The role of online games in learning foreign languages

Wild, Scatter, Free Spins, Gamble… so many terms borrowed from English which are naturally found in the online games. Whether they are strategy games, adventure games or even educational games, all these terms are commonly used by players sometimes without knowing the exact meaning. But do you know that by playing online games, you learn English (most often) without knowing it?

Motivation for learners

Online games are naturally perceived as activities playful and pleasant arousing the interest and curiosity of learners. They offer challenges adapted to the level and needs of players, immediate rewards and constructive feedback. Players thus feel better involved and valued. They initiate a learning process that enhances their value.

The example of slot machines is very telling. These games use vocabulary exclusively in English. The table below gives you an idea of ​​some of the terms used:

Real Name of the reel that spins when the player clicks the button
Payline Matches the payline and allows you to accumulate winnings
Wild It is a joker, a symbol that can substitute for another to form a winning combination
Scatter This symbol triggers a win or special feature
Free spins These are the free spins to be won on a machine
Slot English name for a slot machine

Benefits of online games for language learning

The first consideration concerns language immersion. Online games of any type offer an immersive experience where players practice a language in a natural and engaging context. It is, according to specialists, the most effective method for stimulating the brain, strengthening motivation and promote memorization.

For online games, the advantages are even more present, including:

  • Contextualized learning allowing words and sentences to be linked to concrete situations encountered during the game
  • Greater motivation thanks to playful nature Game
  • A social interaction most important in multiplayer games
  • Wider flexibility since games are available at any time

Establish communication

What if online games promoted communication? It's not necessarily obvious at first glance, but for multiplayer MMORPG games, players are exposed to authentic and varied communication situations. To interact with others, they must speak the same language and understand technical terms to reuse them for the same purpose.

Each situation, each profession has a technical vocabulary to master so that integration goes smoothly. Speaking the same language allows you to engage in game actions more quickly and to to strengthen the ties around a community.

In this way, players develop comprehension and expression skills, vocabulary and even grammar when there is written communication. These same games offer the possibility of repeating and revising content in a recreational way, without even realizing it.

Stimulate creativity

By creating their own avatar, their own scenario, their own world, players stimulate their creativity and their autonomy. Games encourage initiative by allowing communication on multiple levels.

By solving problems, cooperating with other players, and managing time and resources, players become actors in their learning, capable of adapting to new and unforeseen situations.

Disadvantages of online games for language learning

Despite all the advantages for players, online gaming has some disadvantages. This is why learning a language cannot be done solely in this way, but must be supplemented by more in-depth study. What are the disadvantages for gamers of learning a language through gaming?

Content quality

Some games may contain linguistic errors that will be repeated. The brain is so well made that it will record the error for a long time. In addition, there may be a promotion of informal use of the language focused on very regional expressions or even crude vocabulary.

Too much reliance on visual cues can limit the development of listening and reading skills. Only allowing learning in a fun way can unbalance the educational aspect. It is important to find a fair balance between these two ways of learning.

And the future in all this?

The prospects for learning a language in online games are largely encouraging. Thanks to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality, players will discover new experiences more personalized and immersive.

Since 2021, game developers have sought to form educational partnerships with language experts to improve quality and efficiency games aimed at young audiences.

Effective tools, online games facilitate the learning of foreign languages ​​by offering a motivating approach combining pleasure, entertainment, education. They are a source of practice, creativity and autonomy for players who can progress in the target language while having fun.