New game at the LRC: Dixit

dixit box

We have a fun new game in the LRC that can be played in any language! Dixit uses beautifully illustrated cards that players then have to either describe or match to another player’s description. We encourage you to use your second (or third, or fourth) language to play Dixit. Beginners can use single word descriptors and advanced language learners can put together an entire story about their card if they want.

One player chooses a card from their hand and, without showing the other players, gives a clue about the card. This clue can be a direct description, a proverb that relates to it, a story, a pop-culture reference… Anything goes as long as you use your language skills. Let’s use the following three cards as examples:

footstepsfuture picgood and evil

Left: 黒いです
Kuroi desu
It’s black

Middle: 未来の写真
Mirai no shashin
Picture of the future

Right: 時間が眠っているあいだ、二つの大きいな力が戦っている
Jikan ga netteiru aida, futatsu no ookiina chikara ga tatakatteiru
While time sleeps, the two great powers fight

These examples are in Japanese, but Dixit can be played in any language. Even if you only know a few words, you can try something like the first example. If you don’t know a word that you want to use, there’s no shame in looking it up. Rather, it’s an excellent way to supplement your vocabulary. Then you can teach the new word(s) to someone else! You could also try playing in pairs or teams. Two heads are better than one! You can work together to come up with something more correct or complex in your target language. Team members can also work together to figure out what the clue means in English. Then they can better match one of their cards to the clue and play it.

Once all the players/teams have submitted a card that they think matches the clue, all the cards are revealed. Everyone then votes on the card that they think the clue was originally based on. Scoring is based on how many people find that card.

Dixit can be played with as few as 3 people (with some minor adjustments) according to the traditional rules. However, you could also just use the cards to practice vocabulary, creating sentences, or other oral skills on your own or with only one friend. Try drawing a card and making up a story to go with it, or identifying all the visual attributes of the card. Beginners can try naming all the colors used, nouns, or something that uses equally basic language skills. You can do this individually or team up with a friend to help each other and check each other’s work. Alternately, try telling each other stories based on the cards and see if your partner can understand. If one of you is artistic, you could even describe the card and have your partner draw it.

You can also use Dixit to practice dictation. While one player gives their hint or describes the card orally, the other player(s) write what they hear. This could be especially useful for languages like Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic which have writing systems other than the Roman alphabet that English uses.

Dixit is incredibly flexible, with so many different ways to play, it can be both fun and educational for all language learners regardless of skill or language. Come try it out!

7 thoughts on “New game at the LRC: Dixit

  1. Great article Kathryn! This game sounds super fun and would be a great source of inspiration for students if they had to write their own short story or fairytale in another language.

    I thought up some Spanish and German examples for the cards you picked too:

    Spanish:
    Left: Está gris –> It is gray
    Middle: Dos niños que se enamoraron –> Two children who fell in love.
    Right: Me recuerdo de Fantasia 2000 de Disney –> It reminds me of Fantasia 2000 by Disney

    German:
    Left: spazierengehen –> to go walking
    Middle: Die Zeit ist wie eine Kamera –> Time is like a camera
    Right: Das Licht und das Dunkel kämpfen um die Zukunft eines Kinds –> The Light and The Darkness fight over the future of a child.

  2. I really like your suggestion that players could try to identify all the visual elements of a card, like the colors or other elements. I think it would be good practice to use the cards to play scategories by attempting to name as many words as possible associated with an element of a card. This could help new language learners build associations between vocabulary words.

    For example, if I wanted to use these three cards given as an example to practice Arabic vocabulary, I might try to list all the parts of the body for left card (راس, وجه, عين, بطن, قدم, سن, اصبع الرجل—head, face, eye, belly, foot, tooth, toe), or list all the clothing in the middle card (قميص, حذاء, بدلة, فستان—shirt, shoes, suit, dress), or list all the familial relationships for the right card (أم, اب, اخ, اخت, عم, جد, جدة—mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, grandfather, grandmother).

    Here are some possible Arabic prompts as well.

    اليسار
    تصبح المواطئ السود بيضاء.

    الوسط
    يكبر الاطفال ويتزوجون.

    اليمين
    تحرّب امرأتان عن طفل.

    Left
    The black footsteps become white.

    Middle
    The children grow and they marry.

    Right
    The two women fight over a baby.

    1. I noticed a typo in my Arabic. It should actually be:

      اليسار
      تصبح المواطئ السوداء بيضاء.

      الوسط
      يكبر الاطفال ويتزوجون.

      اليمين
      تحرّب امرأتان عن طفل.

  3. I love the idea of using this game for writing practice. This certainly applies to Macedonian, which uses its own alphabet (with borrowings from the Cyrillic alphabet) as well. Here are some ideas for those three cards:

    страшно е! (It is frightening!)
    дечко и дебојка се постарите. (The boy and the girl are older)
    две лица се борат блиску на бебе. (Two people fight near a baby)

  4. This is a solid idea. It applies to Russian which uses a Cyrillic alphabet.
    Следы в темноте! (footsteps in the dark)
    Молодожены. (Newly-weds)
    Борьба добра и зла. (Struggle between the evil & good.)

  5. I just read Anoush’s comment and realized how similar Russian is to Macedonian! I completely agree! I think this is a very useful too to practice foreign language skills, regardless of the language.

    Russian examples for these cards:
    Это страшно (It’s scary)
    Мальчик и девочка могут увидеть свое будущее (The boy and girl can see their future)
    Существует добро и зло (There is good and evil)

  6. Dixit is a really fun game and helpful to practice foreign languages including Chinese. When you describe a delicate picture to other players, it’s a good way to practice how you combine words and phrases to make sentences and helpful to improve your oral expression. On the other hand, you could practice listening when other players describe their cards.

    Chinese examples:

    黑夜里的脚印。(footprint in the dark)
    小孩从相机看见他们婚礼。(2 children see their wedding in a camera)
    二个女人争抢一个熟睡的婴儿。(2 women fighting for a infant)

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