This is Why Games are Great for the English Language

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Anyone who has played online games for even a little while would have been exposed to the vast amount of communication involved in playing them, and the vast amount of colloquial, informal language that players use. For those of you that haven’t played these online games, you’ll just have to take my word for it – online games rely on communication.

From that notion, an interesting perspective comes out of the academic journal Recall. A research piece written by Mark Peterson finds that English as a second language learners that play online video games find it easier to wrap their heads around some of the more difficult aspects of learning a new language, such as “greetings, leave-takings, informal language, small talk and humour as a means to build rapport.”

It’s an interesting perspective to consider, and one that almost seems obvious when it’s been made apparent. A medium that relies on language to build rapport, and one to one communication to succeed, is bound to teach a non-english speaker a thing or two about the language.

With that in mind, hopefully new English speakers aren’t running around yelling ‘rekt’ to everyone they see.

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2 thoughts on “This is Why Games are Great for the English Language

  1. Games are great for folks learning English. They needn’t be online.

    Triple-A games with rich storytelling are better than, say, Angry Birds.

    A good example that comes to mind is the game LA Noire. In this game, you play a detective and you carry out an investigation in 1950s Los Angeles. Part of the game is to catch witnesses in a lie. You need good communication, language and observational skills to catch the murderer!

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    • You’re right, that is a great point. A close friend of mine spoke to me about his experience growing up in Australia being Polish, and he told me that he would often play video games to help him with his language ability. Cheers!

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