“Language Gaming” is an original term coined by LanguageQuesters, it means using a video game to learn a foreign language. That can be done in a number of different ways through all sorts of video games. The easiest way for beginners is to use the audio-language and use subtitles of your native language. Sadly that option is not available for every game, but we at LanguageQuesters strive to solve that conundrum by mentioning in which games it can be done.
A more advanced way is of course to use subtitles in the same language you want to learn as opposed to subtitles in a language you know. That’s only recommended to those with more advanced knowledge of their target language. It is generally ill-advised to play without subtitles at all.
Doing it right:
First off, you need to choose the right game. A game you like, a style you like. Games that are good for language-learning are usually open-world games with high immersion factors that can suck you into the world and make you feel a part of it. Today’s games are doing it better and better. One of LanguageQuesters’ goals is to elavulate games for their Language Gaming Prowess (LGP), i.e. how effective are they for language-learning.
The sad truth is that not every game you want to play will have the language you want to learn (refering to audio languages). Not all computer games company invest in full “localization” of their games for their own reasons.
The most widespread languages barring English (which is everywhere) are French and German, but also Spanish and Italian are very popular. Those are the “main five” by order of localization popularity.
Next on the list is Russian, Japanese and lastly Portuguese.
Other languages do exist in computer games, but rarely show up compare to the aforementioned. If the language you’re studying is not mentioned on neither the first list or the second, language-gaming won’t be a very effective tactic for you.
Language Gaming Prowess (LGP)
Language Gaming Prowess is determined by several factors:
- Whether it’s possible to choose different subtitles language: that’s worth 1.5 points
- How immersive the game is (graphics, atmosphere, open world experience: That’s worth 1.5 points)
- How language-oriented the game is for a specific language: that can only increase the game’s LGP count, not reduce it
- How much of the game is voiced (in game notes, radio, etc): That’s worth 1 point; also can only increase the game LGP count
So, for example, while Assassin Creed’s Unity has gotten relatively bad reviews, it’s gotten an LGP of 10 because the experience is very immersive for French students. It beautifully reconstructs Paris during the French revolution, it allows not only for a different subtitles language, but for a different user-interface language (as do all recent Assassin Creeds’ games), allowing for further diversity in your gameplay, and considering the game settings and historical elements; it’s an ideal game to learn French and is exactly what LanguageQuesters encourages from computer games.