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Ba Ba Dum Review

While browsing the net, I stumbled upon an interesting website called Ba Ba dum. Ba Ba Dum is a collection of five free HTML5 browser games that make you learn words in different languages while you’re having some fun.  The creators have hand drawn 1500 beautiful pictures to aid in the learning process. I’ve found the game to be fun and addictive, perfect for when I have a bit of dead time. The best thing is that the game is completely free and all the languages include high quality native recordings. As of writing this review Ba Ba Dum offers 21 languages and the interface is available in 23 languages.
 
 
 
 

Audio

One of the things that I think is the most important when it comes to language learning is having access to high quality audio recordings. I’ve noticed nowadays a lot of language learning apps just use text to speech for their audio (a glaring example would be Duolingo). I’m not a fan of text to speech, obviously it’s not natural and sounds robotic, nothing beats having authentic native speakers in the audio. Ba ba dum uses voice actors that are native speaking, professional readers. I’ve found the recordings for all the languages to be of great quality.

I’ve noticed some people complain or mention that the recordings don’t include the definite articles which is important in languages that use genders such as German or French. While I agree that learning nouns with their assigned gender is important, I wouldn’t discourage people from playing this game if you’re learning a language that uses gender. The definite article is still included when you see the word, the only issue I potentially foresee is that if you’re mainly playing the audio mode, where you don’t see the word and just listen to the recording, pick one of the four images, you will hear only the noun, this could be confusing if you’re learning French for example and hear ‘livre’ which is ‘book’ in the masculine form and ‘£ pound’ in the feminine. Would it have been better had they included the definite articles?  Yeah probably, but I don’t think it’s a huge issue at the end of the day.

 
 

Game Modes

Like I mentioned at the start of the article Ba Ba dum, essentially comprises of five games. Some are more difficult than others, and the harder one lets you earn more points. So let’s go over the five game modes.

 
  1. Select the correct image for a word than is written and heard.
  2. Multiple choice selection, select the choice that the picture represents, audio plays when you answer.
  3. Spelling the word, after being shown the picture, audio plays once you’ve provided an answer.
  4. Listen to the audio, and a multiple choice selection of the correct picture.
  5. Hiragana and katakana learning mode.

1. 

 For the first game you have to select the correct image for the word than you see and hear, die Tiere in this example. This is the easiest game mode.

2. 

 
The second game mode is multiple-choice, you see an image and have to select the correct option out of the four given.

3. 

 
The third game is the audio test, you are given a selection of four drawings and have to select the drawing that correctly corresponds with the audio.
 
 
4.

The fourth test is the hardest in my opinion, you are given the image and have to spell it out with the jumbled letters provided, when you have given your answer you will hear the audio. Since this is the most difficult test, you also receive the most points.

 You also have the option of  selecting shuffle mode, it just changes in between the above mentioned four modes. Which is great if you’re feeling adventurous and want to challenge yourself.


5. 

The fifth game mode is directed at those of you learning Japanese. This mode will help you to learn hiragana and katakana a Japanese syllabary, basic component of the Japanese writing system. However for those of us not learning Japanese this game mode is useless.
 
 

Point System

The game uses a point system, you receive points every time you get an answer correct, and are deducted points when you get an answer wrong. To be honest, I haven’t found this point system particularly compelling, compared to how it’s been implemented on Memrise for example. There is a high score page where you can see how your score compares to others out there. But, I haven’t found myself really using this page, which is strange because I’m usually quite competitive by nature. Perhaps it could have be implemented better, or a way you have a better sense of progress I’m not sure, I just think that this point system doesn’t work as well as it’s probably intended.

 

Conclusion

 

All in all, there are a few things that I really like about Ba Ba Dum, firstly and most importantly it’s free, nowadays it’s great to see people still creating sites like this, without feeling the need to bloat it full of adware or subscription fees. Secondly, the artwork for the site and the hand drawn pictures are incredible, I found all the images well drawn and never had trouble trying to figure out what a particular picture meant. Thirdly it’s just plain fun and addictive, perfect when you’re chilling on the couch or just have some dead time in general. Lastly, I really like(and appreciate) the high quality recordings all recorded by native speakers.

However I do have a few small gripes, firstly I have to say that some of the 1500 words are a bit random and I wouldn’t consider some of them necessary or relatively useful for someone learning a foreign language. Secondly the lack of definite articles in the recordings, not absolutely necessary, but I’d would have preferred to have them included than not. Lastly, I wouldn’t use Ba Ba Dum as my main tool to learn new vocabulary, great for a bit of fun when you’re bored to pick up a word or two but in my opinion not a serious tool to learn a language.


So go and check it out ! You’ve got nothing to lose !

 

 
You can play it here: babadum.com

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