This is a series of posts in which I’ll tell you exactly what games have taught me throughout the years.
In this first part I’ll be discussing how games helped me learn a new language.
As you might already know: I’m Portuguese, so obviously, first language I learned in my life…was Portuguese! Anyways… A few years back, we only got to learn English (or French) starting on the 5th grade. Loving challenges as I did, I picked French, of course! All the way from the 5th grade to the 9th grade! …I hated it. I had good grades but I can barely form a phrase in French. English, however, is very different, as you can tell. My english classes were from the 7th grade to the 11th.
So I had “Level 1” in 7th grade, “Level 2” in 8th grade, “Level 3” in 9th grade and… “Level 5” in 10th grade. Jumped two levels because if you pick French/English on your 5th grade you’re supposed to stick with it til 11th grade. But I switched! So I had 5 years of each language. All teachers told me not to switch, even my friends did it. Their words were something like “You need to worker so much harder than anyone else there”, “You’re gonna fail. You know that, right?” – guess what? I didn’t even put an effort on those classes. I picked English exactly because I was comfortable with it.
There are probably quite a few grammatical mistakes here in the text alone (and that’s why I decided to write in english – to improve my skill further) but I can assure you I had good grades. All because of video games, music and movies.
One of the first games that helped me with this was Pokémon – and the English Language Dictionary, too! I would play the game and just sit there, paused, looking for the word on the dictionary to figure it out. I just wish I thought of this the first time I played Pokémon, though, because it would’ve made it so much easier, instead of just running around thinking harder than I should have.
After that, I kept learning through Grand Theft Auto series (oh, I played my first one when I was 9 years old. It was GTA III and boy…did I learn things from it), The Legend of Zelda series, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and, of course, all my Dreamcast games – Sonic Adventures (both), Skies of Arcadia, Jet Set Radio/Jet Grind Radio and the mighty Red Dog. In all these games I did that little thing with the dictionary and tried to make sense of things. Of course, I’d sometimes say things like “I like eat potatoes” because I didn’t quite understand how to use “to” (even though it’s so easy). But it was a step towards learning…and I have to say, I think it helped me a lot.
What about you? What have games taught you thus far? Leave a comment, let me know. Let’s discuss it!