I’ve taken to playing this game called Where are your keys. It’s not so much a game like in “let’s see who wins this time”, but a game as in “let’s do this thing to have fun” – playing within some kind of structure.
The basic form of the game is very simple, and easily learnt: Copycat! One person is the game leader and presents the action through hand signs and sounds – the hand signs are either invented on the spot or borrowed from a suitable sign language. American Sign Language is one of the sources for the signs. The sounds are actual words in a language that the leader speaks fluently – at least on the topic. By copying signs and sounds, the other players start to pick up the language, and something crazy happens, and all of a sudden everyone can speak the language.
Along the way, players who know the game can employ various techniques that’ll accellerate learning.
I’ve been playing Japanese and Danish with a fellow I met on the Google group, and we’re having a blast. I’ll try to remember to document our progress here on the blog.
After two hours, Ben can identify four objects (red pen, black pen, rock and ball), and knows how to ask and answer questions to increase and confirm his knowledge. We’re currently working on fluency towards the goal conversation of have/want/give/take. This conversation has a lot of grammatical content, and is what is called the Universal Speed Curriculum.
Last time, we did a technique (TQ): No Pressure Refresher, where we went over the stuff he already knew before going into new territory. Then, I tried to go over definite nouns, but we had some difficulties, so I’ll have to think about a better setup. TQ: Setup is important in WAYK, because you want everything to be TQ: Obviously! – with the right setup, it is always obvious what you’re saying, especially if you add TQ: Bite-sized Pieces only.
Want to try? Give me a hollar on skype (arnesostack) or google+ (Arne Sostack), and I’ll see what we can do. I’m probably also looking to learn YOUR language.
Check out http://whereareyourkeys.org/ for an introduction from the inventor, Evan Gardner, or see some of the videos of people having a blast playing a silly game of copycat and sneaking a language into their brains at the same time.