Latin vocabulary widget Yesterday I posted a note about a new widget of easy Latin fables (http://tinyurl.com/42wnmn3), and I've got one more widget, this time for the Latin vocabulary/proverb items at the Verbosum blog. I've been publishing in that blog for about a year now, every other day more or less, which gives me enough material for a widget. I am really glad +Robert Patrick asked me about this, because he is also thinking of using these materials with his students. Unlike the fable project which I've been working on, in various ways, for literally decades, I've only been working on the proverbs for about five years, and the focus on vocabulary is something I only took up about a year ago as I started to realize that vocabulary is a really crucial element that doesn't get the attention it deserves (and by that I mean productive attention: something different from alphabetical lists, English definitions, and flashcards, which are the usual methods for tackling vocabulary). I'm trying to bring proverbs and sayings into play as a contribution to the study of vocabulary, and the Verbosum blog is where I've been doing that… although I am still trying to figure out just how best to do that!

So, the new widget offers a "word of the day" which links back to a post at the Verbosum blog; you can see the widget in action at the top of the Verbosum blog sidebar here: http://verbosum.blogspot.com/ (Ann, I moved the dictionary block down to the bottom of the sidebar, but it's still there!) - and as with all the date-based widgets, you can get a random version too: http://schoolhousewidgets.blogspot.com/2011/08/random-verbum.html - and the script is here for anyone who wants to make use of it in your own blog or wiki or webpage, anywhere javascript is allowed: http://schoolhousewidgets.blogspot.com/2011/08/verbum-hodiernum-200-pixels-wide.html - for those who want to plan ahead, the schedule of words is here: http://widgets.bestmoodle.net/scriptdata/verbosum.html

When you click on the word (which is actually an image, but there is alt-text for people using screen readers), it takes you to an entry in the Verbosum blog. I'm trying to standardize those Verbosum blog entries so that they will look something like the entry for today's word, omnis, which you can see here: http://verbosum.blogspot.com/2011/08/verbum-hodiernum-omnis.html - so, for each word, there are some brief (very brief) observations about Latin meaning and usage, Latin word formation, English cognates and derivatives, followed by 20 proverbs in Latin (untranslated), with a link to a detailed page at the Scala Sapientiae where I list more proverbs, along with notes on the proverb as available (the Scala is very much a work in progress, so not all the proverbs have notes there yet). I am selecting the 20 proverbs for the Verbosum blog based on Diederich word frequency ranking, so hopefully the proverbs will present minimal vocabulary challenges while illustrating the actual usage of the word of the day.

Now, the fact is that most of the posts in the Verbosum blog do not follow this format - which means that one of the good challenges this widget poses for me is to work on revising those previous blog posts, using what I have learned about the proverbs this summer (this has been the great summer of proverbs for me!). So, just as I will be adding vocabulary lists to the easy fables, I'll be revising the vocabulary entries, trying to stay a few days ahead of the "word of the day," in addition to the new words that I'll be adding to the Verbosum blog as usual.

Any feedback people have about this project would be very welcome. It is still very much a work in progress. I guess what I foresee is ultimately a kind of beginners' Latin dictionary which will have maybe 3000 words in it, with the illustrative materials for the words being provided by proverbs. Obviously, it is going to take me a few years to get there… but I am very glad if along the way the materials as they accumulate can be of use!
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