It's no secret that learning a new language isn't always easy. The process is long and there are good days and bad days.
But did you know that language learners can make this journey much more fun with language games? Target language learning comes naturally when you’re having fun!
We will list 10 of the best language-learning games you can play with friends to speed up your language acquisition. Whether you prefer board games or more active fun, there’s something here for you.
But first, let's look at how you can learn a new language with a language-learning game and why we recommend this method.
Learning Languages with Games
When you're in the process of learning a new language, you'll find that you learn best when you are having fun.
Whether you're playing games or watching TV shows and movies in your target language, the positive emotions you feel when you're enjoying something activate the learning centers in your brain.
This means that you can focus on the new language with more brain power and learn new words more quickly.
So, language learners can pick up foreign languages with card games, board games, and games that don't require any materials at all.
Playing games in a different language is also great for natural exposure to new vocabulary in context. Similarly, watching foreign-language TV shows teaches learners useful vocabulary and when to use it.
If you'd like to watch fun and engaging TV shows and movies in your target language, check out Lingopie's streaming platform. This language-learning site helps learners develop their language skills by immersing them in high-quality streaming content featuring native speakers.
Now, let's look at some of the best language-learning games to play with friends.
10 Awesome Language Learning Games
This board game is a word game that can be played by two to four players. The board is divided into a 15x15 grid of squares.
Players must form words with letter tiles that read either left-to-right or top-down. Because this game involves creating words from individual letters, it is very good for vocabulary revision. When a player creates a word, it might even be new vocabulary to you.
Each word is worth a certain amount of points based on the letters used and their value (common letters are worth fewer points than letters that appear less frequently in the language).
Moreover, the squares on the edges of the game board are worth the most points. The player with the highest score at the end wins.
This is one of the best language-learning board games as it encourages players to dig deep in their bank of vocabulary and learners will almost always be exposed to new words.
2. Vocabulary Bingo
You can buy Bingo a pre-made board game or create your own version. To make vocabulary bingo yourself, you just need several sheets of paper and some pens.
If you want to learn Spanish, for instance, you can create bingo cards of whatever target language you're learning. This might be colors, items of clothing, or family members, for example.
One player has a list of the relevant vocabulary while the other players draw six pictures to represent this vocabulary on their bingo cards.
So, if it is colors, the players can mark six squares in different colors on their cards, or for clothing, they can draw six different items of clothing.
The player with the list then calls words at random and the other players check off pictures that represent these words on their cards. Matching words with images is a great way to reinforce meaning.
The first player to clear their cards in this matching game shouts "bingo!"
Charades is a word guessing game that involves physically acting out whole words or phrases, or acting out individual syllables.
Players use their body language and facial expressions to act out a vocabulary word, common phrase, or even a movie title - in your target language, of course!
This game requires at least two people but it's generally played in larger groups so two teams can be formed. Then, one at a time a player acts out a word for their team to guess in a limited time. Points are earned if their team gets the word in time.
The language component that you can only guess the words in a foreign language is key for learning. Play a few games so everyone has a turn.
4. Word Association
This is a great option if you are with friends but do not have access to any resources, such as pens, paper or even the internet! All you'll need is at least two players, and as many more, as you can find.
Word association is very simple. One player will say a word at random, usually a noun. Then, the next player must say a word that they associate with that word.
Continue in a circle until someone cannot think of a word fast enough, or says an unrelated word, at which point they are out (or they take a drink!).
This speaking game is perfect for revising vocabulary and developing listening comprehension.
5. Mad Libs
This game generally relies on a Mad Libs book or an app that provides pre-written sentences with blanks for players to fill in.
The players must call out random words to complete the sentences and are given prompts, such as "noun", "adverb" or "place".
For instance, a Mad Libs book might provide the sentence "____! (exclamation) He shouted ______ (adverb), as he got into his ____(noun) with his ____ (adjective) wife."
Mad Libs sentences often take on an absurd or comical nature, which is part of what makes the game so fun. It is also a great game for vocabulary skills and learning the different parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adverbs, and so on).
This is a very popular and fun game that only requires a pen and paper and a minimum of two people. In Hangman, one player comes up with a word or phrase and draws out a dash for each letter.
Then, the other player(s) guess which letters make up the word or phrase. For every letter guessed that isn't present, part of a stick man is drawn, hanging at the gallows.
The objective is to get the correct answer before the whole stick figure is drawn. Hangman is one of the best language-learning games that require minimal resources. It's good practice for forming words and sentences, spelling, and vocab acquisition.
7. Kloo Game
The Kloo card game was created to help learners form sentences and learn more vocabulary. The cards have to be played in a certain order, starting with a red card, to make a cohesive sentence.
From these cards, players can learn phrases, deepen their vocabulary and have fun in a group. This game was designed with kids in mind, but it is fun for all beginner learners.
