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$172.99 list($195.00)
21. Rosetta Stone Russian Personal
$194.99 $174.88 list($195.00)
22. Rosetta Stone German Personal
$194.99 list($195.00)
23. Rosetta Stone Polish Personal
$172.99 list($195.00)
24. Rosetta Stone Vietnamese Personal
$172.99 list($195.00)
25. Rosetta Stone Chinese Personal
$34.99 list($59.99)
26. Writer's Dreamkit 4
$194.99 list($195.00)
27. Rosetta Stone Arabic Personal
$194.99 $174.88 list($195.00)
28. Rosetta Stone Danish Personal
$172.99 list($195.00)
29. Rosetta Stone Japanese Personal
$194.99 list($195.00)
30. Rosetta Stone Korean Personal
$34.99 list($39.99)
31. Route 66 Route USA 2004 (Mac)
$26.99 list($49.99)
32. Instant Immersion American Sign
$194.99 $174.88 list($195.00)
33. Rosetta Stone Swahili Personal
$15.55 list($39.99)
34. Learn Italian Now! 9.0
$194.99 $174.88 list($195.00)
35. Rosetta Stone English Personal
$29.95
36. SmartFrench CD-ROM 1
$19.69 list($39.99)
37. Learn Spanish Now! 9.0
$194.99 $174.88 list($195.00)
38. Rosetta Stone Portuguese Personal
$79.99 $74.83
39. Route 66 Route Europe 2004 (Mac)
$94.99 $89.81 list($119.99)
40. Movie Magic Contracts

21. Rosetta Stone Russian Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $172.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004YUGO
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 475
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The ONLY worthwhile language learning software!
The Rosetta Stone series of language instruction software is "Pimsleur" level of effectiveness and unfortunately, Pimsleur level cost as well.

The programs work on a total immersion basis, with no English used at all. There are several types of drills, ones where you hear a word or sentence and pick it out of a group of pictures, another where you read the text of the word and pick out the pictures, etc. There are also typing drills in your language to help you spell (without having to download special fonts), pronounciation drills that allow you to hear a word, speak it to your computer and hear your voice in comparison to the native speaker played back to you.

This is the first program of it's type I've found where this feature actually works!

I own both German and Russian 1 and 2. There is a LOT to learn here, especially if you do all the types of drills for each lesson. You learn grammar from inference, such as word endings when the subject is "in" something rather than "on" or "under" it. You see the same endings used, compare them with the pictures and you start to recognize patterns.

But one of the best things about this software is the user interface. Since it's an immersion program, there's no English used and by it's very nature needs to be intuitive. This is how it should be done. I've used other types of language software that had a klunky, confusing interface with features that didn't work, etc. None of that is the case with the Rosetta Stone software.

On another note, I switched to Mac about nine months ago and Fairfield Language Technologies sent me out a new Mac OS X systems disc for free, no questions asked. At this price level you'd think this would be commonplace, but it's not. Adobe allowed me to change from PC to OS X when I upgraded from Photoshop 6 to 7, but Macromedia wouldn't and expected me to buy all new software (I didn't). So kudos to FLT for their stellar customer service!

Is it too expensive? I'd say yes, but this is a serious language learning tool for serious self students, and it's a lot cheaper than classes at the U. The axiom is true with both this and the Pimsleur method tapes; you get what you pay for.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great! Help me so much!
It is a great way to learn or review. It makes you learn by seeing a picture and than remembering what it means. It works very well, I used this product at school and it's worked beautifully for me. I had been trouble remembering the pronocation or the spelling of the words, I used this for a couple of times a week. And it helped wonderfully for me.

First its in sections with listening, reading, and translating by pictures or them telling you. The great thing is you can repeat it as many times as you want or you can just click the little icon on the right of the screen and see the answers so your not clueless.

It seperated by units, like one unit would be food or going to the supermarket another unit could be what you do on the weekends like 'I like to sit home and read'. It helps you have conversations with the people and even helps you by testing you at the end of each unit. (And it has many many units ranging from just listening and reading or listening and seeing the picture and repeating it.)

