Games for Language Review

When I was a young kid my Dad would travel to Paris, Taiwan, and I’m sure other places, relatively often.  I was always fascinated with the other languages, but most especially French.  I picked up little bits here and there, and then once 7th grade hit, I started taking French in school.  I took French all through middle school, high school, and college.  A totally of 9 years of French classes…and I can barely hold a simple conversation in French.

Yet, I think it’s very important that my kids learn a language – ANY language.  Logically speaking, I know they should learn Spanish.  We live in the south now, and they have always lived in the south (and it doesn’t look like that will be changing!)

But I know about 5 words in Spanish and 2 phrases (no habla espanol, and lavez las manos, por favor.  Random, yes).  So, I need to learn a bit of Spanish before I can hope to teach my boys. 

Enter Games for Language.

This is a program designed especially for adults learning a language (they currently have French, Spanish, German, and Italian). 

The program features a dialogue and breaks in down into manageable parts.  In Spanish, the first portion is 4 sentences long and about a man travelling to Spain for the first time. 

First, there are playing cards with 4 words or phrases in Spanish on the left and the matching word or phrase in English on the right.  The program goes through all the cards and then you match them.

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After learning the words and phrases there are games to play.  One game has the English translation and you select the Spanish version.
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In another game you listen to the word in Spanish and select the correct spelling.
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Pros:

  • Starts with basics, but also gives you enough words and phrases to be able to form a complete sentence.
  • Games are visually interesting
  • The voices are clear and easy to understand.  The text is clear and easy to see.
  • The story progresses naturally building upon what you’ve already learned.
  • You can play it on an iPad!

Cons

  • I found it moved a bit fast in Spanish since I have very little previous knowledge of the language.  With French I had no trouble keeping up, but I have a much clearer understand of French.
  • The program stopped working a few times and I had to refresh or start over
  • The beginning words learned are pretty specific for one particular situation.  
    Overall, I think it’s a great program.  It’s fun and inviting, the progress bar makes me want to continue, and I am actually remembering most of what I’ve learned!
      A few details about the program:

    • With your choice of: French, German, Spanish or Italian
    • Each language includes:
      • 36-lesson online language course (no CDs!) that will teach you close to 700 practical and every-day words and phrases as part of an ongoing travel story
      • Each of the 36 lessons is based on a dialog and part of a story
        • In each lesson, you’ll play your way through a series of games, with which you learn and practice vocabulary, train your listening comprehension, practice speaking by recording and playing back your own voice. You’ll also get essential grammar and culture tips
      • Follow along with a “hero” as he travels through the country of your choice for three weeks, where you’ll learn the daily language
        • Your goal will be to exceed a target score so that you can move on to the next lesson and hear “the rest of the story”
        • You’ll also be challenged and often able to understand the meaning of the next dialog through the context of the story alone – similar to what you might experience living in the foreign country, or following a movie
      • With easy, interactive and fun games, you’ll rapidly build up a working vocabulary and gain the confidence to start speaking

     

    I’m really enjoying working through the program (though I would rather do it in French!) and I think it will really help to get me ready to teach my boys Spanish.  They’ve sat in on a few lessons with me and enjoy watching it too!

    You can demo the program for yourself by going to the Games for Learning Website.

    After you fall in love, make sure to snatch up this deal from Educents for 43% off!

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