The team at the Culpeper Language Learning Center (Gustavus Adolphus College), along with volunteers from many different locations, are developing a series of free trivia games under the name of Major Trivia to help language learners develop linguistic and vocabulary knowledge in their language of study (the target language). The primary approach taken is to combine the benefits of game-based learning with the benefits of content-based learning. In content-based learning, the focus is primarily on interacting with the language in a specific content area, versus a primary focus on grammar, for example. A secondary benefit to the games is that they will also be helpful in developing useful knowledge related to the subject or subjects played.

In these games, learners will be able to interact with the target language in a number of different content areas. Currently there are about 50 categories planned. Examples of content areas include: History, Culinary Arts, Game Design, Latin American Studies, Computer Science Business, Religion, Linguistics, Environmental Studies and many more. In this process they will become more familiar with the vocabulary used in these specific subject areas, within their target language. The games are accessible to learners of any level, but may be most helpful for those at the intermediate-advanced levels.

We are trying to make the games available to a wide variety of learners, and therefore our current target languages include the following: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Yue/Cantonese) Dakota, Dutch, Fijian, Filipino, Esperanto, French, German, Greek (Modern), Greek Classical, Hawaiian, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Lakota, Maori, Marathi, Navajo, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Portuguese (European), Punjabi, Russian, Samoan, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tahitian, Tamil, Telugu, Tongan, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

These languages include the 20 most spoken languages in the world, commonly taught second languages, and a few special interest languages. We have just added Esperanto to the list!

In order to make this a reality we are looking for as many volunteer translators as possible to translate our English questions into any of the above-mentioned languages. Specifically, we need your help with translation into Esperanto! This will be a great tool to help learners develop their vocabulary in Esperanto, and is a good opportunity to work together on a unique project. If you are interested in helping translate into Esperanto, or any other language, please contact Jeremy A. Robinson, Director of the Culpeper Language Learning Center by filling out the volunteer form on the game website. (MajorTrivia.com)

You may also be interested in previous and upcoming professional opportunities to learn more about the project:

  • May 7, 2020: Culpeper Games: Video Games Teaching Languages and Cultures. Jeremy A. Robinson. IALLT Webinar (International Association for Language Learning Technology);
  • March, 2021: Target Language Vocabulary in Specific Content Areas with Major Trivia (Presentation). Jeremy A. Robinson; Nicole Cundiff; Kelsey Leppert; D. Melanie Kistnasamy. CSCTFL 2021 Convention. (Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages);
  • June, 2021: An Exploration of Culpeper Games (Showcase). Jeremy A. Robinson; Ingrid Kubisa; Reidun Kubisa; Unconfirmed others. CALICO Conference (Computer Assisted Language Instruction Consortium).

Please visit the development website, fill out the volunteer form, and if you have additional questions please contact Jeremy A. Robinson (jrobins3(at)gustavus.edu).

Jeremy A. Robinson, faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.

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