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Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Using The Sims to Teach Languages
11:50 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The Journal Language Learning and Technology has published an article showing how the popular game The Sims was used to help with the teaching of a foreign language. Centered around learning German, The Sims was modified to display text in German, while maintaining English explanations and so forth.

The main focus of the project revolved around putting users in an immersive visual environment while displaying text in a foreign language, which allowed for associations while learning. The Sims also makes allowances for missed translations:

In a video game, however, some incorrect assumptions by learners can be recovered through the interactions present in a typical gaming environment. For example, one of the variables players must keep track of is their Sim's energy level -- represented in the German version by a bar labeled "energie." If a poor learner were to guess the meaning of this word incorrectly, her/his character would take steps to notify the player until the energy variable was addressed.
While educational games have been around for a while, this project focused on foreign languages specifically, and other inroads are being looked into, including a Firefox extention and translated layers in foreign language songs. Check out the rest of the article linked from Slashdot for more information.

Slashdot - Learning a Foreign Language with The Sims
LLT - COMMENTARY: You're Not Studying, You're Just...

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