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article imageNew language game teaches you 1,000 words in a few hours of play

By James Walker     Nov 4, 2016 in Technology
A new app claims to teach you 1,000 words in a foreign language in just a few hours. It uses a scientifically-proven method of rapidly delivering learning that's been recognised by UNESCO. The game bears little resemblance to a traditional language app.
Space Polyglot is based on an experiment completed in Bulgaria a few decades ago. Led by renowned Bulgarian scientist Dr. Georgi Lozanov, the study developed a subconscious technique that lets people memorize 1,000 foreign words and phrases in just a few hours. The astonishing results became the Suggestopedia learning method.
Suggestopedia was later analysed by UNESCO. In a report cited by Space Polyglot developer WitNut, UNESCO concluded that Suggestopedia is a "superior teaching method" when delivering foreign languages. It has seen little mainstream use in the years since though. There are plenty of language learning apps available, including ones integrating next-gen tech like bots. Suggestopedia isn't integrated into them though. Bulgarian startup WitNut hopes to change that with Space Polyglot.
Space Polyglot
Space Polyglot
WitNut
Space Polyglot is a mobile game that uses the psychological strategies introduced by Suggestopedia to rapidly teach foreign words and phrases. As the player, you travel around the solar system in a spaceship, eventually ending on Pluto. While playing, you don't need to actively think about learning languages. The subconscious brain processes the decisions that need to be made, making learning more effective.
The game's soundtrack consists of a selection of classical pieces that reinforce the new words and phrases. By the time you've reached Pluto, the app will have taught you around 1,000 of the most frequently used words in the language. This can be achieved after a few hours of playing.
"While there are many educational apps out there, Space Polyglot is different," said Nikolay Shindarov, co-creator of Space Polyglot. "Users fly to different planets while avoiding meteorite crashes, listening to Mozart and hitting words with their spaceship – all the while without making any effort to memorize anything. By the end of their journey to Pluto, they'll find they already know up to 1,000 foreign words and phrases."
Space Polyglot
Space Polyglot
WitNut
Space Polyglot isn't designed to completely replace traditional language apps. Instead, it's meant to overcome some of the challenges learners face when studying a language for the first time. Polyglots suggest the fastest way to become fluent is to speak the language, rather than "learn" it. This isn't feasible until a basic understanding is achieved though.
With Space Polyglot, it's possible to learn the most important words in a matter of hours. These can then be applied to conversations or other learning apps, creating a strong base to start from when digging deeper into the language. By gamifying language learning, Space Polyglot's developers also hope it can spread the appeal into schools, attracting children who would rather be playing video games.
"We believe that this simple game could lay the foundation for a whole new era of learning, one where education will be fun, effortless, fast and efficient," said Shindarov.
Space Polyglots
Space Polyglots
WitNut
The app is currently available in Spanish, German, French, Russian, Bulgarian and English. There are two game modes, "learn" and "challenge." When starting for the first time, players will need to select their native language, language to learn and choice of game mode. Learn delivers new phrases while Challenge provides a way to test knowledge later on.
Space Polyglot is currently seeking €5,000 in crowdfunding on Kickstarter to finance the completion of its development. With two weeks to go until the end of the campaign, the project has so far received half of its goal. Backers will be able to vote on the next languages to be added to the game and can also purchase an exclusive Space Polyglot card game. If funded, the app is expected to retail at $3-5 per language.
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