Today on the blog, we have a tester’s corner from Mojack!
Hello everyone, mojack here and for today’s Tester’s Corner I want to do something a little bit different. Instead of talking about the charming story or likable characters of The Expression Amrilato, I want to commend just how in-tune the game is when it comes to the difficulties of learning a new language.
The Expression Amrilato such a refreshing diversion with the isekai genre because it takes an aspect that other isekai stories take for granted, language, and brings that to the forefront of its narrative. When Rin is suddenly transported to a parallel world, she quickly realizes that practically no one speaks Japanese, or any language she’s familiar with for that matter. With the help of a kind soul, Ruka, who gives a helping hand, Rin must learn this world’s language, Juliamo, to communicate with those around her.
Juliamo (pronounced “Yu-lee-ah-mo”) is actually based off of an international language called Esperanto, although it takes some liberties here and there to create its own unique identity. It shares many similarities with Spanish both in sentence structure and vocabulary. Anyone who has taken a Spanish class before will instantly recognize “infinitivo” and its purpose in grammar structure, for instance. That said, there’s plenty different about the linguistics that is sure to throw people for a loop.
Rin starts by learning the basics; nailing down numbers, interrogatives, and everyday object vocabulary. These learning segments are accompanied by quizzes to help the players themselves learn along with her, although these are completely skippable too. The story reinforces these learnings, though, by integrating what Rin learns into the narrative. When Rin felt proud of herself for being able to simply buy some vegetables, I felt proud with her because the simple joy of being able to communicate with someone you couldn’t prior cannot be understated.
Just as I vicariously share Rin’s joys, however, I also shared her frustrations. Her vicious reaction to turning to the “transitive and intransitive verb” page of her workbook was so relatable to my own Japanese language studies, that I had to take a moment to think if I was personally being called out. Developer SukeraSparo clearly knows where people will get tripped up the most and address those sections appropriately.
I’m not saying that playing The Expression Amrilato is going to make you an Esperanto expert, but given the fact that this is a visual novel meant for entertainment first and an educational piece second, it’s astonishing just how effective at instruction it is. By the end of the game, you may still not be able to understand every single word Ruka says, but at the very least it won’t seem so alien anymore. Long sentences won’t look like gibberish and you’ll be able to at least break them down into their respective grammar chunks.
Would I recommend this visual novel as an actual teaching tool? Probably not. Will I forget everything I learned from it a week after finishing the beta test? Probably. Even so, The Expression Amrilato provided numerous moments that felt like genuine accomplishments just as much to me, the player, as they did to Rin herself, and that’s not something I can say for many visual novels out there.