Evaluation of games for language learning purposes

I’ve analysed in class today the website digitaldialects.com and see the potential it has for language learning. But I’d like to remember that it’s not because you use technology that it helps you for language learning, you have to do something to reach a certain level of interaction.

Just have a look at this website and choose a language you want to learn/ practise or whatever. You’ll quickly see that the site offers a wide range of languages: 77 different languages and there’s also Irish which surprised me! I never thought Irish could be learned through technology, to be honest.

I’d like to talk about the limitations of digitaldialects.com and then I’ll go on with the benefits, which are numerous according to me.

Once you’ve chosen the language you want to practise and you’re about to start an exercise about fruits and veggies for example, there might me something distracting you. Exactly, advertising everywhere! Does it be on the left, on the right or under your vocab exercise, there are a few ads at the same time. They probably misunderstood the difference between entertaining/diverting and distracting… This was my first impression but then I went a bit deeper in my reflection and thought it could probably be a website created by Babel, another language learning site because most of the adverts were about this other language learning website. Smart from me, isn’t it? Afterwards, I went through a few exercises in German ( quite childish because of all the pictures) and being bilingual in French and German, I realized there was a mistake in the gender of one word. This is just intolerable,  you just wonder if you can really rely on it or not? Moreover, I tried to come back to a homepage to choose another language and there isn’t any homepage you can come back to. These were the only limitations I’ve found for this website.

But on the other hand, there a many benefits of this website which makes me forget about the negative things and let me arguing that digitaldialects.com has a real potential for language learning. First, you have to choose your level, which is a good thing, it’s suitable for any level. Then, there are many differents types of exercises for different skills: grammar, vocabulary, listening (not every language), spelling+ pronunciation,… and all of these are animating, entertaining. An important aspect is also covered: feedback. The website put a green tick when an answer is correct and a red cross when it isn’t AND gives you the right answer. For languages as German, they also give the gender. Oh, I forgot to say that before each exercise, a list is given to the learner to let him reading through and try to memorize it once before starting the exercise. The two last benefits are for me: the bookshop they offer with different kinds of books for language learning and the famous blue thumb, with which you can recommend the website to friends on Facebook, another aspect of interaction.

To put it in a nutshell, I really think this webiste could help a language learner but it might be suitable for younger children. The solution I could offer would be to repurpose a game or else to language learning in order to make a website more suitable for the level and age of languages learners at university. Hope you enjoyed reading and don’t hesitate to speak your mind!

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