using interactive fiction as language learning tool

(Joseph Gregor) #1

I plan to teach my eight-year-old son Latin, and I figured interactive fiction would be a good way to start. Are there any Latin games available? If I have to write them myself, what development tool should I choose? For clarity, I want both the input and the output to be in Latin.

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(Daniel Stelzer) #2

Unfortunately I don’t know of any existing ones. Inform 7 has good facilities for output and text manipulation, with the adaptive text framework (making it easier to have things like “Capis [the noun in accusative]” and “[The noun in nominative] capt[us est]”, which would automatically decline and conjugate for you). Inform 6 on the other hand makes it easier to understand input in different languages.

If you go with Inform 7, the first step would be overhauling the English parser to deal with noun cases. Replacing the verbs is straightforward (take -> capi, look -> ecce, examine -> vide), replacing the nouns less so. I have a few ideas for this, but will need to test them out first.

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#3

I think LLPSI Pars I would be a good way to start.

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#4

Nothing I’ve heard about.
There are some English games which significantly feature Latin words and phrases, though - Under, In Erebus (in which the Cyclops speaks Latin) and Mentula Macanus: Apocolocyntosis (which also has some Greek) come to mind, but both of them are not for an eight-year-old. Especially the later.

Please do. It would be interesting to see.

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(Skinny Mike) #5

I see sie sind von Zurich and I’m assuming you are a native German speaker. Ich wurde in Köln geboren, aber meine Deutsch ist sehr schlecht. (That’s if you couldn’t tell already.)

I think your best bet (in terms of the story) is to take a favorite piece of Latin literature and adapt it into a game. Even if you straight-up copy and paste the text it’s unlikely you’ll get sued by someone who’s been dead for at least a thousand years.

Your problem is going to be the parser. You might want to look at some of the foreign translation extensions (particularly the Romance languages) to help you. You could also design a game that only includes Latin descriptions and messages, but accepts English commands. Ob ich verstehen sie, das ist besser dann nichts. (Yeah, that one was horrible — sorry.)

Anyway — Glück,

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(Hanon Ondricek) #6

I would almost suggest Twine in this case, as you can build interactive lessons, and highlight words in the text to give definitions. Making the parser work correctly is sometimes a difficult feat in English.

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