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Language learning and games
Photo: http://crystallize-online.com/

Games make learning new languages easier

Learning a new language is difficult but not impossible. Interaction is the key concept in learning new languages faster. And, a bunch of people from Cornell University have created a game for just that — interacting with others to grasp a foreign language quicker.

The interactive game, called ‘Crystallize’, is a role-playing game in which the player guides an avatar through a virtual world in which all the characters speak the target language.

The player must learn to communicate to make friends and get a job. The prototype version teaches Japanese, but versions could be made for any language, the creators said.

Visual and situation context

What is different about this one when there are many such games available? The researchers say that the ability of the game to help a person think in terms of the situation and context helps him/her learn a language more efficiently.

The authors contend that many applications focus on memorization of vocabulary and  claim “immersion in a virtual world…provides visual and situational context, while gaming elements add motivation.”

The creators have developed a prototype to learn Japanese.

Game and language learning
Photo: http://crystallize-online.com/


Forty-eight students were recruited to play the game and each was assigned a partner. A chat interface was provided for communication. Some were also asked to play a version of the game that required them to collaborate with others for completing ‘quests’. The experiment found that players in this “high interdependence” group learned more words.

Interviews and questionnaires showed those who were required to interact had a closer relationship with their partners and thought their partners had been more helpful. According to chat logs, they spent more time communicating.


Cornell University. (2016, June 27). Want to learn a new language? Get a partner and play this video game. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 16, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160627132813.htm

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