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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I love all things Italian and really fancied learning the language from the comfort of my own home. I just wanted key phrases for shopping, sight-seeing and cooking/food really.

This set comes with 5 discs, 1 for the computer and 4 audio discs. The thing that attracted me to this was that it ran on Mac's, so I went about installing it. It was pretty tricky to install on a Mac as there were so many files on the disc, I had to search through the thick manual to find out which file I needed.

Once found it installed quickly and I started up the computer based learning package. This involves looking at a set of words/phrases on flash cards, listening and reading them and then guessing the write translation and spelling and typing the translation in both Italian and English. It is repetitious and you remember the words after a few goes. If you get a word wrong it makes you do it a few more times. Other sections include grammar and reading, and scenarios where you read part of a conversation.

The computer based learning is ok but the sound quality is awful. It reminds me of the recorded French cassettes we used to listen to while studying French at school. It's very muffled and is very irritating, a bit like if you are listening to something very quiet and have to turn the volume up to the max.

One good thing on the program is that you can record yourself speaking Italian and compare the sound-waves between your pronunciation and the Italian so you can perfect the language.

With the Audio CD's, I put them onto my iPod and listened to them in the car on my way to and from work. These are ok but the Italian is very fast and it is very hard to hear the pronunciation as the speed is fluent Italian.

Overall this program isn't bad for the money and I will carry on learning Italian with it but the quality isn't great at all but you get what you pay for.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I picked this course because it will run on my Mac computer.
It couldn't have been easier ,just insert the disc and the program was soon installed and up and running.

I was confused at first so I played the Guided Tour which comes up when you open the program. I went through it twice and then felt confident to start. On the screen you see two books, Reading lessons Italian and Conversation Lessons Italian. I clicked on the Conversation book it opens and you can click on which lesson you want to go to.In fact you can begin with the alphabet.
I go to Lesson One and I can choose between Vocabulary, Video or Speaking. I choose Vocabulary and up comes Flash Cards. With these you begin with Preview where one word at a time appears in both English and Italian, with the word being spoken. Step 2 : Here you see the word in Italian and you speak the word in English, or if you prefer you can type it onto the screen. Step 3 You see the word in English and you type in, or just speak the Italian.
You can repeat each word over and over as often as you want to.
The Flash cards soon felt like a game and using it with a friend we became competitive and the whole thing became fun. Which is good cos then you want to keep doing the course.

There is the Tortoise button which enables you to slow down the speech so you can hear the pronunciation more clearly. I found this essential.

In the Video section You are watching and hearing Italian being spoken. You can control the pace of what you see, hear, and understand so you never feel overwhelmed. You can repeat over and over if you want to, again with the Tortoise button as an option. There a space to make your own notes on screen.

The sound quality is excellent on both the computer program and the four additional audio CD's.

This is a comprehensive program with many different tools and aspects, eg crosswords, Written Tests etc and
for your Speaking practice you can measure your pronunciation with the Speech Correctness Meter. This is where the computer can give you feedback on your pronunciation. This is a nice extra as you can practice in private and yet have accurate feedback.
I found plenty of Grammar info , and when you click on the link in Green there is additional Grammar info. There is so much to learn, I think its down to me to keep at it, the Grammar scares me a bit and i am happier with learning words and sentences at this beginners stage.
The Audio CD's are mainly conversational and include general stuff like how to say I am from England, what job I do etc. It seems aimed at English speakers of UK and USA.

I am enjoying using this and can't pick out any flaws yet. Perhaps i will return with an update in Italian in the future :-)
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VINE VOICEon 13 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
As we were due to set off for Italy for our first holiday there with the family it seemed ideal to try this course to give us all some basics but although the computer elements have some useful ideas with the flashcards and repeating ideas I felt that I would have benefitted from a few more grammar basics as this area was sadly lacking. Once we started our journey we used the audio cds and struggled with the speed and the lack of choice in each section - in one lesson I was told how to say I was divorced or widowed but not married; in another I soon found out the Italian for French and American but not English!! Having used another series of audio cds for learning French [the Michel Thomas Total French], and finding them excellent, I felt these had a good variety of learning opportunities but ultimately they did not provide me with confidence in using the language in the same way.
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This product is easy to set up straight out of the box and comes with a very detailed instruction booklet for set up and how to best use the language learning system. It has several options on how to use the product with iPod .MP3s and flashcards (digital) as well as the actual learning system, which are all easy enough to use.

On to the problems that I have with the product. The user interface is very poor and lacks in some very simple design features. I never actually owned version 1 of this software so I can't really speak highly of any upgrades because they all seem like standard features that come as a part of other language software anyway. Another issue I have is that this item doesn't come with any learning books. As a respected language training provider it should be simple for Berlitz to know that people have different learning modalities and they should have provided tools for the kinesthetic learner the same way they have done for the visual and auditory learner.

