Independent mode

Purpose:

The Independent mode is the basic mode. This mode allows working with teaching materials in arbitrary way; also, it allows to address services of the software and to invoke other modes.

 Functions and Abilities

General Features:

Player Functions

The software provides you with a standard audio player. This audio player can help you to listen to the current song, or the song's selected fragments. The audio player has the seeking bar with a slider. Also, you can find the Play/Pause button and the Stop button.

Listening to Song Fragments

The software recognizes the three structural elements in the text of a song: a stanza, a sentence, and a line. It is possible to listen to each element voiced by the singer and announcers. A sentence is the basic element of a song structure, and there are special means to study it. On the screen, a frame denotes the current sentence.

Hearing of Single Words

It is possible to hear any word voiced by the two (male and female) announcers. You can click on a chosen word (in lyrics) with your mouse and hear pronouncing the word in Russian. In addition, the electronic dictionary provides you with words pronunciations. The headwords of the dictionary are voiced by the two announcers (male and female).

Electronic dictionary

double-click on any word of a song invokes the electronic dictionary. The dictionary displays the corresponding entry. There are the two modes of the dictionary — a brief mode and general mode. A double-click on any word of a song invokes the brief dictionary. A double-click on any entry word invokes the general entry window, where you can find additional meanings of a word and examples of word's usage. The content of any general entry (window) is often far beyond of a current song. Announcers pronounce all entry words in the dictionary.

Main Windows:

All Words of a Song

This window contains the alphabetically sorted list of all words of a chosen song. The list consists of three columns: the entry word of the dictionary, the word’s translation, and the word-form of the lyrics.

You can listen to the utterance of a chosen word at random and automatically (consecutively). The window content can be printed or saved to a chosen file.

Sentence analysis

This window helps you to facilitate the profound study of the chosen sentence.

You can find in the window:
  • the Linguistic Teaching Decomposition of a sentence;
  • the pane of the dictionary entry, which helps you to receive information about words;
  • the sentence voiced by the singer and announcers;
  • the means to improve your pronunciation with the help of voice-recording technique;
  • another useful information.

Linguistic Teaching Decomposition Window of a Sentence

This is the fast access window to the Linguistic Teaching Decomposition of the current sentence. Really, this is only a part of the Sentence Analysis window. Original and Decomposition are the panes constituting the „Sentence Decomposition“ window.

Main Objectives of Independent Mode

There are three main objectives:
  • to help to receive a practice in aural and oral Russian;
  • to help to understand Russian lyrics;
  • to provide a practice in your voice recording and, as a result, to improve greatly your Russian pronunciation and speech recognition.

Aural and Oral Practice Using a Song Theme

You have to
  •   learn song phonetics to recognize words in fluent Russian speech or singing.
  •   learn and fix in your memory the melody and the lyrics;
  •   try to sing the song together with the singer.

Important! Even a vague understanding of a song, its simple repeating is very useful. Songs help to immerse into the foreign language and to facilitate the perception of the language. If you have memorized Russian words and phrases, then you can recognize them in other situations. The song theme becomes a base for the perception of a new information, while the deep understanding of a song, with its semantic nuances and imageries, usually comes to you later, with increasing experience.

There are the two ways to listen to the chosen song:
  • using the audio player, and
  • in the Listening Mode, which allows you to hear the song fragments voiced by announcers and by the singer.

Audio Player Description

This audio player has Play/Pause and Stop buttons, a seeking bar and a slider. In addition, it has the song text (lyrics) synchronized to the sound track. The  slider indicates the position in the current sound track. If the current position occurs within boundaries of any line of the lyrics, then this line becomes the current one and it is designated with the  indicator.

