What is Gringopedia?
It is a platform where you can learn about history, culture, words and accents from the English-speaking world.
Gringopedia covers five English-speaking countries. Each country is divided into chapters where various aspects of the country’s history and culture are explained. All chapters follow the same structure and each chapter can be completed in 5–10 minutes. Accompanying every chapter there are photos, a short text, some reading comprehension questions, a glossary and a glossary quiz. There are also audio recordings of some of the texts so that you can listen to them in different English accents.
To make the learning experience more stimulating and fun for users who like measuring progress in numbers, saved high scores for word quizzes have been added to the platform. We have also added a slang section, separate from the rest of the content, to cater to users who are into learning about trendy words.
With regard to the overall user-experience, furthermore, every feature on Gringopedia has been created with user-friendliness in mind. Among other things, this means that:
- everything on the platform is responsive to mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.
- difficult or heavy subjects have been broken down to bite-size pieces and are explained in a way that is easy to understand.
Can you give some examples of when Gringopedia may be useful in English class, history class or during culture studies?
- As a source of information for projects or group work focusing on history and culture in English-speaking countries.
- As homework. Students could, for example, be tasked with completing one or two chapters per week or one chapter as preparation for every lesson.
- As an activity for students who have completed their assigned work ahead of time.
- As regular reading or listening comprehension exercises.
- As exercises to do at home for individual students who need to or wish to improve their English or their knowledge of history and culture outside of their regular classes in school.
How is the content organized?
For every country, there is a chapter list. In each of these chapter lists you will find a mixed bag of topics related to historical events, culture and famous people. The chapters which explain historical events come roughly in time order with the oldest historical events first, and the chapters about culture and famous people come right after each other only if they cover similar topics.
When it comes to the chapter lists of the Language, Slang and Ethnicity sections, the chapter order is more or less randomized.
How do you recommend users to work with the platform?
If you choose to work with the Language, Slang or Ethnicity sections, it doesn’t matter in which order you work with individual chapters. If you choose to work with a country, though, we recommend that you work with the chapters related to historical events about this country in numerical order. Working with chapters in this way will make better sense of historical events since the chapters you will read first (about old history) give background to chapters you will read later (about more modern history). When it comes to country-specific chapters about culture and famous people, there really is no need to work with chapters in numerical order unless they cover similar topics and are placed right next to each other in the chapter list.
Continuing with user advice, every chapter contains six parts. These parts are: (1) photo(s), (2) audio file(s), (3) a text, (4) questions, (5) a word list and (6) a word quiz. If you don’t have your own preferred way of studying these six parts, we recommend that you work with them in the following way:
- Swipe through the photos and read the captions.
- Scroll down the text and click on some or all of the highlighted words which you don’t know in order to see their translations.
- Listen to the audio file. Follow along in the text as you listen. Rewind and listen to the text again or read over the text again without audio if you didn’t understand everything. Also listen or read again if you want to help yourself remember better.
- Answer the three questions. If you are unsure about which of the alternatives is correct, go back to the text and try to find the answer before you give your answer. Restart and redo the questions until you get three out of three questions correct.
- Open the word list and go over the ten words which will be tested in the word quiz.
- Do the word quiz. Restart and redo the quiz until you get ten out of ten words correct.
How do high scores work?
The quiz result with the highest score in the shortest time for each of the word quizzes is saved in your browser’s web storage. In this way, your high scores will be stored on your device until you clear your browser’s web storage, a clear-out that is typically achieved by clearing your cookies. Since high scores are saved in your browser’s web storage, they don’t get transferred if you use other browsers on the same device.
History, Culture and Language
Who is the author of Gringopedia?
The author is a certified secondary school English teacher from Sweden with many years of experience teaching English, and with a background of working and studying in the United States. The author is also a certified secondary school Civics teacher, with teaching experience in a variety of social science fields.
What type of sources have you used to find information about history and culture?
Some of our most important sources have been history books, encyclopedias, state-sponsored and independently produced documentaries, news articles, the BBC’s educational material, public records and TV and radio interviews with persons depicted on Gringopedia and people related to these persons. Renditions of people who are part of, related to or witnesses to historic events or cultural manifestations have also been important sources.
Can you guarantee that every bit of information about history and culture on Gringopedia is correct?
All of the information that is established as fact on Gringopedia has been researched and satisfactorily confirmed. Where facts have not been satisfactorily confirmed, they have been left out or they have been presented as theories, opinions and the like. Please note that there are times when the wording is such that it describes possibilities rather than established facts.
In our efforts to make the content easy to read and understand, we have often had to paint broad pictures rather than go into detail. Nuances, therefore, may have been lost. This does not make the texts inaccurate, but anyone who wishes to know specific details on the topics covered on Gringopedia will have to use other sources. Note also that we cannot always cover every important angle of a topic in our short texts, but, instead, have had to be selective in which angles we present. For this reason, users may want to consider consulting other sources as well.
Furthermore, history and culture are continuously subject to revision, with new research, admissions and behavior patterns possibly altering established views. It is therefore possible that certain pieces of information presented on this platform have been considered accurate before, but no longer are. Considering, we continually revise our texts and make changes if and when it is motivated to do so, in order to keep all information up to date.
In spite of our many revisions, we as authors, proofreaders and developers can make mistakes. The trusted sources from which we retrieve information can also make mistakes. With that said, if information that is clearly wrong makes it onto the site, it should be detected and edited or deleted quickly.
How do you approach particularly controversial topics?
Particularly controversial topics do present a challenge to depict accurately and fairly. Nevertheless, our ambition is to not shy away from discussing controversial topics just because they are difficult or sensitive, if a rudimentary understanding of these topics can be considered pertinent to obtaining a broad understanding of our selected English-speaking countries. For this reason, if substantive or relatively substantive arguments can be made for more than one view on a topic being correct, we believe in providing different perspectives. Moreover, if the conflicting views and arguments are made relevant in society by large groups of people embracing them, in our opinion, they become even more important to cover.
Why do you sometimes include discrediting information about people and things that are generally known as positive influences in the world and, conversely, why do you sometimes appear to try to make sense of motives and arguments of and about people and things that are generally known as negative influences in the world?
Historical events, cultural manifestations and people are all complex. They may well be mostly good or mostly bad but very seldom are they fully rational and benevolent or fully irrational and malevolent. Being one-sided and categorical, therefore, does not usually contribute to treating people and subjects fairly and objectively. The same idea that one should learn about different perspectives rather than one single perspective is also typically helpful if one wants to understand why things have happened the way they have happened and why people act the way they do.
Furthermore, the spectrum of information provided by Gringopedia on certain topics can open up for interesting discussions on, for example, historic events, right versus wrong and human behavior. And by the same token, knowing that “heroes” and “villains” throughout history had both virtues and defects to their personalities often makes them more relatable and interesting.
Do you have a way for users to bring important information to your attention?
Yes. Information on any relevant topic can be sent to us via the email. Our email address is found on our Contact page.
Should you find something on Gringopedia that you believe is inaccurate or unbalanced, please bring it to our attention. In case you do bring something to our attention, it helps a great deal if you specify exactly what you believe is inaccurate or unbalanced and provide evidence from one or several reputable sources that support your view.
Please note that the more concrete, concise and convincing you and your referenced sources are, the greater the chance is that we will consider what you bring to us.
Which variety of English have you used?
American English has been used as standard for text on Gringopedia. However, for clarity, or for adjustment to content on a specific country or for other reasons, word choices or spelling of other varieties may be applied. Avison Communication in Stockholm has proofread large parts of the platform’s content form a language point of view.