10 Compelling Reasons to learn French

There are lots of good reasons to learn a second language and there are some special reasons to learn French. It’s a shame, therefore, that in the recent Rio Olympics French Officials tried hard to enforce the speaking of French because it’s a legacy of the Frenchman, Pierre de Coubertin, who founded the modern games. You cannot use rules to make people use a language – that’s the worst reason. You have to persuade them it’s worthwhile. Here I have collected 10 top reasons to learn French.

  1. French is a true global language. In Europe French is spoken in 6 countries: France, Switzerland (west), Belgium (south), Monaco, Andorra, Luxembourg (west). Worldwide French is spoken on 5 continents. There are 29 countries where French is an official language. In North America French is an official language of Canada.
  2. For English monolinguals, French is one of the easiest languages to learn because of its Latin base which English  shares. French was also, for a few centuries following William the Conqueror’s invasion of England in 1066, the official language of the English royal courts (court is a French word!). Most studies have French in the top 5 of easiest languages to learn. It’s even easier to learn using award winning French language games that help learners learn fast.
  3. English shares many words with French. Indeed French is considered to be the biggest influence on  English with up to 30% of English words stemming from French origin.
  4. France is a drop dead gorgeous country…and the biggest tourist destination in the world. 84 million tourists arrive there every year…that’s more than the USA that lies in second place.
  5. The French people appreciate you speaking French – more so than other countries. (I have learned Italian and the Italians don’t give 2 figs whether you speak Italian or not). The French, on the other hand, are protective of their language (perhaps overly so) – so when you make an effort you are rewarded – usually with a smile and a willingness to help. Don’t just learn “Parlez-vous Anglais?” for your French trip – make an effort.
  6. It sounds cool – really cool. Without doubt one of the most beautiful languages to listen to…we all fall in love with a French accent, do we not? And listen to this cool pop song Ca plane our moi .
  7. It’s good for your career. Fluency in French looks good on your cv…France itself is one of the world’s top economies. Many studies have shown that a second language will boost your earnings.
  8. France and French History, culture, romance, literature help us understand our place in the world. If we see the world through French eyes, we understand it better.
  9. Fantastic support for learning French worldwide. See Alliance Française to find how to get started. The materials for learning French are superb to. If you are a beginner check out French games such as KLOO’s Race to Paris. You’ll learn hundreds of words and be able to make millions of sentences very quickly (yes millions).
  10. To cap it off – it’s good for your mental health. OK, it’s not strictly a “learning French” thing – just a general benefit of language learning. But the idea of staving off dementia in later life while accruing all these other benefits has to make it worthwhile.
Family French Board Game of KLOO

Learning French together

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How 70 words make into 7 million sentences

How to quickly learn a language using word groups!

Using words groups to learn a language

Einstein said compound growth was the most powerful force

Einstein once observed “Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.” He was referring to how growth on growth produces astonishing results and is used by investors to grow their money piles.

However, not many people realise that the same principles can be applied to language learning. Indeed, by carefully selecting the words you learn into words groups, then your ability to speak another language will also be exponential. You will be putting to use the same forces that Einstein wonders at.

Let’s say we wanted to learn 60 words. If we learned 60 nouns, how many sentences could we make?

None.

Nouns don’t work together to make a sentence. That’s why its best too work in word groups.

OK let’s try this differently…let’s start with a pronoun and a verb. Let’s start with

I see

2 words 1 sentence

Now if we add say 20 nouns (let’s base this around people – so eg I see the teacher, I see the police officer) now how many sentences can we say? 21 (the original sentence, “I see”, and 20 new ones).

Now what if we were to learn another conjugation of the verb to see – eg we see? We double the number of sentences to 44 (I see the police officer, we see the police officer). Now we begin to see how our ability to speak a foreign language can grow exponentially, if we carefully continue to select words that work with each other.

