New LRC Game: Tell Tale

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Tell Tale is a flexible game that can be played in any language. The only thing required to play it is a deck of a cards that features pictures on both sides of it. The goal of the game is to come up with a story from the cards. You can either take turns and make a story with the group or everyone draws the same amount of cards and comes up with their story. You can with others as teams or not. As you can see from the pictures, they are simple scenes depicting a person, place or thing. This game is specifically helpful to language learners because one can practice forming sentences using familiar words such as the ones shown. “Flower”, “dog”, or “rain” are easily accessible to most beginner language learners.

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On the other hand, this game can also force one to go out of their comfort zone and think of new sentences as well as discover new words or phrases. For instance, I can say I know now the French word for fortune teller: <<diseur de bonne aventure>>

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¿cómo se dice “falling to your death”

French Readers

Although practice with speaking is important to learning a language, reading is also an indispensable tool. By just relying on listening or speaking, one loses out on understanding the fundamental rules to a language. Reading also helps many people visualize a language easier and therefore retain it. Reading in foreign languages is very daunting but that’s why graded readers exist! These books are written for the learners of a language and include a lot of information.

Here in the LRC, there is one copy of an intermediate Graded French Reader. However, archived here is a list of many public domain readers. They are available on a range of levels. For instance, A Graduated French Reader by Paul Barbier begins with a lesson on pronunciation of French letters. It includes many short stories and includes vocabulary at the end of each. Towards the back of the book poems are also included along with tables of irregular verbs and a full vocab list. For more advanced students, there are more challenging publications. One that seems particularly interesting to me is A Scientific French Reader written by Alexander Herdler that includes excerpts and diagrams of aviation, basic physics, chemistry, and so much more. When learning languages, one doesn’t get to encounter vocabulary such as this or to see the syntax of a language in a discipline like this. Although this might bore some people, we learn in different ways and exploring what may benefit or intrigue you the most is worth pursuing.

Arabic Spot-It Cards

Students taking Arabic at the introductory level can find very useful the LRC’s Arabic Spot-It Cards. For those who are looking to improve their vocabulary of everyday objects, Arabic Spot-It Cards, located at the games shelf of the LRC, offer the opportunity for practicing oral speaking skills. The game can be played by one’s self or with two people. The cards feature universal images and Arabic words. The goal of the game is to find matches between a word and its corresponding picture, between two pictures, or between two words before the other player. There is only one match between any two cards. Students learning Arabic often have trouble memorizing new vocabulary and Spot-It offers a fun way to do just that!

Awesome Website for Understanding Arabic

Often it is difficult to find practice resources for students who are starting to grasp the Arabic Language. Located online, Mumkin.es is an excellent way to practice listening and comprehension skills of the Arabic Language. Providing short video clips of news reports, documentaries, and even songs, viewers can read a transcript of the clips while listening to the correct pronunciation from native speakers. After each clip, there are also comprehension questions in Arabic that viewers can answer and check as well. This is a great website for beginners who want to start to challenge their comprehension ability. More so, Mumkin.es is geared toward the intermediate and advanced levels of the Arabic language who are looking for extras ways to practice their understanding of Arabic through real-world applications.

New Game in the LRC: Hit Manga!

Hit Manga is a multiplayer card game that can be played in both English and Japanese. Players are provided with 50 red cards (cards for taking), 50 gray cards (cards for reading), 4 yellow cards (negative points), and 4 blue cards (new rules that can be added). Before starting the game, all of the red cards are laid out on the table, a gray card for each player is set aside, and the rest of the gray cards are placed face down in the middle of the table as a stockpile. The directions specify that the “biggest Manga fan” takes his/her turn first. The first player up takes one gray card and imagines a situation for the scene on the card, describing where the person is, who the person is, what the person is doing, etc. He/she then acts out what the person on the card may be saying and doing, while the other players look at the red cards and try to determine which card the player is describing, taking a guess as soon as possible. When you think you have the correct card, show it to the first player. If the cards match, you both get one point, which you keep track of by keeping the cards. If your card doesn’t match, your chance is over and the other players take their guesses.

Be careful! Each player only has one guess per round! If no one finds the correct card, the player whose turn it is gets a yellow card, indicating that he/she has negative one point. The next player then picks up a gray card and tries to act it out and the game continues until the stockpile of gray cards runs out, or until all four yellow cards run out. The winner is the player with the most points. If there is a tie, the winner is determined by who has less yellow cards.

To change things up, players can use blue cards to add new rules to the game! These include communicating only through onomatopoeia, mimicry, and sound effects, communicating only with gestures, using your turn to build on the story of the previous player, and communicating using a rule you made up. The blue cards offer both an English and a Japanese explanation and the game comes with directions in both languages as well. Hit Manga can be an exciting way to strengthen your language by using it in situations you may not have before, or it can just be a fun game to play with friends!Hit Manga (1)

Race to Paris

Located on the shelf called “French Games” is one such board game titled “Race to Paris”. This game is best for beginners as it utilizes many basic nouns and verbs. You use cards to create French sentences and the longer the sentence, the more points you can receive. More points means making it to the center of the board, AKA Paris.

