YouTube logo

Linguistic diversity No ratings yet.

Exploring linguistic diversity using human bingo to facilitate a discussion about language preservation.

Keywords: Language preservation, human bingo, cultural value, diversity

Aims and Rationale

According to information on the Ethnologue website, just over 7,000 languages are estimated to be spoken today, however half of the world’s population speak just 23 languages (Ethnologue, 2018). The aim of this activity is to raise students’ awareness about the importance of language preservation and understand the key role language has in culture. In a short space of time, it is designed to help them identify how many languages are spoken by a group and also know what languages other than the dominant languages(s) are spoken. As well as helping to begin a discussion about the importance of language preservation, this activity also facilitates students in getting to know each other. 

Learning Outcomes and Associated Areas of Knowledge

  • Recognise linguistic diversity within the group
  • Discuss different languages spoken with in local area and examine the value of them
  • Practise interpersonal skills and develop confidence

21st Century skills

  • Collaboration and Communication
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Research Skills and Practices
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Public Speaking and Presentation


  • Pens or pencils

How to

Step 1
Each participant is given a bingo card with statements. 
Step 2 
Participants have to find someone who matches the statement and get then to sign their name to the corresponding box. 
Note: Player cannot sign more than one box.
Step 3 
Winner is announced when someone has a full house. The facilitator reads out the statement and follows up with the person who signed the box. 
Follow up questions:
Facilitator can use these questions when reading each statement as a way to explore the extent to which a language is spoken, thus creating a space for discussing lost languages. These questions can be asked to the person who signed the box or can be passed to other members of the group to whom the question is relevant. 
  1. How many people do you think speak this language?
  1. Do you think it will still be spoken in 100 years?
  1. Can you think of a language that used to be spoken but no longer has any speakers?
  1. Does it matter if a language is lost? Do you think we need to save it and what are the cultural implications? (For example, Coptic – which was a Bohairic dialect – is now extinct. The implication of this is the loss of cultural and intellectual experiences through the language such as everyday greetings, prayers, humour and idioms)


Challenge:  Not having enough people to fit the boxes
Solution: You can allow the students to have the same person sign more than one box

Challenge: No one wins
Solution: Winner can be person(s) who fills the most boxes

Challenge:  Not enough cards
Solution: Participants can work in pairs, facilitator can display and adapt activity by reading out the statements and the participants have to find someone who matches that in the room, facilitator will need to read one statement at a time.

Challenge: Participants do not know what to say or do not have answers to the questions – particularly the last question.
Solution: Think of some examples beforehand for each question and if participants do not know what to say, use the example as a way to guide them.

Assessment for Learning

Assessment for learning starts the minute the activity begins. By having to go up to other members of the group and asking them the statement, the participants are immediately putting their interpersonal skills into practise and growing in confidence. During the feedback section when the facilitator is going through each statement with the corresponding answers from the winning card, the group is able to understand and recognise the linguistic diversity amongst themselves. Furthermore, through the use of the follow-up questions, the group is able to have a discussion about the languages spoken and examine their value.

Assessment 'How to'

To assess students’ learning, the facilitator can ask each person to say one thing they learnt from the doing the activity. To help add a fun factor to this, the facilitator can use a small ball that can be passed to participants when it is their turn to share their reflection.

Please rate this activity:


  • Researching these questions could be done in two ways. If you have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection during the session, you can do it ‘live’ in front of the class. An advantage of this is that you can research the languages that come up in the activity. 
  • The second method is to pick a couple of languages that might be familiar to the participants, or relevant to the country or region, and research the answers prior to running the activity.

Further web-searching

Hilali Community Contributions

The activity in this section was  co-created by teachers, students, researchers, academics and others interested in developing tools for those working in Higher Education and Cultural Heritage. To make the activity, the Hilali Toolkit Learning Designer was used. If you are interested in contributing activities, please use our learning designer or contact us.

Creator of ‘Linguistic Diversity’:

Linda-Maria Nakibuuka (Inclusive Curriculum Consultant, Kingston University, UK)

Linda-Marie is a curriculum consultant and MSc International Business Management student at Kingston University London. As sitting chairperson of a UK-based youth charity, Ingenium, she brings her experience of equality, diversity and inclusion to the Hilali project. She is currently carrying out research as part of her master’s consultation project on the 4th industrial revolution and how learning will change with the future of work.

In addition to this, Linda-Marie has worked extensively in the not-for-profit sector for organisations such as the British Red Cross, the Challenge Network and Envision. As a project engagement worker at the British Red Cross, Linda-Marie was involved in the Inspired Action project which worked to engage more young people in volunteering, particularly those with disabilities. Her involvement gave her a deeper understanding of how essential it is to adopt the social rather than the medical model when looking at disabilities. Her long-term goal is to be in a position where she can influence and apply these ideas in her country of birth, Uganda

As part of her role as a research assistant on the Hilali Network project, Linda produced a reflection on the process of creating activities for the Hilali Toolkit.