Pros:Excellent product for those interested in learning basic to intermediate German...
Cons:Nothing bad to say about the Berlitz people...
The Bottom Line: The CD facilitates the learning experience with interactive graphics, video clips and illustrations...
Learning a new language is always a daunting task, especially as one gets older and the linguistic tasking skills aren't what they used to be. However, the Berlitz people have a tried and true reputation for making a dent in the toughest craniums. Having the luxury of virtual reality in which to simulate the classroom environment with charts, maps and diagrams in the comfort of the student's home, The Learning Company Berlitz German program is the hard learner's dream come true.
It seems the Berlitz people have hooked up with the German publisher Langenscheidt, increasing their marketing appeal to make this one of the most attractive programs available. It includes a Course Book that you can take to school or work with you and practice pronunciation away from home. You can continue sharpening your skills on the tests that help you put all the pieces together.
One of the best ways to get up to speed is to pick up a dictionary at a used book store. Another highly useful tool is a German Verbs book. This will allow you to be creative and put your own scenarios and dialogues together. Most of what is on the CD is geared towards travelers, helping you through your meet-and-greets, finding your luggage, booking a hotel room, ordering food, sightseeing, et cetera. Of course, when you drive through your local German town (the USA was once 50% German), things may not be as cut-and-dried. Most elderly German immigrants are glad to see the next generation preserving the Old Country ways, and they'll be glad to give you some free practice. Yet you may be slightly embarrassed when their Q&A goes past the kitchen-and-garden variety. That's when your pick-and-pull vocabulary may come in handy and take you beyond your Berlitz CD.
For all intents and purposes, however, this CD will get you through routine travel situations and familiarize you with essential sentence structures, nouns and pronouns and their relation to verbs. Most importantly, it will get you used to hearing what the words sound like and allow you to emulate the pronunciation. If you don't have a practice partner, this will prove invaluable in developing your phonetic skills. Another plus is that there are a few voices, male and female, on the tracks, so you're getting to sample different tonalities (although the pronunciations are picture-perfect).
The Course Book is of usual Berlitz quality and is user-friendly, pocket-sized, easy to carry around. It features the color-coded chapters allowing you to flip to a section with relative ease. There's a tiny dictionary in the back but, again, I recommend dropping a couple of books for a standard-size version. Heck, you've already dropped about $20 for the CD.
For travelers, businessmen, or students wanting to expand their horizons and enhance their enjoyment of God's green earth, The Learning Company Berlitz German is well worth the price.
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