Let’s say we have:

  • 20 verbs (eg I meet, we meet, I know, we know)
  • 20 nouns (eg the teacher, the doctor, the plumber, the policeman)
  • 7 adjectives (eg kind, clever, funny)
  • 4 connectives (eg and, as well as, with, alongside)
  • 4 expressions (eg It’s true! On the contrary!)

Mathematically, this is what happens:

Simple sentences with just the verb (eg I see, I know etc)

20 x 1 = Total: 20      Running Total 20

Verbs + nouns (I see the police officer).

20 x 20 = 400     Running Total 420

Verbs + nouns + adjectives (I see the clever doctor)

20 x 20 x 7 = 2800      Running Total 3220

Verbs + nouns + connective + noun (I know the doctor and the nurse)

20 x 20 x 20 = 8,000     Running Total 11,200

Verbs + nouns + adjective + connective + noun (I meet the clever plumber and the electrician)

20 x 20 x 7 x 20 = 56,000      Running Total = 67,200

Verbs + nouns + adjective + connective + noun + adjective (I watch the kind teacher and the funny boy)

20 x 20 x 7 x 20 x 7 = 392,000      Running Total = 459,200

Add three more connectives (eg I watch the kind teacher alongside the funny boy)

20 x 20 x 3 x 20 = 24,000 plus

20 x 20 x 7 x 3 x 20 = 168,000 plus

20 x 20 x 7 x 3 x 20 x 7 = 1,176,000

Running Total 1,827,200

What if we were to learn a few expressions (eg It’s true, I see the funny boy / On the contrary I see the funny boy)

We can qualify every sentence we have made with these expressions…so now we can have

4 x 1,827,200 = 7,308,800

That’s over 7 million sentences from about 60 words. That is why Einstein said such growth is the most powerful force in nature…and YOU CAN harness it.

It’s for this reason that KLOO builds its decks of cards around word grouping. Indeed the examples above all come from our Deck 1’s in French, Italian and Spanish which are all about People. Our other decks cover “Eating and Drinking”, “Places” and “Everyday Objects”.

The beauty of KLOO is that you can instantly build sentences just like the ones above by following KLOO’s unique colour coding system. You also learn words as you play using discovery learning. See how it works and check out our ranges.

KLOO is the UK’s No 1 Best Selling Foreign Language Game.

See how easy it is to make millions of sentences with KLOO cards here:

Posted in Build Vocabulary, Educational Games, language games, Language Learning | 1 Comment

Video Game v Board Game – how board games fought back

35 years ago I played Binatone Tennis…now look at what I play

Virtual games v Board Games

A ground breaking game in its day

One day my father came back with the latest in screen game technology…an amazing game that could plug into your television and allowed you to play tennis – Binatone Tennis. The screen became blank with a line down the middle…and then each player had a small bat that consisted of a line like this |. You could move the bat up and down to hit a ball which looked like a full stop…..we played for hours and we thought it was amazing and brilliant.

By today’s standards of course it was prehistoric. How could something so basic be so gripping…so entertaining?

It was new! We hadn’t seen the like of this type of game before. Now each generation of new game ups the ante. Today, we have insanely intelligent and responsive games that even blur the difference between virtual reality and just plain old reality.

Here’s the weird thing though…board games are making a comeback

People still like board games

Board Game cafes have sprung up

For a long time board games were in decline. It seemed that “The Video Game killed the Board Game Star”….except it didn’t. Board games have more than bounced back. In 2009 board game sales started to rise again – and have been doing so every year since. In recent years, board game cafe’s have sprung up (who could have guessed that?). In Essen, Germany, there is a board game convention which attracts 160,000 visitors in 4 days. Meanwhile, on game forums, gamers are saying that they prefer board games. A recent contributor discussed how he has recently returned to board games saying: “Somehow board games have something “special”. A thematic boardgame feels like reading an interactive book where you can be a part of the story.”

As a games designer I have sensed some of this move back to board games. Parents and teachers are embracing real games again – turning away from screens. One teacher stated on facebook that her students “Beg to play KLOO”. Those are strong words and indicate a a strong desire above the norm…but why?

