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on 19 June 2012
As someone looking to learn basic German, I have found this very easy to use and have managed to pick up a good understanding of the German language. Good value for money too.
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on 1 January 2011
Bought this for my wife for Christmas. Looks pretty good so far, though she has only just started using it.
However, we suffered the keyboard problem mentioned by other reviewers, running it under Windows 7 - it was impossible to type words into the flashcards section.
BUT, this can be fixed! (and hence a hastily written early review). If you add a US keyboard in your regional settings under the control panel, then all is right and you can type again! Phew - no returns to Amazon required after all :-)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I already speak a bit of German, but wanted to improve my vocab skills, so when this was offered I jumped at it. However, I should have read some of the other reviews first. This is a very clumsy and basic course. It takes a while to install and register, which is not a problem, but once you get into the system it is so user unfriendly, that it became a chore just to get to the first lesson. You are allowed to choose between conversational and reading lessons. I went into the laborious `conversational', it has a number of `flash cards' that you have to repeat and then translate back into English and then German from English. It was all pretty basic, but my keyboard will not work to allow me to do the written option. Others have commented on this and I do have Windows Vista which is supposed to be compatible. So that is one star lost already.

I then went on to the part where you can record your answers and gues what? Yeah you got it, it failed to record, so Auf Wiedersehen to ein anderen star! The user manual is also huge and that may be because it is a one size fits all for all of their courses. That may reduce production costs but is a total waste of paper and your time for having to by pass all the guff about Chinese characters and how to type accents etc. Especially so as your key board will not work in the first place!

There are also four CD's that they inform you that you can play in your car whilst on the way to work. I know this is educational, but I think most of us have worked out how to listen to a CD prior to getting this gold mine of useful information. I actually get the train, so I stuck them on my mp3 thingy and this is the most helpful part of the whole programme. My only gripe is the narrator is a rather gushy lady from across the pond and her voice is a bit annoying especially as the music accompaniment is sort of second hand eighties poodle rock - but this is me being slightly pretentious.

Also it seems to have installed a random screen saver, as everytime I come back to my PC it has phrases in German about going to the cinema on a saturday or not liking a loud motor vehicle - this is turning out to be erring on the side of misplaced comedy genius, I can't wait to try some of these 'every day' phrases out on real Germans, if this is what they all talk like, looks like one helluva party!

So not that impressed really, I have been at it for a while (bit of a double entendre there - sorry) and am not `feeling the love', and it is still a bit basic, but my German is improving so not a complete waste of time. The system is well dated though and could use some serious upgrades. As another reviewer has said the Collins Live Mocha course is way better.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 February 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Although a good if dated programme for beginners, it is a pity that it says advanced in the blurb as once it starts to cover grammar rather than words and phrases it is certainly not advanced. I do not want to speak German with an American accent, can't they find a native speaker and perhaps different music, or none. Also perhaps they should have tested it on more operating systems as some of the functions did not work until I installed the US keyboard (Windows 7) no mention of this in the instructions which although it tells you how to use the CDs does not help with installing and troubleshooting the programme .
Despite the accent I thought the CDs were the best as I could listen in the car.
In summary OK if you know no German as it will get you started but if you want to get to a more advanced level get something else.
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on 9 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have a smattering of German from years of watching films and listening to music, but have never really been able to speak it so when I saw this set I thought nI'd take the plunge.
there are some brilliant easy steps leading on to more and more advance lessons in easy smooth transition moves. The on the move programs are good but not for my learning style but I'm sure others will find them great.
Well, the end result is that I'm starting to be able to watch movies without reading the subtitles so this really does work!!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 24 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My Daughter had wanted me to teach her German over the summer holidays but working very long hours on a background of long distance commute to work and back meant that our arrangements was not working out well. I got this Berlitz German premier to help her with the basics and below are her thoughts on this:

I had been planning for a long time to learn German and was really ecstatic when I got the Berlitz German. The pack came with a CD-rom, audio cds and a user's manual. I've been using it now for 2 weeks and though I have acquired some basic German I don't like the learning style employed by the program. Maybe I'm old fashioned/traditional but I like clear structured lessons that teaches German grammar while also building up my vocabulary. And while my vocabulary has been built up I can't say the same for understanding of grammar. German is a difficult language to learn because of all the cases it uses e.g. Nominative, Accusative, Dative and Genitive. And also because of word order in a sentence. After 2 weeks I can't say I'm even a little further in better understanding these key aspects.
Further I also had some technical issues with the flashcard program: if I started it using the central learning centre then I was unable to type out answers. I was only able to type if I started the flashcard program separately. I tried re-installing the whole program, looking in the help and on the website but I was unable to find a solution.
I would've loved to have given Berlitz 5 stars but I can only give it 3 it is good and it did meet its aim: it's been teaching me basic German; there were however too many problems for me to give it a high rating.
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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The system is quite easy to install from the disc and you have the help of the handbook if you need it. It does assume some knowledge of installing such programmes and there is a lot of computer jargon. Once you accept the conditions of use, it is simply a matter of clicking through the on-screen prompts and, so long as you do not have too many questions, it takes only a few minutes to complete the process.

