Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could play video games and learn foreign languages at the same time? Well, it turns out that we actually can! This isn’t traditional language-learning in any sense of the word, but you’d be surprised how far you can get just by playing games.
Many of you are probably wondering how this works. Well, the key is in positive associations.
Instead of linking learning and foreign languages to something you dislike, such as a classroom, you link the feeling of learning a new language to the feeling of playing games. Since you already enjoy playing video games, you will learn to enjoy learning as well. This is incredibly important as we are more inclined to pick up new information and learn more if we are in a relaxed environment and doing something we like. On the other hand, fear and hatred are not great incentives for learning, and should always be avoided. This also means that you will study more because you would want to play more. Only this time you do not have to feel guilty about playing the game so much – after all, you are just studying.
Instead of learning random words or phrases, by playing video games you learn new words as apart of a story you are experiencing as you go along. These new expressions always make sense because you are combining the visuals with the text and the sound of the new words. You will feel as if you are reading a story in a new language or watching a movie unfold. This kind of learning – learning as you go and always as a part of some context – is very similar to how you would learn a language if you were studying it abroad. When you are forced to understand something, you don’t have much choice but to do so.
Depending on the game, you can sometimes meet people who speak the language you are learning and practice with them. Not only will you be able to improve immensely, but you will also make some new friends. If you have the option of meeting new people in the game, use every chance you can get to practice and better yourself. If you have the ability to play in teams, make sure that you are playing with people who speak your target language so that you can hear them talking naturally at a fast pace and try to keep up. Do not forget to ask them questions if you have any and if you have time, write down new words and expressions you learn so that you don’t forget them.
What can we learn from this?
Playing video games is a great way to let children, as well as adults, learn a new language spontaneously. Instead of looking down on video games, we should all see the benefits they bring and the possibilities you have when immersing yourself in a virtual world. Next time you don’t feel like learning new words in the traditional way, try playing a video game, and language learning will never be boring again.