Gaming with natives of your target language

Hey LingQers,

I had a cool experience about a year and a half ago that I wanted to share with you guys and see if anyone else has done the same thing.

A little background info: I’ve been interested in Mandarin for four years now but have only been actively studying for the last five months. However, I knew a little bit before I started this period of actively studying because I lived in Taiwan for four months back in 2017.

With that background, here’s my little story:

I was quite obsessed with PUBG back when it was more popular than Fortnite (feels like an eternity ago lol), and back in the day Chinese people would flood the North American servers because they had no servers of their own. I am not sure if this has changed now, but that was the case back then.

One day, I was playing PUBG and instead of going solo or playing with friends I decided to do a duo round with a randomly paired teammate. I was paired with a Chinese player, and I actually got over my fear of speaking in that moment and tried my best to speak what I could when we were in the lobby together.

But, as is a classic issue when speaking Chinese: oftentimes if you speak even just a little, the native thinks you are completely fluent.

What ensued was him flooding me with way more Mandarin than I could actually understand. We were dropped into the game and we were off to the races, me trying my best to stay alive and understand this guy. Despite him flooding me with way more than I understood, I could pick apart some words here and there, which was actually quite helpful.

In the end, he was trying to tell me what direction our enemy was in, and I got the words for east and west mixed up, so we both died. We made it to about fifty people remaining which isn’t completely terrible.

I felt bad because my Mandarin wasn’t good enough, but I also felt proud that I’d tried to speak and had fun with someone who I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to connect with at all.

Now that I’m looking to get back into speaking Mandarin again soon, I have been thinking a tonne about that game that I played and the possibility of getting back into PUBG to practise my Mandarin speaking skills lol.

So, does anyone else have any gaming stories in their target language? Could even be a board game story if that’s what you’re into :slight_smile:

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Edwin, completely 100% agree. This is a great language learning strategy that I have utilized for my German as well. I think to really get the most out of it you need to be at least at a roughly intermediate level because otherwise things are just way to overwhelming. However, video games as a tool for language learning is excellent at intermediate and above. For solo experiences, RPGs or story based experiences are simply the best but the multiplayer element of communication is excellent as well.

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