The flaw is that if you are a beginner it would be a Little challenging since it speaks to you a bit faster, hard to understand most of the words. But it makes up for it with some units by viewing the sentance from above.

It's a great program, above much others.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent program with a few drawbacks
This program is a fun and fast way to start recognizing Russian words and sentences. You learn by hearing and seeing written cues along with photographs that represent various concepts. Click on the correct photograph and get a rewarding sound and move forward. It is intuitive, and you will find that you recognize a great deal very quickly.

There are a few drawbacks to the program, however. Because the program teaches using photographs, it is difficult to show that "I" am doing something or "you" are doing something. Most of the sentences, therefore, are in the third person. This is a challenge when you go to speak to someone and find that most of your conversation would be in the first and second person.

The other drawback is that there is no explanation of the grammar, and no translation of new vocabulary. I use this program with a Russian/English dictionary at my side. I understand that the point is that you learn the word for a concept rather than a translation, which is a better way to learn. On the other hand, it is not always clear what the photograph is trying to convey. For example, a photograph of a 1950s vintage green car has a word you have learned to be car, and an adjective. I had no idea what it was getting at until I looked up the adjective to see that it meant "old." Occasionally you might get an answer wrong because you mistook the action in the photo not because you didn't understand the grammar. It's not a major problem, but you do feel a bit cheated when it happens!

Also, it would be useful to have a function that would allow you to look up a grammatical rule behind new vocabulary so that you could not only hear that a certain ending is being added, but have an explanation of why it is being added.

Overall, however, I would recommend this program for its ease of use. It makes you feel that you're making progress very quickly, which helps get you past some of the discouragement you can sometimes face with a text book full of declensions.

I'd recommend using it with a good Russian/English dictionary and the book Master The Basics Russian which has good grammar charts.

5-0 out of 5 stars You will really learn.. more than you realize...
I've edited my original review since I've used this software for over a year now... see below...

From my original review: you don't have to be a "rocket scientist" to learn with this product. It actually makes learning FUN, and you don't even realize you are learning as you are using it... and yet I find after using it, the retention of the things I've learned is excellent. It has a very intuitive interface, and you are given examples such as "The boy runs" and then shown a picture of a woman dancing, a man walking, a boy running, and a dog jumping... simply select the right picture... or shown a picture and you select the right phrase that goes with that picture... a chime or applause or "winning sound" indicates a right choice, a buzzer or a sigh sounds if you are wrong... you can choose which sound you want to hear, or let the program select the right/wrong sounds at random... Well, before you know it, you are actually learning using pictures and ideas... the same way you learned your own language way back when...

Update a year later and three trips to Russia, a 4th one planned:

Since I first bought this product I've made 3 trips to Russia and made many Russian friends. They have all complimented me on how well I pronounce my spoken Russian. Also, I'll say that while this program did not make me ~fluent~ in Russian, it certainly gave me many words to use that helped me out in every day situations. And I did not even realize how MUCH of this software I was absorbing, until I was actually there IN Russia and speaking with Russians, and then the "images" associated with the sounds and the words and the dialogs in this program were just ~there~ for me.

Yes, I've also found it is handy to have a pocket dictionary handy (on occasion) to look up some of the words when you first encounter them.

However I totally disagree about needing grammatical syntax. That is the LAST thing you want to involve yourself in when you are first exposing yourself to a new language.

Yes, once you begin to know a language, it's definitely important, but if I hadn't gotten the "head start" on learning how to speak and how to read and how to pronounce Russian, as I did with this product, then I wouldn't have made the progress I did.

I notice that one other person prefers the Learning Russian Now! product instead of the Rosetta Stone.

I bought that product too, and as a pure BEGINNER, that product was way over and beyond my abilities at the time. It was way too much to deal with as a beginner learning Russian and just totally frustrated me to the max.

This product will give you a good sound basis to advance your Russian language skills from.

