Play and learn

A professor at Michigan State University has created a free online role-playing game that teaches you Mandarin Chinese, as well as introducing you to Chinese culture, according to this report.

Within the game you inhabit a virtual version of China where you can visit markets, read newspapers, watch television, chat and trade with other players and even get a job, and there are plenty of help with the language the culture. Players start out as tourists and can become residents or even citizens of the virtual China.

This sounds like a good idea that might appeal to quite a lot of people.

Do you know of games that teach other languages? Have you tried any of them?

This entry was posted in Chinese, Language, Language learning.

0 Responses to Play and learn

  1. texugo says: has a Japanese-learning game styled after old Final Fantasy-type role playing games.

  2. CrC says:

    Man! I was just thinking the other day how effective the “rpg” style of game could be in language learning. Very cool to see that someone had the same idea. I like the direction they’re going with their game, though I couldn’t really evaluate it very well due to a variety of technical problems straight off the bat. Hopefully they’ll get these worked out soon, and hopefully this will become a successful proof-of-concept that will awaken further interest in the industry.

    Basically I see the main requirements for language learning as the following: motivation (often driven/enhanced by necessity)+input (most effectively provided by immersion)+interaction (use/feedback of the language). An RPG can provide all of these, and even in an enhanced way as it can be wrapped up in a captivating story (I mean, what’s more motivating: learning a language to manage day-to-day, or learning a language in order to survive as a top-echelon spy on the run in a foreign land?)

    Looking forward to seeing if anyone else knows of existing games… so far I haven’t found them…

  3. Provi says:

    I went and tried this site, but it’s really nothing too special…it was very slow actually…I still think it’s a great idea, but this isn’t the best example, but a darn good first try.

  4. Zon seems to be a logical development of what LRNJ tried to do. My problem with both: Not open source!

    LRNJ wants to make money sure, but what is MSU’s excuse?

  5. Ulashima says:

    There are urban legends going on about “Second Life” like how “a Chinese woman had become rich selling property on Second Life” based on the Lindendollars, the currency of Second Life being exchangeable with real money. There could have been some idealistic “language teachers” setting up online language lectures on Second Life, but again I don’t think there are. As my opinion on Second Life…I couldn’t play that much. The thing was slow as a dead sloth, it took almost five minutes to see a game instruction text on the screen….this may be due to slow internet connections of my country Turkey.

    Online games might be a conversation practice instrument, since they allow interactions with many people round the world. Be careful for some players though.

  6. Ulashima says:

    By the way, I wanna ask a question. Do I have to install a client program in order to play this game, or is it web-based, played on the browser?

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