You can navigate the seeking bar as follows:
  • dragging the slider with the left key of your mouse or clicking with the mouse in the wanted position of the seeking bar;
  • selectimg the wanted line and, as a result, the slider automatically moves to the beginning of the chosen line.
You can set the wanted line as the current one in the following two ways:
  • clicking with the mouse to the left of the wanted line, the mouse pointer is to be ;
  • choosing the Set the Sentence as Current command of the context menu with the right key of the mouse. The mouse cursor is to point to the wanted line.
If you have the current line, you can change the position of being current:

  • using buttons of the navigation block (see the picture at the right side);
  • using the keyboard’s UpDown buttons or Home, End buttons, while the pane of the song text (lyrics) is active (the song text (lyrics) is within the pink frame).

When the playback begins, the synchronization mechanism uses three indicators showing the user when to begin the singing of the lyrics. The indicators appear to the left of any line and have the following meanings:

The Be ready indicator:

It appears to the left of a current line after a long lasting music without any singing. It indicates 6 seconds before the beginning of this line singing.

 The Attention indicator:

It appears to the left of a current line, indicating 2 seconds before singing the line.

The Go indicator:

It points to the current line, which is to be singing now.

Russian Phonetics Using Song Fragments

It is very important to analyze and learn a phonetic aspect of a song. The means of study with the help of song fragments allow you to learn song phonetics.

There are the four kinds of song fragments:
  •  a stanza;
  •  a sentence;
  •  a line (often a line and a sentence can coincide);
  •  a word (the smallest song fragment).

You can hear any fragment (except a word, see later Single Words Hearing) at least in the three different ways: by a singer and by the two announcers. This feature is very important for correct perception and Russian speech mastering.

The context menu

or the block of buttons (located under the song text)

can be used for hearing song fragments.

The note: The current line position defines the fragment location (which you can playback with pressing Stanza, Sentence or Line buttons).

Single Words Hearing

You can hear the pronunciation of any single word. For this purpose, you have to bring a mouse pointer to the chosen word, and this invokes the appearance of the two buttons with pictures of announcers over that word.

Then you have to click the wanted (Man or Woman) button with your mouse. Also, you can press several times the Space key and hear the word pronunciation of one announcer after another.

About Translation of Songs (To Have, or Not to Have)

You may try to learn Russian words using the dictionary and decide by yourself, that this way is not effective. The matter of the obstacle is not only in the word polysemy and in the difficulty of memorization; you have to know how to use those words in colloquial or written Russian.

It is more useful to remember speech patterns in which you already have the examples of a word usage. A song is perhaps the ideal storage of speech patterns (templates) and the ones you can really use in your speech practice. There is only one thing you need: a good understanding of a Russian song. There is some obstacle on the way of a song perception — the teaching song translation is almost impossible to obtain. The problem is in the nature of a song. According to some scientists, a song is impossible to translate. In most cases, songs put the story into the form of replacing each other imageries. Authors pack images into compact poetic constructions. The direct translation cannot evoke the same imageries and, as a result, this leads to a heavy complication of song perception by a foreigner.

A figurative language helps to minimize the length of poetic text. A short phrase or even a single word evokes appropriate imageries in person's mind. Poets use a figurative language, addressing to native speakers. This is the main problem of a song translation to other languages, since representatives of other culture do not have necessary associations and the perception of poetry becomes, often, distorted, or, at least, inadequate.

Most Russian songs use figurative language. It makes Russian songs hardly comprehensible by foreigners.

The translation of Russian songs often becomes pointless, or the text of translation vaguely resembles the original text, and it makes the translation useless for the task of language study.

The developed special method facilitates the possibility of a poetic material usage in teaching purposes. In the VStoR software, this linguistic method has been termed as  „Linguistic Teaching Decomposition“ (or the LD method).

The LD method allows drawing parallels between two languages, establishing correspondences between expressions, or verbal vehicles of different languages.

The LD method is a multilevel analysis process from one language to another and backwards. This is the process similar to the one in a mind of an interpreter. This intermediate phase is very useful for the person studying language. An ultimate goal of the LD method is not a translation, but the returning to the original text of a song, and ability to perceive a song without its translation.