Without having used this product first, a more complex or complicated product, such as one that introduces grammatical rules or complex series of dialogs, would have been way over my head, and would have only frustrated me.

My advice? If you are beginning from Square One learning Russian, start with this product and then move up to more complex products only after you've achieved BASIC skills and abilities in Russian.

And Rosetta Stone will give you those in a fascinating, addictive, FUN environment. A year later and it's STILL fun and I've learned many things going back over the earlier lessons I thought I had down cold. You learn more grammar and syntax than you are even ~aware~ of learning, and that's another reason why this product is so good! ... Read more


22. Rosetta Stone German Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $194.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004YUGN
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 869
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The ONLY worthwhile language learning software!
The Rosetta Stone series of language instruction software is "Pimsleur" level of effectiveness and unfortunately, Pimsleur level cost as well.

The programs work on a total immersion basis, with no English used at all. There are several types of drills, ones where you hear a word or sentence and pick it out of a group of pictures, another where you read the text of the word and pick out the pictures, etc. There are also typing drills in your language to help you spell (without having to download special fonts), pronounciation drills that allow you to hear a word, speak it to your computer and hear your voice in comparison to the native speaker played back to you.

This is the first program of it's type I've found where this feature actually works!

I own both German and Russian 1 and 2. There is a LOT to learn here, especially if you do all the types of drills for each lesson. You learn grammar from inference, such as word endings when the subject is "in" something rather than "on" or "under" it. You see the same endings used, compare them with the pictures and you start to recognize patterns.

But one of the best things about this software is the user interface. Since it's an immersion program, there's no English used and by it's very nature needs to be intuitive. This is how it should be done. I've used other types of language software that had a klunky, confusing interface with features that didn't work, etc. None of that is the case with the Rosetta Stone software.

On another note, I switched to Mac about nine months ago and Fairfield Language Technologies sent me out a new Mac OS X systems disc for free, no questions asked. At this price level you'd think this would be commonplace, but it's not. Adobe allowed me to change from PC to OS X when I upgraded from Photoshop 6 to 7, but Macromedia wouldn't and expected me to buy all new software (I didn't). So kudos to FLT for their stellar customer service!

Is it too expensive? I'd say yes, but this is a serious language learning tool for serious self students, and it's a lot cheaper than classes at the U. The axiom is true with both this and the Pimsleur method tapes; you get what you pay for.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great program
I really liked this program and highly recommend it.
Two things though:
1. You need a dictionary
The small booklet only contains the text of the course in its original language
2. If you are sure you want to buy Level 1 then do NOT buy the Explorer. The Explorer is merely a subset of Level 1.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good program
I started using this program so that I can learn German. I live in a Dutch speaking home and Dutch was my first language. Since the two languages are very similar I decided to begin learning German. The program is very good, although translations would be helpful, and if the grammar was explained. Also it would be nice if they introduced the definite articles with each noun introduced in the vocabulary, this would make it much easier instead of having to eventually figure out the noun gender. But all in all this program is quite good to learn basic German, move on to the second version of this program to learn more advanced things.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great, but an option with translations would have been nice.
This program is the best I have run into for learning a foreign language. It starts with basic German words and pictures, to which is added other words and pictures so that one learns phrases and then eventually sentences. Your mind associates the sound and spelling of a word(s) with a picture representing the word(s), and in this way you learn intuitively instead of having to think or translate. A few pictures, however, can be interpreted in more than one way, and it would have helped to have had an option that allowed one to view a translation. When I was unsure of the meaning of a certain word based on the picture, I used a dictionary and this solved the problem. The different sections in each lesson interactively teach you how to read, listen, speak, and write. For example, you will hear and/or read something and you will have to match what you hear/read to the one of the pictures shown. If you match it correctly you hear a pleasant sound and continue. If you match it incorrectly you hear an annoying sound and you try again until you get it right. For the writing section you hear words associated with a picture that is shown. One of the writing exercises consists of choosing the right words in the right order and another consists of typing in the correct word, phrase or sentence off the top of your head. I liked the speaking section because you can listen to German spoken at a normal speed, a slow speed and an even slower speed: the slow speed helped me hear better how words were pronounced so that I was more confident when attempting to imitate them. This personal edition level 1 course teaches you just basic German. You end up learning to ask and answer questions like "how do I get to the train station?" You also end up learning grammar intuitively. The reasons this program works well I think is: because you learn language naturally through pictures; because it does a good job building from the basics; and finally, because it tests you a lot. I had fun using it because it tests you continually and I like getting "Skinnerian" positive feedback every time I answer something correctly. It's a great way to begin learning German, but I recommend buying a dictionary in case you feel you have to look up a word or two. ... Read more


