The Linguist

The Linguist 60,3 - June/July 2021

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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16 The Linguist Vol/60 No/3 2021 FEATURES LINGUISTIC ADVANTAGE Gameplay from Deponia (above); and a gamer plays League of Legends (right), both useful for language learners Is gaming really a waste of time or could it be one of our greatest aids to language learning? Reza Shirmarz investigates G ames have always been an efficient way to master new kinaesthetic and linguistic skills, especially for our youngsters. Computers and digital technology have not only revolutionised education systems, but also provided young people with new forms of learning and learning environments that are engaging and fun. As child psychiatrist David Shaffer noted, "games can bring together ways of knowing, ways of doing, ways of being, and ways of caring." 1 It took a couple of decades, and substantial technological, cinematic and computer graphic advancements, for gaming to transform from video games made of simple moving objects into an extremely complicated interactive and audiovisual phenomenon. Today, games are considered to be a means of cultural communication and social interaction that can boost the collaboration skills and technological abilities of gamers. English is now the main language used in most internationally promoted games. Film, theatre and TV have long been used as supplementary resources for learning languages, especially English, but in recent years, gaming has surpassed them in terms of helping young learners of English, particularly in vocabulary and pronunciation. This might also be the result of a remarkable increase in gaming participants over a very short period. From 2016 to 2019, the number of gamers worldwide increased by nearly 40% from 609 million to 850 million, according to Statista. In addition, the time gamers allocate to gaming seems to be much greater than the time movie fans spend watching films. This means gamers are more exposed to the English language. Many ed tech companies have capitalised on this, applying the artistic and graphic tools of gaming (which itself borrows heavily from cinema, theatre and music) to create more pleasurable learning environments. The popular language-learning games Fluent, Professor Garfield, Bubbles, Fable, Deponia and Firewatch are good examples. Evidence is emerging that the impact of gaming on English language learning differs around the world. Research from Vilnius University, Lithuania showed that the majority Gaming to success

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