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University Language Centre

Watching gameshows

Here are some suggested ways of getting the most out of watching gameshows on DVD.

We have a growing collection of gameshows in the Language Centre. These include foreign language versions of 'Family Fortunes', 'The Price is Right' and 'Wheel of Fortune'. Game shows are good learning tools because:

  • they're light-hearted;
  • they're entertaining;
  • they're full of repetition;
  • they have familiar formats;
  • they're easy to follow.

However, some language used may be difficult to understand due to local cultural references, and sometimes strong accents. Don't worry about this - concentrate on following the game.

Watching gameshows will help you focus on understanding genuine spontaneous spoken language, including a variety of regional accents and slang usage. You can also pick up useful expressions to enhance your own spoken language and make it sound more natural.

Gameshows are particularly useful for revising and consolidating the following vocabulary areas:

  • alphabet/spelling;
  • numbers/prices;
  • personal identification information (families, professions, hobbies);
  • everyday items used as prizes;
  • expressions used in playing games of any type.

Some gameshows on DVD in the ULC have been edited with activities allowing you to participate, and providing answers onscreen at the end. Whether you are watching an edited or unedited gameshow, here are some suggested activities to help you to get the most out of it.

Hints

  • Use the Stop and Replay functions
  • Listening repeatedly does aid understanding
  • Take part in the game as much as possible

While watching the show

  • Note as many personal details as you can about the contestants.
  • When a question is asked PAUSE the DVD and think how you would answer it.
  • Compare your answer(s) with those of the contestants.
  • Note both the question and answers given.
  • Note useful phrases for playing games of any type.
  • Note particular catchphrases.
  • Note your reactions to the gameshow host and contestants.

When you have finished watching

  • in writing, compare this show with its equivalent in your own language/country.

Above all, enjoy it, have a laugh, and see what the game show can tell you about TV entertainment in different countries, or about the interests and lifestyles of the participants.

You might be surprised how much you can learn when you're having fun.