Storytelling has always been used to teach our youngest generations about the world they are about to grow into. Whether it’s one of Aesop’s fables showing us that slow and steady wins the race, or Maria Edgeworth’s parable The Purple Jar on the value of money, fiction has always been there to instil us with vital knowledge for our development as human beings.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that this same method of delivery is an extremely effective way of demonstrating the importance of language learning, and of providing the language-learning instruction itself.
How can I understand a story in another language?
No one could possibly expect you to pick up a book in a foreign language and read it from start to finish, miraculously understanding what you had read. (If you can do that, please get in touch!)
There are two great ways to help you understand stories (or parts of stories) in another language:
1) Comprehensible Input. This was one of linguist and professor Stephen Krashen’s five input hypotheses from his theory on second language acquisition.
According to Krashen, ‘The learner improves and progresses when he/she receives second language “input” that is one step beyond his/her current stage of linguistic competence. We can then define “Comprehensible Input” as the target language that the learner would not be able to produce but can still understand.’
We could take this a step further and use the learner’s native language as the existing language knowledge, adding words in the target language to the contextualised sentence.
Like Michel and his audio courses, Wibbu makes great use of cognates in our teaching of English to Spanish speakers and Spanish to English speakers.
What do you think the following sentences mean in Spanish?
Where can I find stories to help me learn another language?
Depending on your level, there are some great resources out there to help you learn.
A fantastic company called One Third Stories are currently developing storybooks for English-speaking children to learn Spanish and French. They are beautifully illustrated, and introduce the target language in a very friendly and easy way. They have audiobooks coming soon to add to their physical books.
Watching films in another language with subtitles is another very effective way to learn. If you’re patient enough, we recommend that you watch a film in your native language first, and then watch it again in the target language, with subtitles in your native language. If you can stomach a third viewing with target language audio and subtitles, then you deserve a gold star!
The websites ParallelText.io and Languages on the Web are great places to find parallel texts, with the former providing audio playback of the stories in the language you are learning. Parallel texts offer the story written in both your native language and the target language, with one on the left-hand side of the page or screen, and the other on the right-hand side.
What storytelling means to us
At Wibbu, we understand the power of storytelling and context in language learning. Which is why we’ve employed all of these immersive learning techniques with our new game RUBY REI. We believe that the key to motivating you to learn a new language is to entertain you. If we can immerse you in a story that evokes real feelings of joy, sadness, empathy, and excitement, we will have created something beautiful. All of this makes your process of learning a new language far easier.
This is why we have dedicated story writers and scriptwriters on our team, as well as an art team to bring RUBY REI alive. These passionate and creative maestros are working side-by-side with our linguists to craft the perfect language-learning experience.
If you wish to have exclusive early access to the Wibbu game, please get in touch!
By Dean Jacobs, CEO at Wibbu.