Posted on by Ulrike & Peter Rettig

"Language Games" for Learning & Practicing Fun?

Monopoly Game - GamesforLanguageLet's be honest: Most adults don't classify learning and practicing a foreign language as one of their favorite fun activities!

It's not because it's really difficult. But it requires persistence and endurance. You don't learn to understand, speak, read and write a new language in a few days or even a few months.

A “foreign language” isn’t something you cram for a week and then it’s yours. Learning a language is a journey of discovery. Putting parts of the journey into a games format can definitely lighten the experience.

Stories for Learning German

I remember how we enticed our American-born sons to learn German. We didn’t just give them the German translation of our daily vocabulary. Stories were key. We read stories to them. We unabashedly made up tales as we talked. We built on the stories that they invented. All of this in German, with explanations when they were needed.

And we played many German language games: The German version of Monopoly and many other German board games, such as  "Spiel des Wissens", the German version of "Trivial Pursuit"; "Ich seh, ich seh, was du nicht siehst, und es ist rot" (I see, I see what you don't see, and it is red.), while walking or driving, and many others we invented on the go.

Our sons ended up mastering spoken German quite well. When I hear them switch easily into German while we're on a trip oversees, I know that all that story-making effort was worth it.

As the boys were growing up, video and later computer games were becoming enticing activities. How often did I wish that some of these games had a fun and worthwhile component for learning German! 

Language Games Can Make Learning Addictive 

That's how the idea for Games for Language was born. Google it, and, in addition to GamesforLanguage, you'll find many entries for language learning games, an ever increasing number for the educational market.

And even if programs like Duolingo are not listed here, most online language programs are now using games or gamified features, all for obvious reasons:

Learning becomes more effective if the playing becomes addictive: the learner keeps learning because s/he wants to improve the score, beat the game clock, earn a badge, doesn't want to lose a streak, etc.

Games can provide short intense challenges with quick closure. Done right, they can put you into a kind of quick “flow learning” that bypasses slugging things out mentally. An online language learning site is a great resource.

You can go there to play games when you feel like it - maybe even on an iPhone while you're waiting or just sitting around. You want to get easily into the game setting and pick up the game where you left off earlier.

Quick Games for Quick Practice

We also developed many Quick Language Games for German, French, Italian, and Spanish as well as several Inglés Quizzes para hablantes de español). language games: Shoot OutWith words, phrases, and sentences from our courses, these Quick Games can also be played for FREE as well, without even logging in. They are perfect, when you want to get a quick practice in.

For example, you can play games to practice numbers, months and seasons, basic phrases, essential verbs, or learn how to check into a hotel.

The games  only take a few minutes to play, but keep the language you are learning in front of you for the day.