Learn an alien language with Tork

Daniel Pataki
Dec 17, 2008
Updated • Nov 20, 2017

I don't usually blog about games, but this one is so great, simple, yet unique and quite a challenge that I just have to show you. The premise in Tork (a play on the word "talk") is that our antagonist crash lands on an alien planet where everyone speaks in sign language. The basic task is to learn the language, so you can fix your spaceship.

Update: Tork is no longer available unfortunately. Check out the Hello World link at the bottom for a language learning alternative.

What I love about the game is that it is a true learning experience and gives you a bit more than small flash games nowadays. After you "hear" a symbol you can say it to someone else, based on the reaction you get you will eventually decypher it. You can write down what you think a symbol means and it will be displayed before you try to say it. Since a sentence can contain a maximum of four symbols, you eventually get to some complex stuff.

The game looks great, and although the controls are a bit clunky, playability and UI wise it's great. the language is loosely based on Esperanto and Mayan, take a look at the info on the site, so it is somewhat realistic, the bare bones of what linguists have to do for real languages. If you think you're up to translating the language of an alien culture, give it a go!

It would obviously be a lot nicer if the game would teach a real language and not a fake alien language. While it still may be a fun experience, it may make sense to let your children learn a "real" language instead.

Hello World is a language learning resource designed for children - and adults - that teaches more than 15 different languages. Languages supported include English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Italian. Each course includes lessons, games, conversations, songs and other activities that help children learn a language playfully.

Learn an alien language with Tork
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Learn an alien language with Tork
Tork was a browser-based Flash game in which the player had to learn a language on an alien planet after crash landing on it.
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