|Editor's Review Costs & Features User Reviews|
We have awarded Berlitz English Premier our prestigious Silver Award in this category, having reviewed 16 Teach Yourself English Guides. Read our review below to find out why...
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On the back of 130 years' experience Berlitz English Premier promises to get you started speaking English confidently in just 30 days; a bold claim for a product costing less than $40. Can you really expect to teach yourself English so rapidly for such an attractive price tag? For this one off fee, rather than a subscription, you'll get many features that are offered by more expensive products as well as some that are unique to Berlitz English Premier. These include award winning, cutting edge language learning software, an audio companion, ipod exercises and a vocab building screen saver; more than enough to get you speaking English in no time.
The software uses tried and tested language learning techniques with several interactive twists to build your English ability in speaking, writing, reading and listening. Simple yet comprehensive explanations of grammatical rules give you a framework to which vocab can be added. Here, Berlitz's age old flash card technique helps you memorize thousands of words. Furthermore, upon clicking on the interactive flashcards users can listen to the pronunciation of the word and are even able to slow it down to make out each individual syllable, tone and stress. Berlitz's grammar and vocab learning process is contextualized by interactive audio and multimedia activities with native speakers.
The great thing about Berlitz English Premier's interactive activities are the learning support features that many, far more expensive, competitors lack. You can add notes as you learn and build your own vocab lists allowing you to personalize your Berlitz teach yourself English experience. For example, if you come across a certain grammatical phrase you always get wrong you can make a note of this during the activity and come back to it afterwards for some extra revision. Likewise, that one word that always seems to escape you can be added to your personal vocab list to ensure that next time you won't forget it. As with the flashcards, a simple click will play the word's pronunciation with the option to slow down the playback for enhanced comprehension. Users can then practice their own pronunciation and compare it to that of a native speaker with Berlitz's advanced speech analysis software (a microphone is required). The software also includes varied language games to give you a break from intensive grammar and vocab study. Finally, the language learning does not have to stop at home. Berlitz's audio companion and ipod activities enable you to continue learning without access to your computer or on the move, this is a great way to consolidate what you have learned from the interactive software.
Berlitz, as a patented language learning method, has existed since 1878 and this wealth of experience is reflected in the simple quality of its product. The fact that Berlitz are today the world's number one provider of language training resources with 460 locations in 63 countries (60 in the US alone!) stands testament to this. It must be noted however that the software does lack any kind of system with which users can track their progress which can leave one feeling a little unsure of whether one is actually progressing at all. Also, we found some of the language games not that useful, the speech analysis occasionally unreliable and rather obscure words appearing in the flashcards. Also, when purchasing Berlitz English Premier please be aware of the language of the user interface which is not very well advertised; purchase of a version of the product in a language the user is not familiar with will make it difficult to use.
Despite these minor flaws, lack of a few advanced features and although not as flashy as some competitors, Berlitz English Premier is fantastic value for money. You can teach yourself English in a fun, fast and easy way with equally good, if not better, quality features than most other products in this category. With the peace of mind offered by their 90 day money back guarantee there is no reason not to take that first step towards fluent English by checking out Berlitz English Premier now.
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