How is your Español?
Caramba is a fun and addictive word game with a Latin flavor that will help you improve and practice your Spanish vocabulary. Compete against yourself or practice with your classmates in the expert mode, where you will be able to test your speed and knowledge with everyone else!
Caramba is designed to help students with their Spanish vocabulary practice. This highly addictive game has three different modes:
Normal mode: You can practice your Spanish making words you already know or some others you discover while playing.
New learner mode: If you are beginning to learn Spanish this is the mode for you! It considers only the first 100 words with highest frequency of Spanish according to RAE (Royal Academy of Spanish).
Expert mode: You will become an expert! This mode is designed to narrow the number of possible words so some students can practice Spanish related to a subject (airport, medicine, etc.). For instance, a teacher can reduce the semantic fields to the ones related to a certain unit checked in class. Also, in this mode, players can join a particular group —managed by a teacher— and see their progress.
Are you a Spanish or language teacher? Make use of this fun game to engage and promote vocabulary learning.
Coming Soon!! The multiplayer mode where players can challenge other people from all over the world in a real-time match.
Caramba has more than 885,000 words which include several verbs in their different conjugations. Our list is taken from the expanded dictionary for aspell. The dictionary for the new learner section, is taken from the 1,000 more frequents forms as listed by the RAE, from that list, we took the first 100 forms that are at least 3 letters long.
This dictionary is open source, and we would love to improve it for our language learning community. Please write us an email with your suggestions to [email protected].
How to play
Playing Caramba is very simple.
First, you need to choose the right mode for you.
Then, you need to drag your finger over connected tiles to spell a word with a minimum of three letters. Letters can be connected in any direction, they only need to be next to each other or touching corners. When you correctly spell a word, the word drops to the bottom and disappears, adding points to your score. Even the unconnected letters below your successfully spelled word will disappear and give you extra points!
Remember that Spanish words have the letter "Ñ". Tap/click once over the “n” letters to switch them. Spanish words also have accented vowels like in DÍA. Tap/click once over a vowel tile to add the accent. Finally, you can always increase the challenge by pressing the spacebar or shaking your phone (mobile version) to add a new row.
Not sure yet? Practice with the tutorial and see how easy it is to play Caramba!
Teachers can use the Expert Mode to upload sets of words to Caramba. This game can help students remember some vocabulary they have previously seen in class. Remember: by increasing the number of times you encounter a word, you have more opportunities to learn that word.
Caramba was designed to help teachers improve the way students learn new vocabulary. Playing Caramba on their mobile phones, students are able to take their vocabulary learning beyond the classroom.
Caramba supports teachers by providing details on how students learn new vocabulary, when and who has played new words and more useful data from their play sessions.
Sample graph of correct (blue) vs unknown (pink) words
You can use your own sets of words, or start with some words that teachers have already created and shared with us.
As an example, Prof. Claudia Flores who teaches Spanish as a Second Language at the University of Chile and at IES Abroad has shared with us the following sets of words. These words have been selected for the course "Español para profesionales de la salud", which corresponds to a B1 level of the CEFR.
If you want to contribute to our resources with your own lists, please send us an email with your list to [email protected].
How does Caramba help to improve vocabulary?
Word games can help students improve their vocabulary mainly because they will encounter more words and more often, a key to vocabulary learning. They will be motivated to learn more words to score higher, and they will also acquire both good spelling and a higher degree of morphological awareness, i.e. a better understanding of the functions of word beginnings and endings (e.g. in-, des-, re-, -mente, -oso/a, etc.). The longer the word, the more points they will earn.
In the expert game, it is easier for students to practice words related to one particular topic, and to explore even more words from the same field. In the new learner mode, students play with a restricted number of words in order to have more opportunities to practice these words. Repetition at different intervals is essential!
In Caramba, players are able to share words on social media, increasing chances of remembering specific word sets. Also, mobile devices allow you to take your learning everywhere!
Learning should be fun! Game-based learning motivates students while playing with others as well as outside the classroom, engages students to learn from their mistakes and transforms learning into a constant activity.
Learning is not a chore!
Spanish is a very important language! Over 500 million of people speak Spanish as a first or second language. It is the third most spoken language in the world —if we consider the number of speakers— and it is also the third most used language in the media.
Although Spain has a considerable number of speakers, Latin America has the largest number of them. Additionally, an important number of bilingual programs can be found in the US, which is the second country with more speakers in the world.
Spanish Language Organizations
Spain has the Royal Academy of Spanish (RAE) and each country —where Spanish is the official language—has its own organization where they concern more about their dialects. If you have a vocabulary doubt, go to http://www.rae.es or you can check each country’s association where you will find out more about each dialect. http://asale.org/ASALE/asale.html
Within these associations, there are some links that we think might be interesting:
- Diccionario de Mexicanismos
- Notas Idiomáticas-Instituto de Chile (material taken from the media)
- Glosas de Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española
The Instituto Cervantes is an organization where they promote the learning and teaching of Spanish. In here, you can find many articles related to literature and cinema, and if you are interested in teaching Spanish, there are several online certification courses.
Reading is very important for your Spanish vocabulary! On these websites you will find complete books in Spanish for free without restrictions. Make sure you have the right text for your audience. You can use Caramba by getting some vocabulary from these books and uploading them through the Teachers section.
- The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad (Free)
- American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
- Journal for Intercultural Communication (Free)