Learn Spanish with Nintendo DS / Lær spansk med Nintendo / Aprender español con Nintendo

Friday, July 04, 2008

I found a really short article in Norwegian on Nintendo DS being used to learn languages in Japan and Norway. I'm not that good at Norwegian so the translation is not all that good (I even removed an entire sentence that I wasn't having fun with near the middle) but did it just for fun. Personally I've never found these devices to be that useful for learning much more than individual words and their pronunciations; real language learning takes place at about the mid-level simply through massive reading and practice. This is because once one has learned about the first two thousand words and most of the grammar in a language it becomes possible to figure out most content with only a dictionary and a bit of effort, but the rest of the language is a different matter, a huge mess of low-frequency words and phrases that still must be learned, and you just can't encounter each and every one of these situations through a simple tool like this one. At that point you just need reams and reams of context.

They're still fun though, no doubt about it. Good for when you only have a few minutes so wouldn't be able to concentrate that well anyway.

Denne vil overtale foreldrene dine.
This will persuade your parents.

Å lære seg et nytt språk er ofte knyttet til mye slit og tårer, der svetten renner mens du forsøker å holde rede på de endeløst lange remsene med gloser og alle unntakene fra hovedregelen.
To learn a new language is often associated with much toil and tears, where sweat flows while you try to hold on to the endlessly long ribbon with words and all exceptions from the main rule.

Morsomt er lærerikt.

Fun is educational.

For når IKT-basert språkundervisning oppleves som gammelt nytt, prøver like godt Nintendo å dytte språklæringen inn i sin egen spillkonsoll.
Just when IKT (Informasjons- og kommunikasjonsteknologi - Information and communications technology) - based language instruction is seen as being old now, Nintendo is trying to push language learning in its own game console.

Bærbar språklærer.

Mobile language teacher.

En spesiell plastpenn følger med i pakken og skal brukes til å stave glosene rett på skjermen. Dersom ordet staves riktig, vil den innebygde språklæreren oppmuntre eleven med ”Good!”. Videre følger en funksjon som lar elevene høre den korrekte uttalen.
A special plastic pen is included with the package and will be used to write words right on the screen. If the spelling is right, the built-in language teacher will encourage the student with "Good!". There is also included a function that lets the students hear the correct pronunciation.

Foreløpig er ikke den engelske utgaven kommet til Norge ennå. Men språkpakken for spansk og fransk ble lansert allerede i fjor. Så da gjenstår det bare å få kunnskapsminister Bård Vegard Solhjell til å spandere Nintendo på norske skoleelever. Det blir i så fall et PR-stunt vi tipper norsk skoleungdom vil applaudere.
For the moment the English version hasn't yet come to Norway. But language packs for Spanish and French were launched already last year. So it only needs the knowledge minister Bård Vegard Solhjell to treat Norwegian school children to Nintendo. That would be a kind of PR stunt us Norwegian schoolchildren will applaud.


Anonymous said...

Ha! Studying English is what my wife always claims she'd do with a DS. Yeah right.

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