Usually, listening to songs (or speech), we do not parse separate words. We comprehend the speech stream „directly“. Listening to someone’s speech, we receive imageries, our consciousness avoids an analytical procedure, or, at least, we don’t realize that we have it. The acquiring of such skills is one of the main tasks of the VStoR software. Actually, these skills allow to comprehend a foreign speech at once without usage of any intermediate (assistant) language. This is a high learning standard of any foreign language.

Teaching Sentences

The song text is adapted to teaching sentences. The teaching sentences often do not coincide with real sentences of the original text. The tendency of making a text fragment as smaller as possible, stipulates it. Actually, authors split the long original sentence to some shorter teaching sentences. Authors do it in the case, if such a split (shortening) does not distort the important points.

On the screen, a frame outlines the current (teaching) sentence. The two following windows present the LD method:

The Sentence Decomposition window, which can be opened with the help of

The Sentence Analysis window, which can be opened with the help of

  

See details about the Linguistic Teaching Decomposition.

Usage of Electronic Dictionary

Any word of any song theme corresponds to the dictionary entry. A double-click on any word of a song invokes the electronic dictionary. The dictionary displays the correspondent entry.

There are the two modes of the dictionary — brief and general. A double-click on any word of a song invokes the dictionary window, which has the brief dictionary entry. A double-click on the entry word invokes the general entry window, where you can find additional meanings of a word and examples. The content of any general entry (window) is often far beyond of a current song.

If you are the advanced user and, you want to learn more about words used in some song theme, then the general dictionary is a good helping hand for you. Perhaps, some users would try to create their own song interpretation. In this case, the electronic dictionary can be very useful also.

The two announcers (male and female) pronounce all entry words in the dictionary. There is an opportunity to record and to listen to the playback of your voice uttering the dictionary’s headword and you can compare your pronunciation with the pronunciation of the two announcers. This exercise can help you to enhance your aural and oral skills.

Speaking Via Your Microphone

Speaking via your microphone is an active part of an educational process. Active learning means doing something by yourself (unlike passive listening), and this considerably stimulates your nervous system and, consequently, improves mastering teaching materials.

It is very useful to listen to your own recorded voice. The reason is that the recorded voice has different physical nature and goes to you from the speakers. When you hear your recorded voice, you recognize it like the voice being very similar to your one, but not exactly your. Your attitude to this recording is similar to the stranger’s voice recording. That is why you can discern many shortcomings in your speech.

Multiple records of your voice stimulate not only the improvement of your pronunciation, but your memorizing the lyrics as well.

You can exercise speaking via your microphone for recording the sentences of the lyrics, and the words of the dictionary. Voice-recording features are available in the following windows: Sentence Analysis, and Dictionary.

Recording Your Voice

Being in the Sentence Analysis window, you can use the User Voice Recording window for the recording of words and sentences. You can open it with the User Voice Recording button, or with the context menu command: Sentence Recording Window or Word Recording Window. You can record your voice during the stipulated time limit. The calculation of the time limit depends on the duration of announcers’ pronunciation.

After pressing the Record button, there is a short pause to take a breath, thereafter the record starts. The record stops with pressing the Stop button or after the expiration of the time limit. It is possible to interrupt the recording with pressing the Space key of your keyboard. If you have uttered a word, or a sentence too fast, while the record is going on, it is better to interrupt your recording to prevent an empty gap. The software does not cut off those empty gaps. The fact can cause inconvenience during the playback of your voice.

The note: Each new record automatically erases the previous one. However, the closing of the window saves the recorded voice for a software session. The record is saved, till you have made the next one.

You can listen to the voices of announcers and compare them with your voice. The most convenient way is to use [] buttons. These buttons allow to playback sequentially one voice after another and you can listen to your voice after the announcer’s voice.

Sound Volume Controls

Standard sound volume controls of the operational system define the sound volume of the record via your microphone. In the VStoR software there is a possibility to change the volume of playback, but only towards lowering.

This function allows establishing a balance between the volume of the user voice and the volume of the announcer’s pronunciation. Learn more details about Sound Tuning in the help of this software.

The note: The VStoR software has no special sound volume control of announcers. If you wish, you can customize the volume by using standard sound volume controls of the operational system.