Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards – On Kickstarter NOW!

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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.

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards

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!!

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards 'Nice to Meet You'

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards ‘Nice to Meet You’ (French)

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards Doug BeechA 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.

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards Spread

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards Spread – Spanish Spades

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.

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards Pips

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards Pips

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…?

Novel writing software without the learning curve.

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. 

Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards Back

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.

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23 thoughts on “Learn Spanish or French (while) Playing Cards – On Kickstarter NOW!

  1. Hannah

    This is brilliant idea!

    I was lucky enough to learn some French, but I’ll be honest – I’ve forgotten most of it now. I would like to relearn though and I’d imagine it to be easier the second time round.

    I can imagine learning a language in a fun way like this would make it easier to memorise.

    Great find and awesome review.


  2. Connor

    awesome awesome idea for a site. i love when i find something that isnt done over and over again kudos to that for sure!!!! i think that this idea to use playing cards to help people learn a new language is excellent. hopefully it can help kids to learn more about other cultures too. hope you are enjoying your site seems like you are having a lot of fun making it and i will be back for sure :)

  3. Daniella

    Hi Jyl,

    What a nice and unique article, I really love it!
    This is a wonderful way to learn a language, it look much easier than to learn from a book. I personally think that all the drawing and the colors make it more interesting. My first language is French and I speak to my children only in French since they were born. The problem is that they understand, but they don’t speak. Maybe these cards will help them start speaking in French.
    Thank you for this awesome blog

  4. Tyler

    Certainly is creative and intuitive, it’s amazing what some people come up with, and even more amazing when they decide to follow through with it. It’s such a simple yet amazing idea that I wish I could have came up with it! Definitely would be a great way to brush up on my Spanish before my next trip there this upcoming summer.

  5. Dylan

    Hey I really like the concept of your website and how everything looks. It’s really easy on the eyes and it’s easy to navigate; you can go from one article to the next with no problem.

    wow this is a brilliant idea. I always just thought of playing cards as a game. I never considered combining them french or Spanish to learn a new language

    Thanks for the information, it was really helpful

  6. Samantha

    What a great idea! You can have fun and learn something at the same time. The cards are very well thought out. I think the addition of the illustration in the middle of each card really helps to ground the word or phrase in the learner’s mind. I find I learn much better with visuals I can use to associate with concepts.

    As for a suggestion for future decks, I know it’s a long shot, but I’m learning Finnish right now and anything to help would be great! There isn’t as much out there for Finnish as for other languages.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Samantha, I know that Doug (the creator of this deck) is an avid traveler and he’s probably even been to Finland himself, so it might not be all that long a shot. I can honestly imagine a whole range of language cards from him, so really the sky is the limit. Why not shoot him through an email and suggest it….? :)

  7. Sofia

    What a great way to learn! I want to learn another language and love playing cards.

    In high school, I took Spanish but I need a refresher. These cards are a perfect solution. I will bookmark your website. My family will love this too. Do the cards come with an audio? Thank you for sharing!

    1. Jyl Post author

      Hi Sofia, thank you for your comment :) They are a great learning tool aren’t they? These guys plan many more languages in the series so keep an eye out for them.

      There is no audio with the deck as each phrase on the card is spelled phonetically so you know exactly how it is pronounced. But you never know… it could be something that they decide to do on future decks :)

  8. Jack

    Hello there

    Great article I was just browsing when I came across your article thank you for sharing this information with us, you clearly know your stuff,

    I am also trying to learn spanish now i have never been a logical learner more of a doer than a sitter, this is the reason i struggle when it comes to languages, do you think the cards will help me due to my way of learning?

    Again thank you for sharing I know many people will benefit from knowing this now.


    1. Jyl Post author

      See that’s the beauty of these cards Jack – you’re learning and not even really knowing that you are. Imagine sitting playing poker with your mates and waiting on (there’s always a) slow one trying to decide whether to stay in or fold…. so you have a look through your cards and you think “ah… so THAT’S how you say “Good evening” in Spanish… hmm….” And while you’re waiting you’re pronouncing it, and it just sort of sinks in. Let me know if you do decide to get yourself a deck and what you think of them – I’m down for a few of each. I’ll be giving some away to my nieces :) Adios!!

