MEITS is delighted to announce the launch of a suite of games about languages and multilingualism in the UK, showing that learning languages is fun and easier than you might think.
The game, which can be played online for free at worldoflanguages.co.uk, comprises nine activities that celebrate the world’s languages, how they borrow from one another but also feature unique, untranslatable words deeply tied to their culture.
However, the activities started out in a very different form. Before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, the MEITS research project designed and ran a pop-up museum of languages in four UK cities, with a series of different interactive exhibits for families and young people. With the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the University was able to turn the games into a series of online activities, making them available to a far wider audience.
Players can tackle the games at their own pace, unlocking stars as they progress through three zones. Along the way, fun facts will be discovered - over 50% of people in the world are multilingual! - and challenges laid down. What does the mysterious Welsh word “Hiraeth” really mean?
From secret agents protecting their countries to rock stars on tour and journalists hunting down their next story, languages play an important role in the professional sphere. These games show that whether you want to be a pilot or personal trainer, a scientist or sports star, learning another language will improve your chances of success. Speaking another language is also a great workout for the brain: research suggests that learning and practising another language may slow down the onset of dementia.
As young people move from primary to secondary school, this game shows that multilingualism is now the norm and learning a language offers them a route into some fascinating careers.
Professor Wendy Ayres-Bennett, Principal Investigator of MEITS, says: “The Pop-Up museum aimed to show the value - but also the pleasure - of language learning, especially to young people. When the pandemic prevented us from taking the material to new venues, we decided to reach new audiences through translating the material into online activities. Thought Den has a strong track record creating playful educational experiences. The games are fun to play and easy to dip in and out of. We really hope that young people are inspired to take up another language.”
Ben Templeton, Creative Director of Thought Den, said, “This collaboration taught us an awful lot about languages! Essentially we wanted to show how interesting and fun they can be. I would describe the project using two beautiful, untranslatable words from the game. Seny is a Catalan word about passing down wisdom and sisu is a Finnish word meaning gritty determination. It’s been a tricky year for everyone and hopefully this game offers some light-hearted inspiration.”