Learn English with video games: vocabulary

The new installment of Ubisoft's famous video game series, "Assassin's Creed", was released this week. This new mission takes place during the Viking era, in England – naturally, we couldn’t miss out on this opportunity to give you a few good reasons to learn English with video games.

*This article is not endorsed by Ubisoft. Please check the age rating and be aware that this game contains violence and occasional inappropriate language (which is not what we encourage you to learn).

In this period of lockdown, a video game can be a good alternative to explore a new destination and meet new people/characters: it's an excellent way to prepare for a future language course abroad! Below you will find a study that proves it, as well as a list of vocabulary to start your mission off on the right foot.

You might also like: Creative ways to practise your English (at home) →


How video games can help you learn a language

Obviously, playing "Candy Crush" won't exactly make you bilingual – but story-based games, on the other hand, can effectively immerse you in the language, improve your reading skills and train your ear for different accents. You'll also need to complete tasks such as following instructions, finding your way around, communicating, or coordinating a group action. Even though the game is fictional, these are things you’ll need to do in the real-life English-speaking world.


Role-playing games help to learn a language, study shows

Believe it or not, an experiment conducted by a professor at Saint Louis University in Madrid actually proved the benefits of "Assassin's Creed II" (taking place in Italy during the Renaissance) for learning Italian. By connecting the game to pedagogical goals, this professor enabled students to make progress equal to two semesters of Italian over the course of a single semester!

Not sure of your English level? Take our free English test online →


Now, off to medieval England with "Valhalla": make sure you start the game in English and activate the subtitles (also in English) for a gentle start. Ready to "work in the dark to serve the light"?


Learn English with video games: vocabulary list

Before you get into the game, make sure you know a few key words. Based on the game presentation below, we have identified an initial list of vocabulary for you. Write down more as you go along! This is the best way to progress.


Game vocabulary

  • a landscape = a particular area
  • the plot line = the story
  • interwoven storylines = stories combined or crossing each other
  • to forge alliances = to make alliances
  • challenges to overcome = difficult goals to achieve


The characters

  • the Raven clan = a clan is a group of families; a raven is a large black bird, here it’s the name of the clan
  • kin = family, relations; here, it refers to the clan members
  • a raider = someone who steals from a place, usually violently
  • the key intel gatherer: ‘intel’ is short for ‘intelligence’, which here means ‘important information’; the key intel gatherer is the person who collects crucial pieces of information
  • the blacksmith = the person who makes metal objects, such as swords
  • the clan’s seer = the person in the clan who says they can see the future


War vocabulary

  • warfare = action of fighting a war
  • to assault rivals = to attack enemies
  • foes = enemies
  • gear = equipment
  • weapons = objects used to fight, such as swords, axes, arrows, etc…
  • a ship = a large boat
  • shipyard = a place where boats are built
  • kingship → be careful, here, nothing to do with a boat; it means ‘being a king’.


The setting

  • a settlement = a place where people come to live
  • grow a settlement = develop a settlement
  • to settle = to go and live somewhere permanently
  • a shire = a county, a piece of land.

The video above also mentions 4 former kingdoms of England: Mercia, East Anglia, Northumbria, Wessex. If you’re thinking of exploring England while on a language course, you can retrace Eivor’s footsteps and discover what became of these medieval kingdoms!

  • In Mercia: explore our English schools in London, Bath, Cambridge or Oxford.
  • In Northumbria: discover our English courses in Edinburgh, Liverpool or Manchester.
  • In Wessex: learn English in Bournemouth or Torquay.

Find out more about all our English schools in the UK on our website.


Also, if you’d like to learn French, don’t forget "Assassin’s Creed Unity" is set in Paris during the French Revolution!


We hope this article has inspired you to practise your English from home. To find out your English level, take our free English test online now!


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