How to create your own exercises

Today I will show you another secret – the secret of how to create these exercises used for the Birkenbihl approach.

There are basically two steps involved:

  1. Creating the 1:1 translation using a dictionary, a graphic editor and a word processor
  2. Creating MP3 files for your player using an audio editor

All the tools necessary for creating these documents are available for free on the net and I will show you how to use them in a minute.

The text segments and sound files for the exercises we use in the tutorials are taken from the books of the CP Brown Academy, as you know, but you can take any other material for that purpose as well. Let us take this sentence for example:

Happiness is essential for man

It is taken from Lesson 2, Exercise 15. So the first step is to cut out the source sentence from the PDF file using a graphic editor. I use The Gimp for this task. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux systems under the GPL license.

Basically the steps are:

  • open the PDF file in GIMP
  • use the selection tool to cut out the sentence
  • open a new GIMP document
  • paste the selected sentence into the new document

If you need more information on GIMP, there are several tutorials and a handbook available.

The next step is to translate the words in the sentence one-by-one, using the CP Brown Online Dictionary. A simple trick I want to show you here is that you can use the transliteration or the telugu script to search for the word. For example, you can type in „manisi“ or „మనిషి" in the search field of the dictionary, both work, but the later returns more results.

In order to get the Telugu script for a given word I use the Telugu typewriter. You can type in the transliteration in the upper box and copy the Telugu Script from the lower box of the typewriter into the search field of the online dictionary. So for our example I got the following results:

మనిషి (p. 0958) [ maniṣi ] manishi. [for Skt. మనుష్యుడు.] n. A man or woman, a person.
సంతోషము (p. 1283) [ santōṣamu ] san-tōshamu. [Skt.] n. Pleasure, satisfaction, joy, delight.
ముఖ్యము (p. 1002) [ mukhyamu ] mukhyamu. [Skt.] adj. Chief, primary, particular, principal, eminent, urgent, indispensable.

Please be aware that the ending syllables often contain inclinations (case, person, gender, …) so if you can not find a particular word, try reducing the last syllables a bit and search again.

After finding all the words in the dictionary I insert the translation word by word into the image using the GIMP text-tool, right below the original word. Then, if the sentence is complete, I export the whole image as GIF file.

All these elements – the graphic and the results from the dictionary - are put together in one big file using a word processor. I use LibreOffice (former OpenOffice) for that, another free tool available on the net. However, you can use any other as well. Here is the PDF file for our example, that you are probably allready familiar with.

The steps involved are pretty straight forward:

  • open a new text document
  • paste the GIF image you just created
  • paste the text from the dictionary
  • export the whole document as PDF file

Again, there is a lot of good documantaion on LibreOffice available for free on the net, if you need it.

The last step is to create the audio file. This is simply a small segment of the complete audio file provided by the CP Brown Academy. I use a tool called Audacity for this task. All you need to do is to:

  • open the complete audio file in Audacity
  • search for the segment you want
  • mark that segment and copy it to the clip board
  • open a new audio project
  • paste the segment into that project
  • export the new segment to a MP3 file

Here is the link to the Audacity documantation if you need more help.

That is it. With these steps you can now turn any text and audio file you are interested in into a valuable Telugu exercise, thereby collecting a huge amount of vocabulary without a single drill exercise. Here are some text and audio files you can use in this way.

Have fun with this!
Tom