! I don’t want to boast, but I have been carrying on for 2 months a Russian blog that is very similar to your ‘vignettes’ - they are my ‘texts a day’ - ДЕНЬ ЗА ДНЕМ - a blog of day’s impressions and assessments mostly of 2-3 minutes. It’s a link:

Here you can find:
-current affairs and politics: Выборы на Украине, Выборы в США, Пресс-конференция В.Путина, Ураган в Америке, О русской коррупции, Русский Брейвик, Почему уволили министра обороны, Махинации с трубами.
-history: Жертвы политических репрессий, День народного единства, ВЧК-КГБ, День Октябрьской революции, Время Брежнева, Философские пароходы, День рождения Сталина, 70 лет со дня создания СССР.
-famous people:Прощание с Галиной Вишневской, Депардье - гражданин России, Памятник П. Столыпину
-travel:Путешествие по Волге, О туризме в Советское время, О туризме в современной России, Что можно посмотреть в России, Воспоминание о Кипре
culture and Russian traditions: Что мы едим, Банный день, заготовки на зиму, Наши дети, Животные в доме, Веселого Рождества, Со старым Новым русским годом, Крещенская купель
a sort of my diary: Песни на иностранном языке, Осенний парк, Расплата за Белые ночи, Как бороться с простудой, Летнее время зимой
and some more topics.
Several of them were translated by my friends into English and you can find them also in the English library in the collection ‘It’s interesting to know’: Farewell to Galina Vishnevskaya, VChK-KGB, Stalin’s birthday.
If someone of you would like to translate some more texts of my blog into his\her native language and then put them into the library, I’m not against but by pointing that it was taken from the original article by Evgueny40 (how it makes Maths)

Hi Steve
Thanks for the clarification; I still think it’s sad we have to continue using something that we recognize has inconsistencies. As Michele says, perhaps we could get some volunteers to recategorize those lessons which would have that field empty.
I also would like to be able to choose more than one category, for example if I have a lesson about going to the supermarket, it may be included in shopping and in food, so why not both?
I know it’s easy to ask for improvements… :slight_smile: