: Absolutely! The key is playing games in the chosen language with subtitles set in that same language. The biggest challenge for language learners at the beginner/lower intermediate level (which generally corresponds to 2-3 years of foreign language in high-school or 2-3 semesters in college) is to move away from constantly translating everything into one’s own native language, and towards approaching the foreign language as such, with its own forms and structures. Also, while in some languages, such as Italian “What you see is what you get” (one pronounces every single letter, and there are standard rules for pronunciation) that is not the case for other languages, such as English. Ask the average non-English native teenager/young adult, “What is the name of the game series that features the heroine Lara Croft?” In my experience, over 90% will respond correctly “Tomb Raider,” but only a small percentage will be able to pronounce both words correctly based on their high-school and college education, even when solid and rigorous.
My other advice is to have handy, on your mobile device, while you play, the WordReference app, the interactive multi-language dictionary5
. Whenever you encounter a word that you do not know, look at the context. Are you able to give that word a plausible meaning based on that context? Then do, and move on. Are you totally stuck on that word, instead? Then pause the game, and take 30 seconds to look that word up. You will soon notice that your vocabulary is rapidly expanding, that quickly those new, previously unfamiliar words are becoming part of your vocabulary. That is because we remember 90% of what we do (Xunzi, Chinese philosopher, 3rd century A.C.).
If you are interested in receiving updates on Dr. Bregni’s research, workshops and teaching, check out his practices on LinkedIn, Academia.com pages and personal blog: simonebregni.com
To read his research, click here
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