There are also arrows located on the cards that show what cards can be placed before and after others which means you can create sentences easily (even if you have no idea what the words mean) and advance in the game. Although not being able to translate your sentence means fewer points.

It is also a useful way to practice your pronunciation since some spots require you to test your opponents on their knowledge of French vocab words. For beginners it is a great way to expand one’s vocabulary and even advanced students can review. Regardless, everyone can have a few laughs at the basic, but somehow still funny, sentences such as “I admire the sad professor.” Don’t we all.

La Vita è/e Bella

We’ve all seen it before- an innocent, misguided soul walks into a tattoo parlor with their favorite word or quote translated into a language they are not familiar with. Before they know it, the Chinese symbol for “oven” or meaningless Arabic gibberish is permanently etched on their body.  For speakers of these languages, I imagine seeing these tattoos on their peers, on strangers and on celebrities causes some combination of frustration (because their language is being used incorrectly by people who will probably never know what they really have written on them) and entertainment (because it’s sort of like a little inside joke among those who know the language).

One of the first things I learned in my introductory Italian class was the difference between “e” and “è.” “E” in Italian translates to “and,” while “è” translates to “is.” Mixing these two up can completely change the meaning of what you are trying to say. One often quoted Italian phrase is “la vita è bella,” meaning “the life is beautiful.” This is a popular tattoo among both Italian speakers and non-Italian speakers. One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen is the phrase written as “la vita e bella,” which translates to “the life and beautiful.” Leaving out one simple mark changes the meaning of the whole phrase! Fortunately, this can be easily fixed. Unfortunately, it might take a while for someone to recognize the mistake.

If you’re looking to get a tattoo in a language you’re unfamiliar with, make sure to do a little bit of research on what you want written and on the language you want it written in, or find someone you trust to help you out. Don’t be another person on the long list of foreign language tattoo fails!

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Learning a Language has never been so Transparent!

Please forgive my terrible puns. But learning German (or any language!) can be fun and easy using the many resources offered free of cost by the LRC, and one of my favorite examples is an online program called Transparent Language.

I used this resource to review some forgotten German vocabulary as well as try some of the basic lessons in Mandarin. Any German language learner at any level-beginner, intermediate or advanced- can use this program, which has a wide range of lessons and topics to choose from. You can skip around if you want, which is great for advanced speakers who don’t want to go through all the beginner lessons. The best thing about Transparent Language is that it helps in every area of language learning: reading, writing, listening comprehension, and speaking!

You do not need to be on an LRC computer to use this resource, but you can always come in and use our headphones and microphones for this program. To get started, visit the LRC webpage at www.gettysburg.edu/lrc and click on Resources. Under Online Resources, Transparent Language will be the first option. You will be asked to create a profile and a login and then you’re ready to go! 

Scribblenauts auf Deutsch!

Have you ever played the video game Scribblenauts? Modeled in the style of a comic book, Scribblenauts is a fun puzzle based game in which you must come up with different nouns to solve problems the hero, Maxwell, encounters.

At the LRC you can play Scribblenauts in German on our iPads! This game is best suited for intermediate or advanced German students because it requires a variety of vocabulary knowledge that beginner students may not have yet. However, that shouldn’t stop you from trying it! This game is excellent for practicing word recall and vocabulary, and Autocorrect can help you out with spelling. To play, make sure the language of the IPad is set on German by going to the IPad’s General Settings > Language and Region > iPad language.

The German department and German club participated in a Game Night in the LRC earlier in the semester, and once we started playing, it was hard to stop! This game is very fun when you creatively solve problems. For example, to cut a tree down to receive a star from the top, we used the obvious saw and ax, then were able to use einer Flammenwerfer-a flamethrower! The breadth of objects available for use in Scribblenauts never fails to astound me. 

Keep in mind that for each scenario you will have to come up with three different ways to solve the problem; essentially three different nouns that the characters can use. Additionally, you cannot use words you have already used in past scenarios, so choose wisely and be creative!

Spot it! Basic Italian

Here at the Language Resource Center, we carry Spot it! for basic Italian. Spot it! is an educational game that features universal images and words. Between any two cards, there is always only one matching pair. These pairs can be two images, two words, or an image and a word. Players can compete to find the matching pair before their opponent or race against the clock, seeing how quickly they can spot the matches themselves. Spot it! is an awesome tool for beginner Italian speakers. The repetition of the words among the cards solidifies word recognition and the pictures support reading comprehension. Saying the words aloud improves speech and trying to find matches quickly strengthens processing speed. Spot it! makes learning basic Italian vocabulary fun and breaks away from tedious memorization techniques. Playing Spot it! will improve your vocabulary and boost your understanding of the words you’re learning in a way lists and index cards can’t!