Not long ago I decided to homeschool my boys. They have since returned to public school, but during our homeschool time we attempted to learn Spanish together. I took Spanish classes in high school and college, but have not used it over the years so have lost much of what I learned. I wanted the boys to pick up a 2nd language to help be more marketable and communicate with others. I saw these playing cards with language learning capabilities built in and thought it would be the perfect way for us to practice some new language skills.
Of course, these are not Spanish, so my limited language abilities worried me in teaching my kids German. I know how important it is to have the language modeled for you if you want to hear the inflection and intonation. It is difficult to learn how to properly pronounce a word if you do not hear it a few different times. And learning how to manipulate the language to conjugate verbs and such can be a challenge, too, until you become more confident in speaking, which is best done through immersion in the culture or with native speakers - all things we couldn't get from playing cards. But I was willing to give it a try and to see what we could learn from it.
This is the same size and feel as any normal playing cards. It looks great, better quality than some other cards I have gotten for the kids in the past. They have the same suits on them and are done the same as other cards - red and black. You even have your jokers in the pack. So even if you do not decide to use them as a language tool, you can always use them for playing cards.
But if you DO want to try out the language you have a fairly good tool to work with. Each card has the word or phrase in English and German, as well as the phonetic pronunciation to help guide you in saying it correctly. The phonetics are based on English (US) and if you have a solid understanding of phonics, you can figure out how to read the words.
The problem is you miss out on the intonation and inflection mentioned earlier. I highly recommend you listen to the words being spoken, too. Do a search for the phrase using google and then listen to the pronunciation through whatever you find. Sometimes you can find translators that simply use audio recordings you can listen to, other times you can watch videos where you hear the speaking and see the word formation by viewing the person speaking. Regardless, seeing and/or hearing are important aspects to learning the language, too.
All of that said, these are impressive playing cards. I do like these cards and think the boys are enjoying learning German words, but I don't see them teaching them the language. They are learning just the basics of the language, which is good for playing on their own, but not enough for them to be able to learn how to communicate with native speakers. I do think they are a great learning tool though and wouldn't hesitate to pick up additional sets in other languages to see which ones the boys enjoy using more.
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