I think its two things.

Firstly, board games are the new new. When I played Binatone tennis 35 years ago it was new…board games were old hat. Now we have reached screen time saturation and the new entertainment system is in fact board games…it’s now novel and interactive and fun. The new generations love them.

Then there’s something else though which will I think will stand it in good stead – for ever really. Board games are more social, more friendly and in a human sense more intimate. You sit across from one another, you get to see each others facial expressions, you have eye to eye contact. It’s more personal…..and real! And more enjoyable for all that.

Long live the board game.

Our board game KLOO won ToyTalk’s Best Board Game of the Year…we’re very proud of that. And you get to learn languages too as you play. We’ve never been really tempted to turn it into a video game though. My instinct is (and I could be wrong) is that learning a language is a social game and it’s best suited to playing with each other around a board.

Here’s our best selling Race to Paris game board. There are, even if we say it ourselves, some clever language learning principles inside the game. Teachers and parents and indeed self learners are appreciating that games can be used to educate while having fun…so it never feels like work.

Learn French Board Game

Turning Learning French into a Game – KLOO’s Race to Paris

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The many surprising benefits of playing board games

WHAT CAN THE HUMBLE BOARD GAME DO FOR ME?

Those old board games are sooo last century right?

Learn French Game for adults

Adults learn French by playing KLOO’s Race to Paris Board Game

Well no, they’re really not. Board games bring lots of benefits that on-line games and screen games just can’t. And some of those benefits are really quite surprising.

At KLOO, we make language games to help people learn a second language as they play. The game is increasingly being adopted by schools and the feedback from young students is fascinating. Teachers are often taken aback by the enthusiasm a board game can have on a generation that is used to smart phones, video-on-demand and touch screen technology. Surely a lowly board game involving moving plastic cars around a game board isn’t going to cut it? Again, no. They love it…..I mean really love it. These are just a few genuine quotes from teachers:

“My students beg to play KLOO” MFL Teacher, Canada

“Much laughter was heard, disturbing my head of department who congratulated me on making French so much fun” French Teacher, UK

“I’ll often say to my students, “What would you like to do?” and 9 times out of 10, the answer is KLOO!! Students love it” MFL Teacher, UK

Naturally we are pleased to hear this and it is flattering. But I would suggest that the format of board games in general bring added benefits which stir up enthusiasm.

Learning to Speak Spanish without embarrassment

Play and learn together though board games

They’re Social: Board games help people to interact, socialise and have fun. Fluctuating fortunes and competing for bragging rights keep people engaged and on their toes, looking for ways to win and outwit opponents. In our KLOO games, players have to learn words and build sentences to power little motor cars.

Suddenly, building vocabulary doesn’t sound so boring!

Breaks down barriers: Another aspect of board games is that they break down barriers and give people lots to talk about…often people will relax and start to tease and joke with

Family Board Game of KLOO

Board games bring families together

one another. People who are absolute strangers can quickly become comfortable with each other because they are, after all, just playing. For learning a language this aspect of board games is terrific, Many teachers tell me about how many adult learners can be very self conscious of speaking a second language out loud for fear of mispronouncing. When playing KLOO, however, they quickly forget their inhibitions and start making sentences and talking out loud within a few minutes.

Family board games

Family board games

Hands on reality: With board games it’s away from screens with their distracting alerts. Instead it’s hands-on, tactile and fun and totally absorbing. You enter a different world. Moving the dog or hat around a Monopoly game board feels good. Twisting real cards feels good. The virtual world is great too….but the real thing is better.

Motivating: When you can see the people you are competing against (not an avatar) – it becomes very motivating. You want to do well because honour is at stake. Whenever I play chess on-line I am never that bothered about losing to some faceless opponent. When I play opposite a real person, however, I am much more focused on winning. With KLOO too, people up their game, learn more words, build longer sentences, because they want to win. Board games are brilliant at tapping into our competitive instincts.

