Using games in language learning: marble911's experiences
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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About this list
This list is primarily meant as a note to myself on what I have used and how it worked. Since it might be useful to other users too, I've decide to make it a public list. Comments are welcome, but I have not allowed public additions to the list.
The language I'm learning is Greek, but most of what I'm going to post can be used with other languages as well.
I'm going to list what items are depicted on any picture tiles or cards so that others can get an idea of the vocabulary used.

The language learning situation
I've been learning Modern Greek for a couple of semesters. 2.5 hours once a week, first in a somewhat larger course (~8 participants), then when more and more people dropped out of the course, we switched to private tuition. Currently, our group consists of 4 adult students (average age around 30) and a teacher.
Since my Greek is still pretty appalling and I keep forgetting even the easiest vocabulary, I decided it might be fun and useful to try and use some games for additional vocabulary practice. We'll start with some very simple children's games and see how it goes, and if the other students like the idea of using games.

Why use games
Because I like playing games. They are fun. Usually, there is a lot of repetition, which is good when you're trying to memorise something. And, very importantly, many of these games can be found relatively cheap (1-5 €) second-hand where I live, in thrift shops and flea markets. Most of them are games for very young children, so often people want to get rid of them when their kids have outgrown them. Components in games for very young kids are usually made of very thick, durable cardboard.
If you wanted to make your own flashcards, it would often cost you the same or more, in particular if you want comparable quality - and most home printers can't even print on cardboard that thick.
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1. Board Game: Alles Tomate! [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:6825]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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This is the first game we used.

Game description
A very simple memory game, at least if you're playing it in a language you know well. You have to remember which item is currently in front of the topic card of the same color in order to win that card.

Vocabulary
Farm-themed. There are 7 categories with 7 items each:
- Farm tools: tractor, axe, scythe, wheelbarrow, shovel, pitchfork, scarecrow
- Fruit: strawberries, blackberries, cherries, apples, grapes, red currants, pears
- Vegetables: corn, carrot, lettuce, tomato, green beans, potatoes, pumpkin
- Other foods: bread, butter, milk, honey, cheese, meat, eggs
- In the house: farmer, female farmer, bed, oven, stove, stool, wardrobe
- Farm animals: sheep, goose, pig, cow, rooster, horse, goat
- Farm buildings: farmhouse, outhouse, henhouse, doghouse, silo, barn, water wheel

Some of the vocabulary might be a bit too specific, but a lot of the items are very common ones that will be useful to know.
Can also be used to practice colours, materials ("is made of...")

Game materials
- 7 topic cards (showing all the items in one category)
- 49 cards showing individual items

Topic cards:


Some of the cards showing individual items:
 
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2. Board Game: Die freche Sprech-Hexe [Average Rating:5.08 Unranked]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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Not played yet

Game description
The game, as it is meant to be played, can only be played in German. Players must match tiles on the basis of similarities in the pronunciation of the words. Pairs that belong together (i.e. they rhyme or form a minimal pair with only one sound being different) have the same symbol on the back, which is revealed by putting the tiles in the witch's cauldron. Rhyme words and minimal pairs are different in different languages but the chips can be used in other activities, for example as an expansion of Nanu?.

Vocabulary
There are 48 round picture tiles.
Words were chosen for how they sound and not so much for content, so this is a very mixed bag. My attempts at grouping them:
- animals: pidgeon, toad, owl, mouse, snake, bear, raven, dog, hare, cow
- crockery and dishes: pot, pan, teapot, cup, plate
- fruits and vegetables: grapes, plums, beans, berries, turnip
- clothes and accessories: scarf, trousers, shoe, crown, bag, button
- body-related: thumb, mouth, hand, ear, bump
- objects of nature: moon, rose, mountain, wave
- buildings and related stuff: house, castle, door, cellar, goal
- others: flute, book, pliers, needle, nail, wool, clock, giant
 
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3. Board Game: Pantomime [Average Rating:5.71 Unranked]
Kathrin
Austria
Wien
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Not played yet

Game description
Players are divided into teams. Teams take turns, with one of their members using pantomime to describe the item on a randomly drawn card and the other team members trying to guess the word. The team with the most cards wins the game.

Vocabulary
There are 48 picture cards.
My attempts at grouping them into categories:
- animals: frog, lion, bull, cow, cat, penguin, worm, raven, elephant, rabbit, hen, crocodile, monkey
- tools: shovel, scissors, paintbrush, spoon, saw, hammer, fishing rod, magic wand, pencil, toothbrush
- clothes and accessories: glasses, handkerchief, umbrella, cap, scarf
- musical instruments and toys: drum, flute, guitar, ball, balloon, seesaw
- means of transport: boat, car, airplane, scooter, skis, roller skates, shopping trolley
- others: bottle, ice cream, mobile phone, vampire, book, heart, Native American
 
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