Computer language tutor is patient and
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1999. First
published in Toronto Computes,
Auralog Tell Me More
Spanish, French, German, Italian, or English versions
Windows only?requires 30-100 meg drive space, 486-100,
8 megs RAM.
US$60 (about CDN$90)
While too many of us are content to bumble along in a
there?s a whole world out there speaking something different. This
apparent if we travel (both within Canada and outside our borders), and
is especially vital for people who move to a new country and culture.
Having infinite patience, computers would seem an
ideal tool for the
slow task of learning a new language. The addition of sound cards,
and microphones to computers has made it possible for some time to hear
phrases in a different language and record our responses.
More powerful PCs and speech recognition technology
has taken us another
step. Now, our computers can not only record and play back what we say,
but can actually listen to our attempts and provide useful feedback.
Auralog?s Tell Me More series of products offer to
teach your choice
of Spanish, French, German, Italian, and English. Each is a complete
of lessons, including 2,000 exercises and 200 hours of study, with
ranging from crossword puzzles and hangman to word association to
and conversations. (Can you call it conversation when you?re talking to
The series was developed in Europe, with support from
the French Ministry
of Education and the European Commission and has won a number of
including the Europrix 98 as Europe?s best multimedia product, and
MIM Mutimedia Trade Fair?s Golden CD-ROM.
Tell Me More is deserving of these awards. It is well
and fun and easy to use. Conversations start with display of a photo
a character asking you a question. You hear the question, and can read
it on screen. You are presented with three possible choices, again,
on screen. Pick one and say it aloud?the computer tries to understand
pronunciation. If it succeeds, the conversation continues. If you need
help, the computer will say the phrase and show you a voice-graph of
it?s supposed to sound.
Now it?s your turn?and your graph is displayed for
Because you?re working with a computer, you don?t need
to be afraid
of mangling your pronunciation. And you can focus on individual words
any time, just by right-clicking on them.
The program rewards success with applause and
rarely happens in the real world.