Learning to speak a new language for any age group can be a daunting task. There are so many words and phrases in the English language that it’s hard enough keeping up with THEM let alone learning how to articulate ourselves in another dialect. Well, that’s where these cards come in. Aptly named ‘Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards’ (gedditt??) this is one set of cards that you WILL be putting in the kid’s Christmas stockings. AND you’ll be packing them in your luggage too because they cater for both old and young. I’m an avid supporter of kids learning to play card games, and these 2 decks are surely the perfect introduction. The campaign is live right now on Kickstarter, and you have until 29th of September 2015 to get your hands on a few decks, so head on over there now.
The Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards decks are the first two decks in a series that creator Doug Beech plans to add to in the near future. The way they work is that you have the 52 most commonly used phrases in a particular language (at this stage, Spanish and French) printed on the cards in English, the language itself, and then spelled out phonetically to assist with pronunciation, with a relevant graphic so you’re left in absolutely no doubt as to what you’re saying. The 2 Jokers then translate all of the most important numbers making it easy to be able to recognise any number from 1 – 9999. It’s a genius idea and one that will make learning some basic but much-needed phrases easy and fun at the same time. I’m reminded of the Chord Cards that were recently funded on Kickstarter, using graphics on playing cards to show the user where to place their fingers when playing any particular chord. See…? Learning doesn’t have to be difficult and boring. I love ideas like this!!
A keen traveler, Doug Beech (that’s him on the right of the photo) came up with the idea while he was hiking the Annapurna circuit in Nepal with some friends. In a restaurant they were faced with a menu written entirely in Nepali. Doug’s friend had bought a deck of cards with images depicting the various mountains in the Annapurna mountain range, translating their names into English, and Doug remarked how it would be a great idea to have a deck of cards that translated various languages into English. And so the Language Playing Cards were born. Of course, nothing is ever THAT easy, and Doug has been working hard with not only determining the 52 most commonly used phrases, but also coming up with phonetic spellings and accompanying graphics that look good as well as aptly portraying the phrase being used.
At this time, the available decks are for English speakers wanting to learn French or Spanish. But, like I said earlier, Doug is coming up with other language options, and he’s open to any suggestions. The cards are geared towards the English speaker, but can also be used in reverse. If you read my interview with Doug below, he definitely seems like someone who is a force to be reckoned with once he gets an idea into his head, so I can only imagine what decks will become available in the upcoming years. Here is your chance to get in on the action from the very beginning.
Doug Beech has very kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us about his venture. Let’s hand over to Doug….
iCollectPlayingCards – You say on your Kickstarter profile that you’ve “spent the past ten years creating resources that help disadvantaged kids win scholarships and engage within their communities.” This sounds like an amazing thing to do. I have to applaud you for that and I’d love to hear a bit more about it, if you don’t mind sharing…?
Doug Beech – Sure, my Twin brother and I started Twinbro.com over 10 years ago. Basically, we both came from humble beginnings and no one in our family had ever gone to university. In fact I never believed that I could attain university nevermind paying for my education with scholarships. The funny thing is once you believe its possible its not actually that hard and if you have been able to overcome obstacles in your life it makes you a stronger candidate for those types of awards.
So Twinbro trains successful scholarship winners to do assemblies that teach students exactly what they have to do to be successful. Schools have us back every year and if you want to see some of our success stories check out the testimonials on Scholarshipstrategy.com Ravneet’s video even shows her giving a testimonial and we have a picture from our presentation way back in 2007.
iCPC – What an amazing idea, and good for you for all the effort you’ve put in to make it a success. You’re obviously a go-getter and someone who’s determination guarantees results :)
You are a keen traveler yourself, and this is where you got your inspiration from for these cards. Have you ever been to Ireland? Since I’m from Ireland, any chance of a Gaelic version in the future…? ;)
Doug – I have to go to Ireland. I’m doing my Masters in international business at the moment. The program is really fun as we spend 3 months in Canada, 3 months in France and 3 months in Korea with classmates from all over the world! So after I’m done that I should start setting my sites on Ireland… maybe I could try and fit in a stop over as I fly through England on my way to France???
iCPC – Hehe! Well, you can’t go all this way and not visit an Irish pub for a pint of Guinness :) And the pub is where you’ll learn most of our 52 most used phrases :D
I’m all for an easy way to learn anything, and this deck definitely does help with learning the basics. How did you come up with the ‘52 most useful phrases’?
Doug – Easy. We compared a dozen blogs that promised us these were the phrases and then cross referenced them with traditional learning materials along with list of the most used words for that given language.
iCPC – As this campaign is already a success (with still another 5 days to go, I might add) I presume that you’re now planning your next decks. What languages do you plan to cover, or are you open to suggestions? :)
Doug – I’m open to suggestions… and there has been a lot of suggestions! I think I’d like to try an English to Chinese deck. This would be a good foundation so that later I can try creating it in reverse so that Chinese students could learn English!
iCPC – Ok, so as a language guide, would you recommend these cards for both adults and kids?
Doug – I made these kid friendly on purpose and it seems that there is an even split between parents buying these for their kids and travelers who want to have a better experience while travelling in a foreign country.
iCPC – You’ve mentioned either Legends or USPCC as the printing choices for these decks, have you made your final decision yet?
Doug – Not yet. So I’ve ordered samples to check out the quality along with a recommended supplier from China. I just received my first photo from the supplier in China… I will only order a small amount for this first run as I’m sure I’ll be able to improve the cards once all of our awesome supporters start sending in feedback!
iCPC – Obviously, these cards aren’t for the cardist or the magician, as they are clearly fundamentally a learning tool, but what is your story? Are you a card player, flourisher….? Or are you like a lot of other people (like me) who just simply like to play cards with their mates, have a laugh and maybe learn a thing or two along the way?
Doug – I’m a casual player although I used to play poker competitively… mostly when I travel. I’m big into board games but I always enjoy a quick round of crib.
iCPC – Ok, so this is your first Kickstarter project, and you haven’t backed any other projects so far, but surely with this project you’ve had your interests stirred…. have you been keeping an eye on any of the other decks on Kickstarter? and if so, which do you fancy, and why?
Doug – I’ve been really busy with school so I haven’t been looking around much except when I was first starting. Also I spent a lot of time on Indiegogo and if you check out my account you’ll see I’ve backed almost 20 projects. I’m an entrepreneur at heart so once my exams calm down I’m sure I’ll be supporting a ton of projects on here!
iCPC – Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Doug, it’s very much appreciated. And well done on your successful campaign. I can’t wait to see how the Language Playing Cards range develops :)
So… what language would YOU like to see featured in a deck of cards? Doug says he’s open to suggestions so let’s have them. Just use the ‘comments’ box below.
I’ve already pledged for a few of each of these decks. I have 3 young nieces who will be getting a couple of decks to start them off in their multi-lingual endeavors. This is a great idea and a must for any traveler’s backpack. So, go on!! Get over to the Kickstarter project page and pledge for a few decks. You won’t regret it :)
As always, thanks for reading. If you have any comments or questions please leave them in the box below. And if you like this post please share it on your social media sites by using any of the buttons below. Much appreciated.