Who says learning Spanish can’t be all fun and games?
Today I’m thrilled to share with you an excellent guest post written by the co-founder of ¡Dígame!.
I’ll let her take the stage now and describe her own project.
Sarah Allen is CTO of Mightyverse. She speaks Spanish, German, and English and loves learning languages. She’s an expert on computer-human interaction and collaborative systems and is driven to design a platform that will make it fun for everyone to learn to communicate across culture and language.
Learning to Speak
Learning to speak a new language requires you to actually speak the language. More than knowing vocabulary or grammar, you need to have words and phrases that come quickly to mind at the moment you need them. Mightyverse is developing a card game that lets you practice in a fun, social setting.
One of Runaway Daydreamer first tips on learning language says “Simply put. Language learning should be fun. If it’s not fun 80% of the time, you’re doing it wrong.”
If you are seeking ways to make your language learning more fun, you might want to try ¡Dígame!.
The game is based on core principles from language learning research:
Immersion: When you can remove the scaffolding of your native language while you’re learning your new language, learning accelerates dramatically.
Spaced repetition: Memorizing new vocabulary follows a pattern where language is entered into short term memory and over time repetition leads to commitment to long term memory. Spaced Repetition optimizes this process through prompting people to recall a phrase from short term memory just as it’s about to be forgotten.
Variation Sets: A noun is easily recognized when it follows a “word frame” such as “This is a ___.” Then using some repetition to highlight variation helps with learning. In the book Nurture Shock, on teaching children, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman point out that “grammar teaches vocabulary.” The game has a starter deck with variations on simple nouns and adjectives with just a few verbs, then expands vocabulary with slightly more complex sentences as you level up.
Seeing Speech: Babies lip-read to help them learn to decipher speech and studies on adults show that seeing lip movements affect your ability to hear sound (the McGurk Effect). Learning in a social setting where you can see other people speak, helps reinforce what you are learning.
Mightyverse is currently raising funds on Indiegogo to produce the game. You can order Spanish or Japanese games now, and with a higher contribution you can even add a new language. If you are in San Francisco, you could join a game night and play with native Spanish speakers.
Update: The Spanish language game ¡Dígame! has been released and is available on Amazon.