Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
Needs a little more work
on 17 September 2011
The Berlitz French programme appears to be exactly the same as the one produced under "Transparent Language".
The keyboard has improved, and on my Mac, automatically switches between the French and English keyboards. However, finding key necessary letters such as those with a circumflex, wasn't easy. The other irritating feature is the raft of Americanisms. Whilst the programme does allow you to permanently amend the spelling, it still grated to be told that a cinéma is actually a movie theater, and a jardin is a yard. It would not take much effort to produce a version more suited to the UK market.
The flashcard system is, though, excellent. This version doesn't allow you to build your own flashcards, but with the ability to refresh stale items, it would be enormously useful to those revising for exams.
The premise behind this programme is that the user is "immersed" in the language. That would work better if there were direct hyperlinks to other French resources. Instead, it feels more as if you are trying to learn a language with very little explanation as to how it works. There are explanations available, but presented in a very dry manner. Overall, I would be concerned that this would be a difficult approach for someone not already familiar with the process of learning a different language.
The programme contains 15 lessons, from initial introductions, to business vocabulary, and 6 conversation lessons to complement topics. It's clearly aimed at the adult user, and teenagers may find the topics less interesting. The lessons take the user into the past and future tense, but this is only to a lower intermediate level in terms of being able to use the language.
Some of the activities are good. I did enjoy the pronounciation activies, Some of the others rely heavily on being able to use the French keyboard effectively, and I had some residual problems with the keyboard, in finding how to add some accents.
I'm not convinced that this programme would be a good introduction to the language for a beginner. As a refresher following learning French at school, it does have some good points, notably the Byki flashcard system, and pronounciation practice. But overall, I'd like to see a bit more work on this before I'd feel comfortable in recommending it to friends.