KLOO language game

Schools use KLOO Board Games

Child development: One of the great aspects of playing board games is that we learn on multiple levels. This is especially beneficial to children who learn key skills such as the principles of cause and effect; social skills and how to behave; spatial awareness; critical thinking and the ability to focus for longer. The latter point is hugely important with attention spans are in decline as we get hit by so many messages in our everyday lives.

Board Games are good for mental health

Board Games help fight dementia

Mental Health benefits: Research conducted in France and reported in the British Medical Journal (thank you for sharing) on the impact of board games on mental health shows that regular playing of board games helped reduce the incidence of dementia as well as reduce risks of depression. The report stated: “playing board games could be a particularly relevant way to preserve cognition and to prevent cognitive decline or dementia.” Interestingly they also stated: “Other stimulating leisure activities like reading, travelling, gardening, doing odd jobs or playing sports do not offer the same advantages and ease of practice.” That’s pretty compelling! Go Board Games!

A humble board game has a place in this century – and probably every century. Play that game, have fun and get a load of benefits thrown in.

Board Game of the Year

KLOO – BEST BOARD OR CARD GAME

If you are interested in learning a language while playing a language, we suggest you take a look at KLOO. We are a multi-award winning game. You can play Race to Madrid to learn Spanish and Race to Paris to learn French. It has actually won many awards including Toytalk’s Best Board and Card Game of the Year and the Academic’s Choice Award for educational value. That basically means you’ll have a lot of fun learning a language.

You can check out our range of board games below. Have fun!

KLOO Learn French GamesLearn Italian GamesTEFL Games for teaching English

KLOO Learn Spanish Language Games

 

Learn French with KLOO board games

A KLOO Board game for learning French

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Helping your child learn a language – when you’re not fluent yourself

You can teach your child a languageParents often want to help their children learn a second language. And with good reason. Apart from the academic achievement and career benefits a language brings, a second language is good for your mental health. Health research shows that people learning a second language can stave off the onset of dementia by up to four years. That’s a big deal. Four years’ delay is far more effective than any drugs around today. The current theory is that a second language causes the brain to create more connections between the cells…and that in turn makes the brain more resilient to mental health issues.

That’s great News! But how do I help my child learn a second language when I cannot speak a second language myself?

How best to teach children a languageMore good news…you don’t have to be fluent – or even that competent! Research highlighted by Professors King and Mackey in the Bilingual Edge has shown that learning with your child is in fact more effective than your child learning on their own with most language materials (including exercise books, videos, language toys etc). Don’t let not knowing a language stop you helping your child!

Do they say that good news comes in threes? (Or is that bad news? Today it’s definitely good news!)

language games for kidsThe third bit of good news is that there is a  language game that parents and children love to play – and as they play – they learn a language. It’s a great resource for parents who aren’t themselves fluent but want to help their children. It’s also a multi-award winning game that’s fun. Learning a language has never been this easy.

Watch the video below to find out how easy it is to start learning a language with your child.

Here are 5 Great Ways to study Spanish this Summer from our friends at Take Lessons. It’s worth visiting their blog if you’re looking for ideas. Have fun.

5 Ways to Practice Spanish This Summer

Help your child to revise for a language

Best way to teach a child a language

The importance of a language for a child

Posted in bilingual, board games, children, language games, mfl games, mfl resources | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Helping your Child to Revise a Language

Getting your child to revise for Language Exams

1-Mum points out

Parents are making language fun!

Languages are not easy…but it’s because they’re not easy that they are so well respected academically. It has been shown that children who have a reasonable level of competence in a second language enjoy many benefits including improved mental health, better lifestyles and higher career income.

Good luck in persuading a child of this!

This is the perspective of an adult. Kids can see learning languages very differently…for many it’s a drag, boring, too difficult, unnecessary. And when these attitudes set they are hard to dislodge.

Unless, Unless…

Unless of course you can change learning a language from being:

Hard to Easy; Boring to Fun; Slow to Fast!

