Currently, there aren’t a lot of language learning software titles available for the DS, but as these types of “games” become more and more popular, this trend will change, and most likely will continue to spread to other game systems such as Sony’s PSP.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site, there are a huge number of Spanish electronic translators and dictionaries available for the iPhone and iPad, and this will automatically have a trickle down effect to systems like the Nintendo DS. In addition, the DS is used by a different demographic than systems like the iPhone, that demographic being younger students.
Well, last time I recalled, Spanish is still one of the most popular foreign language options in school, and if a Nintendo DS system helps a student learn Spanish in a fun and engaging way, both the student and his/her parents will be all for it.
My Spanish Coach
One of the most popular language learning software titles on the market right now for Nintendo DS (as well as the PSP) is called My Spanish Coach.
So what makes My Spanish Coach so popular among those learning Spanish? According to the creators of this language learning software, “Playing My Spanish Coach for 15 to 20 minutes a day is all you need to become fluent in Spanish.”
I wouldn’t go that far in proclaiming My Spanish Coach as all you need in order to become fluent in Spanish, but many people have used the software to enhance their foreign language capability, and the big reason is because it is a game.
Think about it. Actually, think back to your high school Spanish class. The only words I ever remember were the bad words that some fellow students taught me. For all the vocal lists and grammar tests, and comprehension quizzes that my teacher gave me, I learned nothing. The reason was that it wasn’t very fun. Rote memorization without any short-term reward to motivate me.
My Spanish Coach for the DS is different. The makers realized that people (especially kids) crave that instant feedback, and so they built that into the system. How it works is that when you first start up the game, you are presented with a 50-question test that quizzes you on your current Spanish ability.
After you current level is set, you then can’t advance to the next level until you master the current one you are working on. And not only do you get feedback to improve, but you can earn what are called “Master Points” by taking a timed multiple choice test after each lesson.
This Nintendo DS Spanish tutor also uses 8 mini games and different competitions to help motivate you learning Spanish.
What My Spanish Coach is NOT
Even thought the Nintendo DS Spanish tutor can be a very positive tool for Spanish language learners, there are some things that this language learning software is not meant for. Obviously, it is not a substitute for a Spanish class or having daily interaction with native speakers. In addition, while it is a great raw vocabulary learning tool, it isn’t very useful for learning grammatical constructions or other types of non-vocabulary information necessary to be able to speak Spanish.
My Spanish Coach is also not a full-fledged electronic Spanish translator. If you’re looking for a translator that has a large database of Spanish and English words, this software won’t give you what you need. For that you should check out some of the electronic Spanish translators on the market. This language learning software only has about 10,000 words in the game’s dictionary which isn’t hardly anything, especially when compared to electronic dictionaries with close to a million words.