Who doesn’t love playing games? Nobody!
If as kids, we had a chance to choose between playing games and studying algebra, over 90% would choose the former. The digital world has dipped our interest in classroom learning thereby diverting our interest into more interesting activities like video games, social media, Netflix, and more. It is human nature to want an easy life; academics, finance, language learning, you name it.
It’s no news that many Russian language learners find it difficult mastering its grammar, declension, vocabulary, and even the Cyrillic alphabet. With difficulty comes demotivation, and demotivation equals unwillingness to the language. So you might be wondering how you can stay motivated to learn Russian. The answer is to make your language learning process fun.
Fortunately, several Russian games are designed to help improve your fluency while you’re having fun. This article covers some recommended board and online games that have proven effective for learning Russian. Let’s begin!
“Study a foreign language if you have opportunity to do so. You may never be called to a land where that language is spoken, but the study will have given you a better understanding of your own tongue or of another tongue you may be asked to acquire.”
Gordon B. Hinckley
Benefits of Learning Russian Via Games
A couple of students have admitted to enjoying the calm atmosphere language games provide, as well as, the motivation and competitiveness it initiates. Also, many language learners have discouraged the use of rote learning methods and opted for the more productive option of using games. Here are some benefits of learning the language via games.
- Language games increase the motivation to learn
- They create realistic contexts for language use
- They require four linguistic skills: listening, writing, speaking, and reading
- They improve mutual intelligibility
- Above all, they’re non-conventional, fun, and increase retention.
In the U.S., there’s extensive use of games for education; approximately 170 million residents spent about $12 billion on playing video games for learning purposes. Here are other guides to learning other Russian aspects:
“When you grow up in a family of languages, you develop a kind of casual fluency, so that languages, though differently colored, all seem transparent to experience.”
Online Games Designed for Learning Russian
You might have to download a couple of gaming language apps because each one covers one area. For instance, one can be about learning numbers, another about colours, and the third about Russian grammar. Check out the following apps:
- Count to Ten: the international numbers game by BidBox teaches its users counting from one down to ten in your target language. Even though you’re only able to learn numbers, it’s very effective for beginners. While many Russian learners overlook mastering numbers, they are just as important as the Cyrillic alphabet. You can have multiple players compete against one another for points. “Count to Ten” is available in twenty-three languages.
- Digital dialects: this web-based language learning game seeks to improve your vocabulary. It’s free to play, all you need is a working device and internet access. While its website graphics isn’t the HD kind, you would be able to learn numbers, vocabulary, phrases, verb conjugation, spelling, and the alphabet in 70 different languages including Russian. This website offers great language learning value even though it’s free.
- Influent: as the name suggests, the video game is designed for those seeking fluency and native competence. Your job involves exploring the virtual world and retrieving Russian adjectives, verbs, and nouns. In the process, you’ll practise pronunciation, spelling, verb conjugation, and phrases.
- LanguageGain: this language learning website has a quite simple design layout that enables users to navigate it easily. The game provides different matching games that help players learn new words about food, greetings, clothing, and animals. There are also flashcard options for users to practice and warm-up before starting the game. But note that to play the games, Java must be enabled. You can learn the following languages: Chinese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish, Hindi, and Japanese.
- Russian for Free: this quiz-like language learning game is designed for beginners. It involves answering questions about kitchen objects, pets, clothing, buildings, body parts, and more. You’ll either be asked for the meaning of the Russian word or to translate an English word to Russian. You have a countdown clock for each question. It’s effective for improving vocabulary.
- LinGo Play: this free Russian online app is mainly designed for learners who have no time to attend regular Russian classes. You can play the game on your mobile phone; you can participate in tournaments and compete with other players globally, with prizes to be won. It’s available on the Apple Store and Google Play Store.
- Other websites that offer online games include RussianforEveryone, Duolingo, FluentU, and Babbel.
“Any time you think some other language is strange, remember that yours is just as strange, you’re just used to it.”
Online and Offline Russian Games for Kids
- Pictionary: this offline game is designed for kids and teenagers to improve spelling, pronunciation, and vocabulary. To play the game, start by selecting enough words, pen them in pieces of paper, and throw them into a bag. Once you’ve assembled everyone, have the participants paired up in twos, and hand each group a marker. Make each player pick a piece each from the bag and have them draw what’s written on the paper. Sounds and words are not allowed. Each group has to guess what the drawing represents in Russian. When you’ve exhausted the words, count each group’s point to ascertain the winner.
- DinoLingo: this visually stimulating fun game is designed for children who want to learn Russian. There are four high-quality game options you can choose from. It’s programmed to improve kids’ understanding of basic verbs, foods, animal names, and more. The Online Word Wheel is one of the four-game options and it focuses on practising shooting skills and animal names.
Learning Russian Using Board Games
Away from mobile and computer games, let’s take a look at the traditional board games that have been in existence before the internet age. Board games refine pronunciation, grammar, syntax, spelling, written comprehension, listening, and speaking skills. Playing language games remains one of the best ways to learn Russian.
- Erudite: this is a classic crossword Russian board game designed mainly for multiple players. The game can be played anywhere. The excitement begins when you rack up letters, select a good word, and hope to hit a triple-word score. The game includes a game guide, game board, and 131 letter tiles.
- Taboo: to play this game, write some words on cards, and ask each player to choose a card randomly. Then each player would describe the word without revealing the exact word or using synonyms. For instance, if the given word is “animal”, the player cannot use the following words “dog, vertebrate, mammal, lion” etc. The idea is for players to explain and describe things using other words; this is often the situation when you arrive in a foreign country and don’t know a specific word. The game triggers you to think rather than rely on a Russian dictionary, and it improves your vocabulary and grammar by making you speak long sentences and elaborating expressions.
“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.”
How to Learn Russian in Groups Using Games
- Spiderweb: you can learn to speak Russian by playing the Spiderweb game. To play the game, make the students form a circle and hand the first one a ball of wool. The student with the ball of wool would begin telling a story after which he’d throw it to a random player whilst holding one end of the wool. The next player then catches the ball and continues the story. At some point, he’d throw it to another player whilst holding the thread. The game would continue until someone is unable to hold the ball and then drops it. Whoever does would recount the entire story; the idea is that the players would have formed a spiderweb while playing the game. It’s a way to practise pronunciation, vocabulary, word retention, and grammar.
- Word Race: the game can be played with a pen and piece of paper or with a whiteboard. You would need an egg timer or stopwatch for it. You’re expected to choose a random topic and each player is expected to pen down every word related to the topic within the stipulated time. Misspelt or irrelevant words are removed. Have a Russian dictionary in place for credibility reasons.
You can also play video games that have Russian audio and English subtitle embedded in them. “Call of Duty” doesn’t fall under the category of language learning video games you can learn with. Learning a foreign language has never been this fun. Get started today!