23. Rosetta Stone Polish Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $194.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005APYR
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 966
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more


24. Rosetta Stone Vietnamese Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $172.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005APYW
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 1162
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Minh noi tieng viet!
The Rosetta Stone products are great. I have bought Vietnamese level 1 and Japanese level 1 and 2. I consider vietnamese to be a much more difficult language to learn since it is a tonal language.
This software helped me a lot and now I am even able to chat on the internet with vietnamese people. However, don't think that this software is all you need to learn the language. Since there are no translations(it is only based on pictures, sounds and text in vietnamese) I had to use several dictionaries to help me through the lessons. In this page is a nice and free dictionary for ...And I also recommend a dictionary such as The Rough Guide Vietnamese dictionary where at the beginning is a reference to the basics of the language. This is where you might want to start before studying the lessons in the RS Vietnamese I.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great product
This is a great way of learning a language and I highly recommend it. It works for me and I have fun doing so.
Remember that this is a software program and you have to sit at your computer. The small booklet that comes with it only contains the text of the course in its original language, there is no translation of the text. I suggest you also buy a dictionary (I bought Langenscheidt's Pocket Dictionary which I like).
If you are sure you want Level 1 then do NOT buy the Explorer. The Explorer contains a subset of Level 1. Unfortunately I was mislead because most people who bought Level 1 also bought the Explorer. ... Read more


25. Rosetta Stone Chinese Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $172.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004YUGQ
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 3094
Average Customer Review: 3.25 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars More valuable than meets the eye!!!
Does it "teach? Yes and no. If your native language is English, the Rosetta Stone method is an acquired taste, since it uses no English, or any other language for that matter, to teach. And you'll find it more difficult than the traditional word memorization method.

HOWEVER, the pronunciation and the listening value of Rosetta Stone Chinese is superb! I cannot emphasize enough how important good voice actors can be for language learning software. China is a very large country with many different dialects. Having a proper northern accent is like the difference of having a Hollywood accent and a Texas redneck accent. The voice actors are the best I've ever heard, and a zillion times better than Wenlin's voice actors.

5 out of 5 stars! Not just because they have good voice actors, but because they have IMPECCABLE voice actors. I've been learning Chinese Mandarin for over 6 years, and my native language is English. This is the only software that will get rid of your accent, if you don't have time to travel to China.

3-0 out of 5 stars Sad difference between this and the sample.
I bought the Rosetta Stone Powerpack. It has a bunch of different languages to choose from. I got to the end of the Manderin lessons. Each of the Samples has 2 levels with 10 lessons. So I bought THIS package, which has 8 levels, so I could continue.
I already took some classes in Bei Jing, so my Chinese is not too bad, but this tought me some more things. The powerpack is great. It is very simple to learn from. It shows a girl, and says "female person", a boy, and says "male person". Short and simple. AND they talk slow, so you can understand every word. And as you progress, they add new things to it.
This Personal Edition is not ADDED levels. It is all new lessons. The speakers are different. The words are different. They seem to use to Bei Jing Way of speaking, not the Proper Way of speaking. They have all these RRRR sounds to things. Boy child is "Non Hie", but in Bei Jing they say "Non Har". ONLY in Bei Jing they use this. Poor Choice for such a big sofware package.
And the first lesson, first page, is no longer "Boy Child", "Girl child", "Boy Adult", "Girl adult". That is simple and easy to understand. Instead, they say "That is a Boy Child" "That is a Girl Child". How is anyone supposed to pick that many words up so quickly? And Chinese use measure words (kind of like La, Los, Le in other Europe Languages, but in Chinese there are about a hundred of them) so how are we suposed to figure this stuff out in the first lesson on the first page?
Also... They talk as fast as someone on the street. Blazing through each sentence, so you can not make out the tone, or even the pronunciation.
Even if you have some Chinese background, this is a hard package. It gives an advanced speaker new ways of saying things, but the beginer is better off getting the Power Pack, and the Instant Immersion Chinese 2 CD set. Also look ... for CyberChinese ... This is a computer version of one of my text books at school: Practical Chinese Reader.
Also get Basic Chinese : A Grammar and Workbook by Yip Po-Ching. I can not say enough good things about this book. It is the best reference book around, and super handy when taking a class, or learing with a computer.
Good luck, and Zai Jin!