  9. Debra

    Hi Jyl,

    I never thought about a deck of cards teaching me a language, the ability to learn Spanish of French while playing is rather cool. Of course you won’t get the complete language, but of you think about it 52 basic words could get you thru a conversation better than none at all.

    Its nice to see how far people can come from a kickstarter program, and I’m sure these guys are no exception, They have their eye on the prize.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Thanks Debra :) What I love about this deck is that it does just pick out the ‘most useful’ phrases in a language. So there’s not a lot of stuff to bombard us with when all we want to do is get something across in shop etc. Learning how to conjugate verbs was one of the things that put me off learning new languages. But you’re right, getting a few pointers is definitely a start and it’s a deck worth getting. :)

  10. Tanya

    What a great concept. Never thought learning another language could be so fun. I took Spanish in high school and hated it because it was boring (due to the teacher) as well as hard to learn.

    However I love playing cards. My whole family loves playing cards… why not learn another language while playing with the family. Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jyl Post author

      I was exactly the same Tanya….. loved Spanish, did NOT love my teacher :D and yes, that does matter to students. But with this fun method of learning foreign phrases I’m sure going to have a lot more to say for myself on holiday this year!!! I hope you’ve pledged for a few decks….? Perfect for kids’ presents :) Thanks for your comment :)

  11. Robin Sawyer

    Wonderful idea! Being a teacher, I’m used to using cards in all sorts of ways. But generally the cards are transformed into a form required for a particular game, not any game!

    Keeping the basic card format, so you can use these to play any card game is a splendid idea. You can play whatever you want, but you will end up learning some phrases… whether you were planning to or not!

    Heading off to Kickstarter right now!


    1. Jyl Post author

      That’s great news Robin :)

      I know what you mean about other decks made specifically for one game. This deck can be used for poker, gin rummy, solitaire or even snap!

      I’m particularly glad to hear that you are a teacher and that you think these are a good idea. Kids pick things up so much better than adults and this is an easy way to encourage the learning of other languages. Thanks for your comment :)

  12. RuthM

    I love this idea. I remember being in Japan some time ago and me and friend went to get some dinner, opened the menu and couldn’t make sense of a thing. Nothing. We had no idea what to order or how to even say it! So we had to do some impressions, which was a little humiliating! So Japanese might be a little more tricky in this situation but I like the concept of the other languages, I think its a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing

    1. Jyl Post author

      I know that Doug has mentioned maybe doing a Chinese deck so I’m sure Japanese won’t be too far away. Though I know what you mean – I find it hard to make out the different characters myself :) Thanks for your comment Ruth :)

  13. terry

    Hi Jyl;

    Very interesting site. I particularly like the idea of using the uncut sheets as wall art. I’m sure those will become very collectible.
    I also love the Language cards. What a great idea!
    Do you collect all types of playing cards (i.e. Pinochle)?
    Thanks for sharing this info with us.

    1. Jyl Post author

      Hi Terry. Yes I do collect them all :) Not the ‘gaming’ type cards though. But playing cards yes. There are so many fascinating decks out there. Some with brilliant artwork. Some with great line work. And some, like these, that are educational as well as practical. I like when creators are clever with their decks :)

  14. Violet

    I have found this interesting to read though am not an avid card player and not too good at languages. The idea is intriguing and fun and I will ask my young ones to visit your site for the important lessons. I would vouch for it as it is useful it will teach someone important things learning a language that never goes out of fashion, instead of spending a lot of time in front of the TV or Movies, I would choose this!

    I love the fact that you also have a noble vocation of helping the disadvantaged kids help them engage in their communities and you have done this for the last 10 years! This is a very brilliant idea. AND it is an amazing thing to do.

    Thank you for sharing what you are doing and I wish you success in all your endeavors and as you do your other cards.

    Thank you,


    1. Jyl Post author

      Thank you Violet. I too am all for getting kids to spend less time in front of the TV or games console. Plus playing card games is a social activity. The whole family can join in and it’s fun. As well as the learning aspect of it :)


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