The alternate that I would suggest is the LiveMocha/Collins language learning courses. They are a lot more up to date and provide a lot more learning tools which also allow you to interact with other language students as well as native speakers via the LiveMocha website. One downside to the LiveMocha course, is that it is only a temporary timed subscription to the site which you have to renew if you don't finish the course in time. Where as this Berlitz system is a one off purchase that you can use at your own pace and not have to worry about it expiring on you.

Apart from the dated user interface and the lack of tangible learning material, this product should serve any beginner/intermediate well and is worth it for under £20!
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VINE VOICEon 21 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This edition (version 2) of the programme expands in the following areas:
- Additional Beginner Lessons with 12,000 words and phrases
- Progress Tracking; so you can see what you have still to learn
- Activities: e.g. Fill in the Blank; Word Whirl; Concentration and Four Square

Outside of this you receive an installation disc and four audio CD's that you can listen to in the car. These CD's take you through a variety of lessons though are more aimed at basic conversations and things a visitor might want to focus on. You also receive phrases that you can use on your iPod; though as these are just repeating words it is quite simplistic at this stage.

The real good comes from the computer programme that comes with this and what you can do. Flash cards are used to learn words and grammar and you interact with it to ensure the words have been learnt. As a note, I had to change my keyboard to US English for it to be recognised by the programme. The audio and video learning was good but my personal favourite was the Speech Analysis that gives feedback on you saying sentences into the computer. This is the equivalent of a language tutor commenting on your accent and pronunciation.

Consider this for what it is; if you are self motivated and want to learn the language and prefer bite sized chunks this is definitely the way to go. If you have the money to spend, and want the input of others then get a language course. For me, I really like this package and look forward to a better vocabulary and a great use of the language.
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on 11 June 2013
Easy to download onto the Mac and it has maded learning Italian fun. My wife has also bought the Berlitz French Premier a few years ago and she loves it. I downloaded Italian onto my windows laptop as well and found that there was a French version on the same software disc. This could be a bit of a bonus but you also need the audio discs which are only in Italian.
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on 3 October 2010
I have the German Berlitz Premier Version 2 which also claims compatibility to modern operating systems. BEWARE THIS SOFTWARE IS NOT WHAT IT CLAIMS ON THE BOX!!!!!!!!!!!!! There should be some law against selling products which claim to be compatible and are most definately not!!!! My 64bit Windows 7 Home Premium IS NOT. Worse still no support or valid update to help with the situation. Issues include; Not opening, can't type in replys if you do get it open, cannot view theatre/video lessons. So you are left with flash cards....when the list imports!!!!! I was sooooo excited when I bought the program, it looks amazing, Wish I had me money back!!!! Software should be renamed: PC BLITZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 3 June 2013
At first I found the instructions somewhat difficult to follow but when I started to work through the course, it started to fall into place. This course provides activities on the computer and via the audio cd's and mp3 which means you are never far away at practicing your language skills.
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on 22 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is definitely a case of you get what you pay for. Being one of the cheapest on the market, I wasn't expected to be dazzled by graphics and blown away by the ease in learning a new language, and that was a good job because this product certainly doesn't do that. However, what it does do is give you an understanding of the language. In my opinion, I think some of the phrases and words given are slightly unnecessary, and personally I would have much rather learned that which I would need in an Italian speaking community.

The program works on repetition and you are forced to perfect a word or phrase several times if you get it wrong before you move on to the next. This is quite tedious but at the same time it does encourage you to get it right and it sticks in the mind after numerous pronunciations. The one thing to note is that the audio is pretty poor quality: you can understand clearly enough but in my opinion you would expect this to be crystal clear.

The software implements learning exercises with fun games which does encourage you to continue. The games do repeat themselves but this is standard of any similar program. It also comes with additional CDs to listen to in the car which are useful but at the same time I can't help but think they will go unused.

I can't comment on how it runs on Mac but I have it running on Windows 7 with few issues, although it does occasionally freeze up or lag. I may be slightly biased in my review as I have used a well known language training software in the past, but with this you have to bear in mind what you have paid to begin with. I don't think anyone can knock a basic knowledge of a language for less than £20.
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VINE VOICEon 14 September 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
These are packed with useful vocabulary, flashcards, audio cds and plenty to get your teeth into, plus the software itself. I've used Live Mocha language courses in the past and was impressed with those until I saw the packs for both the Berlitz German and Italian software. They are great value, has everything you need in the box and is very easy to use. My 11 year old son has come on in leaps and bounds using this system. I like that I can add the audio files to my iphone and listen as I travel around, there are also cds of everything you need to learn. It's graded from basic, intermediate and more advanced language usage, so you can tailor it to what you need and I really like the fact that I can work on an area of vocabulary such as travel or dining out in preparation for holidays or business travel. After all, it's only polite to ask for the bill in the native language and hopefully understand the answer. It's an easy way to learn as everything is in one place and you can set up other users on the software so each can check their progress.

There are no ongoing fees to pay, from what I've seen at least lol, and you have everything you need 'in the box'. Great value and much better than most of the other offerings out there. I will be buying the Spanish pack next and can't wait to get started with it. I will probably buy the French pack, just to refresh really, but at this price, it really can't be beat.
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