|Editor's Review Costs & Features User Reviews|
We have awarded Berlitz French Premier our prestigious Bronze Award in this category, having reviewed 25 Teach Yourself French Guides. Read our review below to find out why...
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Berlitz French Premier is a great value Teach Yourself French application from specialists with over 130 years experience of teaching people foreign languages. The software is ideal for anyone right from complete beginners to advanced speakers looking to brush up on their vocabulary and grammar. There is masses of content so that by the time you reach the advanced level you will be able to speak enough French to get by in almost any situation be it work or social. At almost a quarter of the price of some of its competitors Berlitz French Premier is a worthy investment either on its own or as an addition to other courses you are working through.
Berlitz French Premier is available only as a boxed product on CD. It seems a bit old fashioned these days not to offer a download version, but shipping only takes a few days and won't break the bank. When you pop the CD in your computer (Windows or Mac) you will be whizzed through the installation procedure in a matter of minutes then Berlitz French Premier will be ready to use. There's nothing difficult about it at all and the software doesn't require a monster computer to run so don't worry if yours is starting to look a bit old and dusty!
Right from the start you will notice that the user interface Berlitz French Premier provides is great looking and very easy to use. It doesn't have the almost child-like simplicity that some similar software does, but in Berlitz's case this is a good thing as it makes it seem like a much more grown up product while still being very easy to use. One feature we particularly liked was the ability to click on a French word at almost any point in the software and instantly hear how to pronounce it. This is so handy as it saves you searching back for the lesson where you learned that word to remind yourself how to say it.
The lessons in Berlitz French Premier mainly consist of listening to conversations spoken by native French speakers and watching videos of real life scenarios. The audio and video is always complemented by the full text of the conversation so that you learnt to recognise written French at the same time as being able to hear the nuances of the language. The lessons cover everything from basic introductions to nights out with friends and office conversations so will set you up for any situation you might encounter. As a complement to the software a selection of iPod lessons is also included. These are obviously designed to be used on an iPod, but should work on most other mp3 players too. Instead of just being pure audio like most lessons in other products, Berlitz's iPod lessons also consist of pictures and words that will be displayed on your iPod as the lesson plays through. We found these visual cues great for helping us to remember the content of the lessons.
In addition to the course of lessons Berlitz also provides a huge range of Flashcards to help you learn vocabulary. Some might say this is a slightly old fashioned way of learning, but nothing beats repetition for getting words to stick! A selection of interactive games, such as crosswords and missing word games, complement the flashcards to further extend your vocabulary. If you are struggling with pronunciation you can also make use of the speech analysis tool which will record you saying a word and let you compare it with how a native French speaker would say it.
Berlitz French Premier is definitely one of the best value products in our top ten. The amount of content and the quality of software you get for the price is just incredible. Although it can be used just fine on its own, given how cheap Berlitz is we thing it would be a great addition to a course of lessons with a tutor too. Check out the Berlitz web site by following the links on this page to check out French Premier and a range of other excellent products Berlitz offers.
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