17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
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This review is from: Berlitz French Premier Version 2 (PC/Mac) (DVD-ROM)
Having read the reviews and product description before I bought this pack, I could not quite make out what level it was aiming at, particularly as it claims to be suitable for all levels from beginner to advanced. Once I started using it I could see why this was the case. Quite simply, it is not a coordinated learning package but a collection of different bits and pieces of French language learning materials all bundled under the Berlitz brand name.
There is an attempt to pull some of it together under an interface called "Learning Centre" but this doesn't really work. For example the flash cards will not accept keyboard input when you access them via the Learning Centre (as you're supposed to do) but will accept keyboard input if you close the Learning Centre and open the cards program separately. At least this is the case on my PC, and it is no use clicking on the link for technical help as it does not work. There is no technical help.
The six short videos are useful for listening to and analysing French conversation, though I still had to rely on Google language tools for much of the latter. However, some of the vocabulary learning aids such as crosswords and word games were of doubtful value, and again there are technical problems with some of the interactive video exercises. This part of the learning materials also includes a gimmicky word pronunciation meter where you say a word or phrase into a microphone and the program is supposed to analyse what you've said in terms of vowels, fricatives etc and give you a score showing how close your pronunciation is to good French. This is something that only a computer geek would think of as useful, or even possible. I got my best scores when, just for fun, I pronounced the French in broad Scots, Scouse or Cockney accents. This may not say much about my usual French accent but I suspect it says more about the software.
I wish I could give this pack a higher score, but in many ways it is an opportunity missed. Instead of producing a comprehensive learning programme, the publishers have cobbled together some old bits of learning materials(they still use francs in the shopping sequences)and packaged them under the Berlitz brand. However, there is still a lot of useful stuff in there, and over all it is still good value for money - and the pronunciation meter is always worth a laugh.