Boggle is a beloved and classic game played by two to four players. 9 dice are placed in a 3x3 grid of squares and each shows a random letter. Players must create words from these letters, using each letter only once per word.
Words can be formed in any direction and diagonally, but all letters must be touching the next letter in some way. This is a physical game, and cannot be played without the dice.
Generally, 3 and 4-letter words are one point, 5-letter words are 2 and 6-letter words are 3 points. The person with the most points wins. Keep track of points and play the best of three games or more to see who the reigning champion of Boggle is!
Kahoot! is one of the most popular online games for learners in a classroom. Questions are displayed on the whiteboard and each player chooses the correct answer on their phone screen.
The questions can be related to learning grammar, building vocabulary, or even deepening cultural knowledge. For instance, a Kahoot! game might focus on verb conjugation and correct word endings.
Practice language skills in class with this popular language game. Classes can get highly competitive when Kahoot! is involved.
Finally, this is a super fun game that builds writing skills, improves sentence structure, and develops the acquisition of vocabulary words.
Each player has a piece of paper and writes a boy's name at the top. They then fold the paper so the name cannot be seen and pass it in a circle to the next player. They then write "meets" and a girl's name.
The paper is passed again and players write "at" and a location. This is repeated for "he said", "she said" and "the consequences were..." until each piece of paper tells a complete story in your target language.
If your friends use unknown words during the game, you can write these down and make them into flashcards. Then, you can all test one another on the new words.
Other Fun Ways to Learn A New Language
1. Watch a Movie With Subtitles
One of the joys of modern technology is that there is so much content online that is high-quality and useful for language learning.
Lingopie boasts awesome content in 8 different languages for learners to binge-watch and enjoy. The platform also offers dual subtitles, so you can watch with English and foreign-language subtitles.
By immersing yourself in content featuring native speakers, you will improve your listening comprehension, pronunciation, vocabulary acquisition, and familiarity with traditions, customs, and slang in other cultures.
2. Language Exchanges
Another fun way to develop your language skills is by finding a language exchange partner. This can be online or in-person.
A language exchange partner will talk with you in their mother tongue for an agreed-upon amount of time, and then you'll switch and speak in your native language for the same amount of time.
This means it is a mutually-beneficial agreement in which you both get to practice your target languages. This arrangement is more personal than language lessons and provides intensive and immersive exposure to a language.
It's a great and proven way to learn a new language and meet a new friend at the same time. The main benefits are exposure to slang and colloquialisms, listening and pronunciation practice, and the chance to have one-on-one instant feedback on your speaking.
3. Language-Learning Apps
Lastly, language-learning apps are great resources for learners who want to incorporate fun into their learning journey. These apps tend to focus on the acquisition of useful words and phrases for daily life and employ game-like methods and awards for the right answers to keep learners engaged.
Language learning apps tend to have a subscription fee, though some, such as Duolingo, offer a lot of content that is completely free. Some language apps, like Babbel, also come with quizzes and games.
Moreover, FluentU has a collection of themed decks of flashcards with specific vocabulary related to a useful topic.
Find the app that best suits your needs with this helpful guide to the 7 best language-learning apps.
FAQs: Language Learning Games
Are all games useful for language learning?
This list of 10 awesome language-learning games is not exhaustive. There are many other useful games for language learners including those found on language-learning apps and platforms, like Lingopie.
Remember, you can take any game that you love and simply play it in a foreign language for language practice.
Can you learn languages by playing games?
Yes, you can develop your language skills and acquire new useful vocab by playing a language-learning game.
You will develop your speaking skills by playing verbal word games in different languages, while the board game Scrabble will help you with spelling and
Consequences can help your writing skills. As long as all the players speak only in your target language, any of these games will help your listening skills, particularly Bingo.
What is the most fun language-learning game?
All of the above-listed language games are a lot of fun! If you love acting and moving about, Charades is perfect for you, whereas if you prefer more sedentary, technology-based games, Kahoot is your best friend.
Whatever your likes and skills, there's a game on this list that you'll love.
What is the fastest way to relearn a language?
The best way to relearn a language is immersion in the target language. You can achieve this by visiting a country in which the language is spoken, getting an exchange partner, or by playing great games with friends.
Just remember not to speak your mother tongue at all throughout the games!
Summing Up: Fun Games for Language Learners
And there you have it! This has been a simple guide to learning a new language with the best language-learning games.
From Mad Libs and Hangman to Kahoot, Kloo, and everything in between, you're now well equipped to take your language learning journey to the next level.
It doesn't matter whether you prefer a fast-paced board game or a relaxed, verbal game with friends, there's something here that suits you perfectly.
Any game that exposes you to language naturally is a great asset to your learning.
And remember, you learn best when you're having fun! Learners can also use language-learning apps, language exchange events, or foreign-language movies to develop their language skills.