1-0 out of 5 stars The stupidest system ever sold
The computer based speech recognition is fantastic and makes duplicating the nuances of the chinese language easier. But the fact that the computer system and accompaning texts give you no, absolutely no, english translation is the stupidest mistake ever made by a teaching system. Rosetta says it interferes with the "full emersion" system of learning. They forget that full emersion is when you go live in the community and can constantly receive feedback on sentence structure, meaning and tense.

For instance, the standard Rosetta first lesson show a picture of a girl and a spoken phrase in chinese to match the picture. You can also see the picture and a chinese character phrase or pinyin english phrase. But nowhere is there an english translation of the phrase you are learning. So you do not know from just seeing a picture of a girl whether you are saying, "this is a girl", "a girl", "girl", "I am a girl", or "you are a girl".

My chinese speaking friends had to explain to me the phrase meant girl in the singular form and that the singular form was typical for all "feminine" objects.

I have called Rosetta and there is no english translation available when it would only cost them cents to reproduce. Do not buy this system unless you have a chinese tutor available to you.

4-0 out of 5 stars The easy way to learn chinese
I have been a litlle sceptic when I purchased this product but after having been using it for a year I am amazed by the progress I made. With the Rosetta Stone can I not only learn the vocabulary it also forces you to think in the language and to repeat phrases. The different features enable you to chose speaking reading or wrting excersices, in order for you to work on all of these skills seperately until you are satisfied. Why no five stars? Well unfortunately there's no way of learning Chinese Kalligraphy on the computer so the only writing excersices are in pinyin which uses the latin alphabeth. But on the whole I can recommend this product to everyone who wants to learn Chinese! ... Read more


26. Writer's Dreamkit 4
list price: $59.99
our price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004TYC7
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 273
Average Customer Review: 3.05 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

If you're looking for a writing package that provides guidance but isn't overbearing, the Writer's DreamKit package from Dramatica is a great solution. This package is targeted at beginning to intermediate writers, and attempts to get you involved in working out the mechanics of your story before you even begin writing it.

You'll get started with the StoryGuide: the central location for establishing your "storyform" and structure. You can work with the StoryGuide either directly or by creating scenes, but either way, the creative work done in this portion will be tracked and available in all other parts of the application. For the fastest route, you can start with one of three structure templates: novel, screenplay, or short story. In these templates, the essential characters are already created. Using these in conjunction with the StoryGuide gives a writer both efficiency and flexibility.

One of the strongest features of the StoryGuide, however, is the Dramatica Query System. This system offers aquestion and answer approach to storyforming, and allows you to focus on one element, relationship, or idea at a time. In the DQS, the questions may be very straightforward or somewhat indirect; regardless, newer writers will appreciate the help buttons that appear for each question, offering an explanation, the theory behind the question, usage, illustrations, definitions, context, and story examples.

If aquestion and answer bombardment or too much structure is not your thing, you can find relief in the Story Engine, which offers a more holistic and freeform approach to identifying your storyform. The Story Engine does lack help, which makes it more suitable for experienced users, and also looks somewhat daunting on the first few uses. However, it also is the quickest way to get to your underlying structure.

