Mastering a new language should be challenging, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring, and tedious. Learning a new language can be fun and easy when you take a more creative approach like listening to podcasts, adding chrome extensions to your browser, or language learning games!
Language learning games provide a meaningful context for language use and build on skills necessary for responding appropriately in another language while being under pressure in various circumstances. Games offer a dynamic learning environment and help to refine nearly all aspects of our language skills—pronunciation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, syntax, not to mention our listening and written comprehension which all help generate fluency.
Here are the best language learning games that offer a break from the repetitive work, but not a break from learning!
I’m sure everyone knows this one and it’s a great one to use for learning a new language. A minimum of 2 people are needed to play this vocabulary game so grab your language exchange partner! The game is played by one person thinking of a word in their target language and the other(s) trying to guess that word. The ones guessing, shout out a letter of the alphabet, and if the word contains the letter, it’s written in the correct blank space. If the letter guessed doesn’t appear in the word, you start to draw the hangman. Once the hangman is complete or the correct word has been guessed, the game is over. This game is perfect for learning and revising vocabulary and also for practicing pronunciation of the alphabet in the target language.
Here is another language learning game that is ideal to play with your language exchange partner or in a bigger group setting. All you need to do is write the name of a celebrity, an animal, or an object on a sticky note or piece of paper and stick it to a player’s forehead for everyone else but them to see. Next, the person has up to 20 questions to ask in their target language to correctly guess what’s on their card. These questions can only have yes/no answers which can make things a bit harder. This game uses all the vocabulary that you know while also learning grammar, sentence structure, and pronunciation.
Kloo has both a card and board game for learning Spanish, French, Italian, and English. This game is ideal to play by yourself or up to a group of 4 people. The central idea behind Kloo is to score points by making sentences as long as possible in your target language. The game contains two decks, the first being useful words around a certain theme and the second containing extra verb cards for learning the future and past tenses plus everyday expressions. Within a few games, you become familiar with the words and learn how to make grammatically correct sentences.
I think everyone knows this famous word game! Scrabble is a board game in which 2-4 players compete in forming words from their pool of lettered tiles, with each tile being worth a certain number of points. The aim of the game is to create words either, horizontally or vertically on the board, using your tiles. Higher scores are recorded for longer or more difficult words or by forming two or more interlocking words at the same time. The person who has the most points on their board after all of the tiles have been used up wins.
This is a great free website to learn phrases, vocabulary, numbers, colors, spelling, the alphabet, and even verb conjugation in over 70 different languages. Though the interface and design of the website don’t provide the nicest user experience, that doesn’t take away the great value it provides for language learners. This one can get highly addictive!
This is a great website and mobile app (available on both iOS and Android) for complete beginners in a language. Their Memo vocabulary game is great for becoming familiar with new words and helping you to improve pronunciation with audio from native speakers.
Influent is a language learning simulation that supports more than 15 languages including Japanese, Hindi, and Latin! It is a language learning game focused on vocabulary acquisition and pronunciation. Players explore an interactive 3D world filled with selectable and collectible objects scattered throughout the game. Each object has a name, and sometimes even a description or action word attached. Players can then add these nouns, adjectives, and verbs into their own custom vocab lists.
Playing games helps us improve our language skills and motivate us beyond our limits. They’re just one more useful tool at your disposal, so don’t be afraid to integrate them into your experience!