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The Word Finder Game

A Introduction to the Word Finder Game

B Generate Associations in Your Native Language

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Your performance in the word finder game relies on three things: (1) the inventory of words you already know in the language, (2) your ability to use those words to generate a meaningful association, and and (3) the speed with which you can come up with those associations. To improve your overall performance, we can focus just on point (2), and practice your general ability to make meaningful associations, without the challenge of doing so fast in the target language. Reflecting on your existing story stax and past conversations, come up with ten new words that would be useful for you to know for your personal life, then write them down in your native language. Then for each word, identify a relevant super-category, sub-category, and opposite (where applicable). For example, for the word "dog" you might write "animal, chihuahua, cat" Then, write three sentences that contextually point to the word. For example, "the animal that barks, man's best friend, cousin of the wolf." Try to make the sentences as different from one another as possible, so you can access a wider space of association. Pay attention to the way your mind solves this puzzle, then when you're done, share everything you wrote to the #meaning channel, along with a brief writeup of what you learned from the experience. Then be sure to read other student's posts to get more ideas on how to do this.

C Generate Associations in Your Target Language

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You're going to repeat the exact same exercise as before, except this time you are going to limit yourself to the words you already know in your target language. This of course will be more challenging, since you have a way smaller inventory of vocabulary to associate to the word in question. Review the categories and contexts you wrote in your native language. For some of them, you will know enough of the key vocabulary to convey the meaning, even if ungrammatically. For these, rewrite the sentence in your target using the words you already know (don't worry about spelling either, can use IPA if you need). For the sentences you can't do this for, try to associate to the word from a different path, using the words you do know in the language. Be patient and really put in the effort to find an association - if you work hard enough, you can usually find a path, even if it's a long and strange one. It doesn't need to be precise, it just needs to be close enough for the hypothetical listener to be able to connect the dots. If you still can't make a path, supplement the sentence with a mime gesture written in square brackets. For example, if you don't know the word for "bark", you would write "The animal that says [bark like dog]" If you already knew enough words to do all your sentences, repeat the activity in your target language with 5 new words. Again, pay attention to the strategies your mind comes up with to solve these puzzles. That way you can remember to use them playing the word-finder game in real life. When you're done, post your work to the #meaning channel along with a brief reflection on the experience.

D Practice associating random words in the moment

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Now that you've got some practice associating words in a setting where you have time to think, now you're going to practice doing it in the moment. Go to this random word generator site, and click to see a word on the screen. Now imagine you are mid telling a story in your target language, and you want to use this word, but you don't know how to say it. So you play the word finder game, and try to create an association to it that the listener might be able to understand what you mean. Once you're satisfied with your association, move on to the next work. Once you feel you've practiced enough, record yourself attempting 5 different words, then share your recording to the #meaning channel, along with a reflection on how you found the experience.

F Play the Word Finder Game in Real Life

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For each of the conversations you have this week, set an intention to play this word-finder game at least three times successfully. Remember to fully win the game, you have to do the following: 1) Ask your partner for the word 2) Associate well enough for him/her to know what you're referring to 3) Mimic the word enough times to really get clear in your mouth 4) Integrate it back into the story you were telling 5) Reuse it at least one more time (and preferably) more in the conversation As simple as this game sounds on paper, you will run into various social and psychological obstacles when attempting to play it. When obstacles do arise, notice the occurrence, reflect on it in your game report, and try to prepare something to deal with that obstacle for the next conversation, setting that as your intention. With enough intention, action and reflection, you will become fluent in this game, and this will dramatically increase your word-acquisition speed, as well as your general flow and confidence in conversation.