While the Writer's DreamKit is somewhat linear in progression, there are many opportunities to diverge from the standard path. You can create characters, one of the most enjoyable parts of the creative process, at any time. You'll do more than just assign a name and a few stock attributes: you'll build your people from scratch (or from a template) and instill in them the complex characteristics that will guide them through your story.

If you've never taken a creative writing class or are looking to refresh your skills, the Writer's DreamKit definitely offers a great foundation for structuring your story. However, it's still up to you to write your great American novel or the next box office hit. --Emilie Dirks ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars If you're serious about writing then this is for you!
I've been writing for a while now, and am enrolled in a correspondence course, and although I am learning a lot, this Dreamkit helped me so much more than I could have imagined! It is easy to use, and helps you see where your story is going, and where it needs work. It takes the guess work out of your story. I highly recommend this to anyone who is serious about their writing! The templates are easy to use and understand. The Query system takes you through some questions about your plot, characters and scene structure and helps you consider things you may not have thought of. It shows you your beginning, middle, and end, so that you can get to writing your story faster. It even has a character builder, so you can visualize your characters. The Dreamkit will not write your story for you, but it is of imense help. Move over Writer's Block! The users manual is a bit vague, but half the fun of this was in finding all the goodies on my own! It is fun and easy to use. It is money well spent!!

1-0 out of 5 stars Stressful and irritating format
I found that this program did not help me at all. The format is very irritating and confusing. It is hard to learn to use it and I am a professional computer programmer. Once I did learn it, I found thhere is not much there. It is very limiting and in many ways stifles creative flow.

I would reccomend trying Storycraft instead, which I found to be helpful and user intuitive.

1-0 out of 5 stars Just sit down and write.
Want to waste a lot of time when you could be writing your masterpiece? Buy this "program". Face the facts: There simply is no software that's going to write a book for you or anyone else, including me. I screwed around for several days with this thing. Then I got the final print out of "how" I should write my novel. It was impossible for me to follow the "guidelines" provided. They simply did not pertain to the way I wanted to write my story. I tried to imagine some of my favorite books having been written using the generic guidelines the program produced. It assumes that all fiction novel writing is generic and takes the form that the producer of the program dictates. I feel that each and every successful fiction writer has their own individual writing traits and point of view on how they themselves (not F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Mark Twain, John Grisham, etc, etc) should produce a work of art. JUST WRITE! Don't give up. That's my free advice and it's worth more than anything this software has to offer.

2-0 out of 5 stars Waste of money
When I first ordered the product I couldn't wait for it to come in the mail, but after receiving it I must say I am disappointed. I am a beginner and I have purchased three books on writing and was very pleased with all three of them. So with a brand new Dell computer with a matching laptop, reference books, a good dictionary, and good old microsoft word I was as ready as ready could be to begin my novel. I think I let the word template rope me into this product. I thought a template was a formatted blank form that would get me started and I found this product very confusing and mind boggling. I do not want to discourage anyone from purchasing it but if I had it to do again I would not have made the purchase, however I am thankful that I did not pay a whole lot for it and I will just have to chalk it up to a loss. I have thought about looking into purchasing another product such as this one but why get burned a second time. I think I will stick to the guide books, microsoft word, and my imagination and who knows, perhaps in the future this product may help me but for now I am rather disappointed. I could have made my own template with the books I had purchased. This product was a waste of time and money in my opinion. I didn't expect it to write my novel for me but to do like it said and hold my hand and guide me thorough with a "template".