Thousands of Parents and Schools are discovering the power of a language game to change child perceptions and get results. Whether you just want to motivate your child or indeed if your child is coming up to exams KLOO can make a difference:

 

More Information

KLOO Games for Kids

What’s the best way to teach children a language?

Language Myths

Proven Best Way to Learn New Words in a Foreign Language

Shopping Links:

UK Parents can find best priced KLOO games at: www.kloogames.com

USA and Canada Parents go to: Amazon.com/kloogames

Posted in children, kids games, language games, Language Learning, mfl games, mfl resources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Research on how Games improve Language Learning in Class

A Study of The Power of Games to Motivate Learners

Languages Teachers need good language resources

Teaching languages is no easy task

We have a lot of empathy with language teachers. MFL is, without doubt, a difficult subject to teach – more difficult than most.

Teachers need to somehow motivate students to learn lots of data (words) which are also annoyingly fiddly and work to some arcane grammatical rules.

That would be OK if every student in the class was a model student and prepared to knuckle under…but that’s not the universe we live in. In reality many students tune out as soon as the tough stuff comes long. And if consecutive classes become difficult they can switch off from the subject altogether. Many teachers will admit they have some zoned out students in their classes.

From Bored Beings to Keen Beans

If students have switched off then teaching is very unrewarding  as the efforts of teachers fall on deaf ears. The only hope is to somehow switch them back on, get them enthused, wake them up! Four separate sources suggest that one of the very best ways to do this is through games.

RESEARCH 1 from the ASCD (The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), Haystead, M. W., & Marzano, R. J. (2009). Meta-Analytic Synthesis of Studies Conducted at Marzano Research Laboratory on Instructional Strategies.

This was a huge piece of research involving the impact of games on games on student performance As part of the study used a variety of language and vocabulary games. The outcomes were impressive. This ASCD Research shows that games on average improve academic performance by 20% – that’s a huge lift – and that’s from just an average game. Really good games will do a lot more. Perhaps some of that uplift is from students being more alert and focused. But it really doesn’t matter why – games just work and you should put them to work for you. (To see the actual paper go here).

RESEARCH 2: Games in Foreign Language Classrooms at SIT Graduate Institute, January 2010

(Part of the Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education Commons, Curriculum and Instruction Commons, and the Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Commons)

There is a paper written about the affect of Games in Foreign Language Classrooms by Amy Talak-Kiryk, at the SIT Graduate Institute which is useful for deeper insight. She was a Spanish Teacher and very interestingly this is the opening line of her thesis. Do you recognise this?

” I taught Spanish the way I learned it, using the audio lingual and grammar translation methods. As a result, the students would use their hands to prop up their heads while looking utterly bored in class. Only a few students were participating regularly, and those same few were the only ones who really knew what they were doing. “

It’s well worth reading what happened and the journey she went on to enthuse her class. Suffice to say she turned it round with games.

RESEARCH 3 Washington Post and A 2007 study by Carnegie Mellon University on board gaames

Games can help kick start interest in languages

Games can help kick start interest in languages

The Washington Post ran a terrific article titled: Board Games help reinforce lessons in the classroom. The opening paragraph sums it up:

“Disconnect the Xbox, uninstall the computer game software and close the laptop. You want your child to have fun but learn at the same time, at a fraction of the cost? Play a board game, experts say.”

Check out the article but the message is clear….except I would go a stage further. Take the board game into the classroom. They refer to a very thorough 2007 study by Carnegie Mellon University which showed players reaped performance leaps from playing board games as simple as Snakes and Ladders.

Further Source: The Bilingual Edge by Language Professors King and Mackey

When it comes to language learning, this hypothesis is reinforced in a great Book called the Bilingual Edge by Language Professors King and Mackey. In this book they recommend teachers and learners avoid screen learning. It is very illuminating. This kis what they say about language learnining Do’s and Don’t’s:

“to be effective, language learning exposure must be with a real human being not a DVD, television program, computer game, or talking toy. These edutainment devices, while extremely well marketed and popular with parents and some children, cannot substitute for a real person and real interaction…..focusing more on making language learning a positive, fun, interactive and engaging process.”