The handbook is very helpful in describing what you should expect to see on-screen and as you start to navigate around the lesson, there are prompts to help you to know which keys to press for the next stage of the lesson.

I already have a working knowledge of German, so I am using this system as a refresher. I will report further on how I get on but so far so good.

A Few weeks in.

You need to go through the Guided Tour a couple of times at least to learn how to use the Learning System but is well worth taking the time as it is very helpful and gives every detail of how to use the programme. The commentary goes quite fast but you can stop and start it as you wish. There is also information about the games included at the end of each module.
Each lesson takes about a week to complete if you spend about 45 minutes each day and there are 13 lessons in the Beginner Series.

Once you learn how to navigate around the Learning System it is easy to do and the games are great fun. You'll surprise yourself with how much you have learned !!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I think, if you are serious about learning German, and are a complete beginner, then this is a useful tool to get you started.

It's a computer version of a flashcard and audiotape system (ie recordings of representative dialogue), and also features some interactive games. The big bonus of this system is that it has voice recognition, so you can speak into a microphone and see how closely your accent matches that of a native speaker for any given word.

Small niggles with the system:
- the quality of the recordings is pretty poor in relation to the current state of the art - sounds like it's been transferred from old cassette tapes, with all the associated background white noise
- the English voices are American, so I'm never quite sure whether to trust that they're translating from US or British English
- it says that it is equivalent to 'one semester college German'. That is one semester at a US university, and not for a language student. From my memory, you don't learn a lot in one semester of a language class in the US, so this is essentially a very basic starter course. It claims to take you up to 'advanced' level, but from their descriptions, their idea of advanced is being able to ask directions and have a basic conversation about your family and job.

Still, if you are totally new to the language, I think this is a great starter.
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VINE VOICEon 28 August 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have Windows Vista and I had no problems installing this software so I cannot comment on the issue that other reviewers have mentioned. I am a complete newbie to German and have never studied it before so I was interested to see how I would get on with this software.

As others have said, the structure of the programme is difficult to follow. The videos are also very old fashioned and look like one of those school learning videos from when mullets were in fashion! In fact, the overall feel of the entire programme feels very old fashioned, about 15 years out of date!

Some good points - you can have different users on the system so two people could use the software at different paces and not interfere with each other's progress. The vocabulary/flash card section lets you keep track of your progress and will remind you of "stale" words, or words that you have not practiced in a while which means you are less likely to forget words as you progress. There are different ways of testing yourself - written, listening, speaking (this would be better if the actual content of the tests and the learning material was up to date and followed a structured pattern).

I wanted to give this 5 stars and be able to say I was on my way to becoming fluent in German. However, I have to say that I can't see that happening with this programme. It might help me with the basics but it does seem like using this programme. I also have to say that it doesn't really keep my attention, I didn't find it fun enough to keep wanting to come back to it and it made beginning to learn this language seem like a chore. I actually like learning languages and so I was disappointed in this.

Overall this programme is ok but difficult to use. It seems to make learning a language more difficult than it needs to be due to the disjointed structure of the programme and the strange lessons. It is not enjoyable and there must be better programmes out there (and other reviewers have made suggestions that might be worth looking into).

As another reviewer has said, this programme does meet its aim so it is worth 3 stars. However, personally, I cannot give it any further stars as it is too old fashioned, difficult to use and is not fun. Ultimately, I don't want to keep going back to the software as it does seem like hard work rather than something enjoyable that I would want to do with my spare time.
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VINE VOICEon 15 September 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've tried Rosetta Stone, and now Berlitz. The problem it seems with both is that they feel quite aged. The photos, and in Berlitz the video material, look out-dated. Language changes as well as fashion, so if the material hasn't been updated in the last 20 years, then perhaps the language it teaches isn't quite up-to-date either?

The Rosetta Stone approach was to teach you like you were a child, and you would spend an awful lot of time learning childish words. You would therefore need a lot more time to master the language, but one could argue you'd have a wider vocabulary at the end. The Berlitz approach is to teach you only words and phases you will need as a adult, and I prefer this approach. However, the interface is not particularly intuitive, and they have a heavy emphasis on flash cards, which suggests this is an old-style tutorial (pre PC perhaps) that has just been converted for PC display.

There are lots of teaching techniques that would be a lot more fun and memorable on a PC that this system does not offer. I'm therefore not particularly enthused by the product, and it doesn't make me want to keep going back and learn more.
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