3-0 out of 5 stars a little stressful
I think I would have been very pleased with this product except for a problem that developed on my computer after I installed the software. I have windows xp and after I installed the software a serious error occured on my computer. I had never had a problem with my computer before I installed it. ... Read more


27. Rosetta Stone Arabic Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $194.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005APYM
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 1877
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The addition of the curriculum text manual is great!
I bought the Arabic Level 1 edition soon after using the "Explorer" version. To my great relief, Level 1 includes a 200 page text which provides all the written Arabic screen prompts used throughout the program, in two formats no less, modern standard without the short vowels as well as fully-vowelled. This really beats trying to copy down everything by hand for study notes. As the lack of this text was the only shortcoming I found with Explorer, I am now a very happy camper. The other reviewer comments on Level 1 are right on the money as far as I am concerned.

5-0 out of 5 stars It can be done!
Tell most souls spawn from an academic mileu that you want to learn Arabic on your own and you'll get a wry smile and a patronizing mental-pat on the head. Ignore the nay-sayers! As the above reviewer mentioned, this program is a vital tool for Arabic self-study. Along with it, I recommend purchasing "Alif Baa" along with the Cd's to learn the script. Also pick up Wehr's dictionary along with the 'Oxford English to Arabic' dictionary. Around lesson 4.05 of the Rosetta program, you've reached the point where you're ready for some supplementary material. So far, your approach to the language has been passive, and if you have a desire to write in the language, as well as understand long strands of verbal narrative, you'll need more material. I recommend Vol. 1-2 of Al-Kitaab [the 'red' book] along with the accompanying Cd's. Also, if you have a thirst for grammer and more traditional structure, try "Elementary Modern Standard Arabic" [the orange book] Vols. 1-2. You can also purchase a marvelous software program entitled "Emsa Companion" that is critical for those covering the material on their own [see creativeworks.byu.edu/HRC/arabic.html]. Learning a colloquial dialect can also be fun--and critical if you need to find a toilet while touring the Middle East. Try 'Levantine Arabic for Non-natives' (see the reviews before buying.) There's so much more, but I grow weary of the keyboard. Master this material and you'll be well on your way. It may sound expensive, but it's far cheaper than a couple of semester of school. Adieu

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent addition to other study materials!
I've just started to learn Arabic in August of this year and have done a lot of looking around for materials to help me. I've read all the reviews on the Rosetta Stone software and have begun using this product. My opinion:

This is a fun tool to help you acquire vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and see how the language works. Some people don't like the fact that there are no English translations anywhere, but I actually enjoy the total immersion because it becomes a puzzle for me to figure out. It keeps me studying longer than if I was just looking at a bunch of flash cards. And since there aren't many Arabic speakers in my neck of the woods, the speech recognition part is indispensible.

Yes, sometimes it's hard to tell exactly what meaning the picture is conveying. That's when I pull out a dictionary and look the word up to confirm my guess as to the meaning. And it's not going to teach you phrases you need for travel, either. I have a pocket phrasebook and a Pimsleur CD for that.

Also, I wouldn't recommend that a rank beginner start right off the bat with this. First learn the alphabet and how the script works, because this won't teach you those things. But once you get a little feel for those things, then this would be a fun addition to your program.

No book or tape or software product can ever replace talking with native speakers, but for those of us who can't get to native speakers, this is a darn good 2nd choice.

Highly recommended so long as you understand that it is one of several tools to use to learn the language.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rosetta Stone works
I've always thought learning a new language would be impossible. I'm not disciplined enough to go over vocabulary lists over and over. The way Rosetta Stone's program is laid out has made it very easy to use. You just sit back and click. You'll be suprised at how fast you'll pick stuff up. It's almost as easy as watching TV. If you're lazy or a dummy,or both, and want to pick up a language; then I recommend you get this. ... Read more


28. Rosetta Stone Danish Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $194.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006AVCU
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 1927
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more


29. Rosetta Stone Japanese Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $172.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004YUGP
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 609
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars YOURE PAYING FOR A LOT OF CONFUSION.
This is a well meaning program that will leave you with nothing but doubt and unanswered questions.

