Friday, April 25, 2014

Language Learning for Kids: Muzzy

Are you looking for an entertaining way to introduce your child to a foreign language? If so, we may just have the program for you. Today we'll be talking about Muzzy, an animated film series used to teach foreign languages to children.

Main character Bob the mouse doesn't quite look
like this, but he is a gardener by trade!
In 1986, the BBC released Muzzy in Gondoland, an animated film designed to teach children English as a second language (ESL). Soon after, the DMP Organization bought the rights to the film and translated it into other languages: French, Spanish, Italian, and German. In the 1990s, the film became a popular way to introduce children to foreign languages. Some of my favorite memories from Spanish class in primary school were of watching Muzzy and repeating the dialogue.

The program consists of a series of DVDs you can buy on the internet (or find on YouTube) that tells a story full of fun, mystery, and humor to children while teaching them vocabulary. The plot includes the love story of Bob the mouse and Princess Sylvia the poodle, who are left to deal with jealous Corvax, a goblin also in love with the Princess. However, the best character is obviously Muzzy, the furry green alien who eats just about anything. As children learn about the characters, they're introduced to vocabulary categories including time, health, numbers, days of the week, places, clothing, people, directions, and transportation.

While Muzzy used to only be available in a few languages, the company has recently released a version with new animation (though I must say I prefer how it looked when I was a child) that is available in additional languages: Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Esperanto, and Portuguese.

Did you learn a foreign language with Muzzy, or are you using it with your children? Let us know what you think about it in the comments below.