They go onto to say games are one of the very best ways to learn. We recommend reading it.

The Game that Teachers Recommend for Language Learning

KLOO language game

Schools are loving KLOO

Thousands of schools around the world have been introducing KLOO into the classroom with dramatic effect. We are always very grateful for the endorsements we receive from teachers – for us it is the ultimate proofing of our game.

We share a few of their comments.

I’ll often say to my students, “What would you like to do? Reading, a song, noughts and crosses, hangman, KLOO?” And 9 times out of 10, the answer is KLOO!!” Lindsay D, MFL Teacher

“At first I thought KLOO was just another game. Then I realised this was different. It’s fun, it’s intuitive and, more importantly, it works. It’s a wonderful way to learn a language.” Jack Lonergan, Professor of Language

“I bought a couple of sets of KLOO at the Language Show and the language assistant plays it with the students, all ages and abilities. They absolutely love it!” Dulce F, Spanish Teacher

“This game is without a doubt the best Language learning game I’ve ever used as a Teacher of Languages – we’ve got a whole cupboard full of more expensive alternatives that fail to deliver what this game does in bundles; fun and learning at the same time.” Angela Azzopardi, Spanish Teacher

Watch this Video of how to play Classic KLOO in French. Check Out how students are: learning words; making sentences, and speaking out loud. That’s language!

ABOUT THE VIDEO

Award winning learn French Games at http://kloogame.com

To buy Learn French “Race to Paris” Board Game visit: http://kloogames.com/products/kloo-le…

KLOO is the award winning card game that teaches you how to speak French as you play. In this video we show how to play Classic KLOO – a game in which you make French sentences and learn French words to score points. KLOO provides fun and educational games for learning languages.With each deck of KLOO cards you can play lots of language games (see our other videos). Ideal for studying French or Spanish or as MFL resources for use on courses and in lessons or use at home as French Games for kids. KLOO is the fun way to learn how to speak French!

Buy French KLOO Games at http://kloogames.com

00:26 Ideal game for learning French for adults and children
00:36 The aim of the game
00:43 Making French sentences is easy
00:46 How to start a French sentence with KLOO cards
01:04 Look at coloured arrows to know what card to play next
01:25 How to score a Classic game of French KLOO
01:49 How to treat an untranslated French word
02:05 All French words are translated by the end
02:09 What to do after your turn
02:15 Next player’s turn

TRANSCRIPT

How to play Classic KLOO. KLOO is the fun card game that teaches you French as you play. The game is very easy to play and ideal for adults and children. To start a game of Classic KLOO, start by dealing seven cards to each player. The aim is to score points by creating sentences and translating French words. Making a sentence and learning a new language in KLOO is really easy.
Here’s how. Always start your sentence by playing a red card first. If you weren’t dealt a red card and don’t have one to start, you can play one card, just one, of any color.

Once you’ve played the first red card, all you need to do is look at the colored arrow and play a card of the same color next. Now you can play a yellow or green card, we’ve chosen yellow. Now a green card. Now a blue. Don’t forget, you cannot finish on a double arrow card, so make sure you can play the next one.

You score points in KLOO as you play your cards. You score one point for every card you play. And you also get points for every French word you can translate. If you don’t know a French word, remember to look at the bottom of the other cards for clues. If you still can’t translate a word, keep it in a separate pile for everyone to see, and the next person to translate it on their turn gets an extra three points. All of the other cards go into a word bank. This way, all the cards will be translated by the end of KLOO.

When you’ve finished your turn, pick up cards from the pile to take your hand back to seven. And it’s on to the next player. That’s it. You can score with a pen and paper, or use the KLOO board to spice things up.

Posted in board games, kids games, language games, Language Learning, mfl games, mfl resources, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment