Saturday, November 24, 2012

Learning Languages With Video Games

Sometimes you need to unwind after a long day trapped in an office. People do this in various ways... watching TV or a film, listening to music or reading a book. Others prefer getting elbow-deep in warfare and running around underground stations shooting people with AK-47s. Or even just killing hookers and going on a joyride.

"Where are they going with this? Is there any way you can learn anything from this arthritis-inducing button-mashing in front of the TV?" The short answer is yes.

How is living an alternate life as a mafia boss or an SAS soldier going to help people to learn languages? Well, people are generally more actively involved with what they're doing whilst playing video games than they are when listening to music or watching a film. The games require interaction. You have to pay more attention in order to do well, and in turn, you learn more.

'Aint no school like...

We're not saying every game is going to make you fluent in a foreign language, but there's something for everyone. There is a vast selection of games available, from arranging tetriminos (the blocks in Tetris) to killing people in horrific ways. Whereas a movie plays on whether or not the viewer has understood the plot, a game does not advance in this way. Your skills are tested and if you have not understood a question, the instructions, or the plot, you will not be able to advance to the next level, complete a mission or progress in your game. Video games frequently test the user and make you prove to them that you're capable. What other medium does that?

"Ninten" apparently means "leave luck to heaven".
You've learnt something from games already.

On top of that, learning through playing games is fun. There is a wealth of educational games, and although they're nowhere near as fun as some of the top titles, they can still provide some amusement. If you enjoy something, you inevitably learn more because you're more passionate about it. We'd highly recommend playing RPGs as they're heavily story-based and tend to include a lot of dialogue and text. Perfect for practising language. Plus, you can pretend you're a wizard.