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Linguaholic

Table-Top Gaming and Language Learning


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Does anybody here use board games, card games, or role-playing games (like Dungeons & Dragons) for learning or teaching languages?
 

When I was an ESL teacher in South Korea I had a lot of fun teaching English and learning a little Korean along the way by playing D&D with my ten-year-old students. I figured that I built up an impressive vocabulary as a precious youth from Gary Gygax's AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide, so maybe my students would benefit from it as well! 
If you are interested, maybe I can tell you some cool stories about it.

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Hello Cave Bear,

I love the idea of learning by playing. I have a lot of board games at hand but not D&D. I wonder how I could put the board games to use if their ingredients (cards, tokens, maps etc) are not in a target language. Do you think it's still possible to incorporate some elements of language learning into it?

The thing is, not all of my friends speak good English, so I buy all the games in Polish, to make sure everybody understands what the game is about.

Do you have any tips on how to make such games work for language learning? Or is buying the French/German/English version the only way to go?

Thanks,

Ania

 

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Hello Cave Bear,

I love the idea of learning by playing. I have a lot of board games at hand but not D&D. I wonder how I could put the board games to use if their ingredients (cards, tokens, maps etc) are not in a target language. Do you think it's still possible to incorporate some elements of language learning into it?

The thing is, not all of my friends speak good English, so I buy all the games in Polish, to make sure everybody understands what the game is about.

Do you have any tips on how to make such games work for language learning? Or is buying the French/German/English version the only way to go?

Thanks,

Ania

 

I've had a lot of success with games that involve a lot of talking. Settlers of Catan, for example, involves a lot of negotiation and back and forth between players. That's a good opportunity to practice conversational skills.
The rules themselves can be a tool for language learning. There are a lot of Magic: the Gathering players in Seoul, including a fair number of native English speakers. The English speakers often play with cards printed in Korean, even if they don't speak much of the language. The cards use a lot of very specific, technical language with reoccurring terminology; the English speaking players tend to pick up on the Korean words for 'tap' and 'attack' after a certain point. 

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