Fairfield uses a "picture to words to sound" method for teaching different languages. This is an excellent way to teach a language. It lets the user hear proper pronunciation while seeing the proper spelling (romanized or japanese) for the word. They also slap a picture of the subject so you can achieve a visual connection with the word or words mentioned. That's it, and thats where lies the problem. There is no confirmation in English to what you just learned. This leads to doubt because you don't know if the picture matches the word 100%. You cant make the vital connection between the Japanese word and the English one. To make matters worse not all the picture are crystal clear as to what is being refered to. Anyone who has studied Japanese knows what a difficult language it is to grasp and Fairfield thinks that you can just jump into it with this poorly thought out program. I don't know how well this method works in other languages but it fails in Japanese without that English reasurance. So in closing :

1. Dont be fooled by the "impressive" list of users of this program.
2. The poor structure of this program will leave you confused and reaching for your dictionary more than you'll be able to stand.
3. The price of this software package is ridiculous for what you get. It doesn't make $en$e.

2-0 out of 5 stars Will not give you proper education
You learn the language through immersion. The software immediately presents you with a set of pictures, along with their japanese text and pronounciation, and you have to match the text with the pictures. The text are available in romanji, kana, and kanji. There are no english explanations at all.

First, if you're serious about learning japanese, you have to learn how to read and write kana, and this product gives you nothing in terms of learning kana/kanji. If you leave the text set at kana or kanji, you will be hopelessly lost. If you set the text at romanji, you will be looking at the romanized version of the japanese text, which is useless because you won't see romanji anywhere in Tokyo.

Second, you can pretty much guess at the right answer by process of elimination. The software isn't "smart" enough to deduce that you've actually understood the images presented to you. Also, some of the images are ambiguous. It's possible that you misinterpret the picture and end up with the wrong definition.

Third, this software is horribly slow. You will learn very little after hours of use, and in the end, you will have little or no grammatical knowledge at all.

Given the price of this product, I do not recommend it at all. I suggest you spend your money on the Pimsleur series. They are also expensive, but they will give you a solid foundation to speaking japanese properly. I suggest buying the Japanese for Busy people Kana workbook for learning Kana.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Software but takes Patience
You know that a child doesn't learn a language overnight. However they do learn their first language with out anyone really explaing to them what this word or that word means.

This program uses the same concept of learning. You learn by looking at pictures and actions, and you try to understand what is going on and attribute that to the sound that you hear.

Overall this is great!! It works, and is very comprehensive however it takes alot of patience and work.

If you want to learn a language fast and don't need to know so many words then this program is not for you. However if you don't mind waiting and going through many lessons, and getting a comprehensive understand of the language then this program is for you.

In the end it really depends on your needs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best language software I have seen so far
The way this software works is simple. It shows you four pictures and gives you a word or phrase describing each. Then it will ask you to match up pictures and phrases. Later sets of pictures build on vocabulary learned in earlier lessons to build up more complex phrases.

The user interface is one of the easiest to use I've seen, and the sound and picture quality are better than I've seen from other language software. The reason I really like this software though is that it is the easiest and most effective learning method I've found. Rather than trying to memorize words, you hear them used in a bunch of different contexts until their use becomes natural. Also, this method is much better for developing listening comprehension than other methods, which are often mostly visual.

This software doesn't explain any grammar rules. It merely tries to provide enough examples that they can be inferred from use. I find that having a grammar reference that I can refer to in addition to this software really helps with the trickier bits of the Japanese language, although for many things it is unnecessary.

Overall, this software is expensive, but if you are serious about learning Japanese, I would say it is definitely worth the price. ... Read more


30. Rosetta Stone Korean Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $194.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005APYQ
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 4488
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Product is awful
Two main flaws which caused me to return the product:

1) Interface is shoddy at best. I was never able to start a drill lesson in the middle by skipping pages. If I returned to a prior lesson, I had to click on answers in order to advance, instead of being able to move forward as the interface supposedly should work.

2) Much more importantly, there were grammar mistakes in the product. My wife is native Korean. During the first lesson, the product tries to teach you the words/concept of "above" and "underneath". My wife and 4 of her friends who are also native Koreans all listened to the drill and they all said that the phraseology would never ever be spoken by a Korean. They said that the phrasehology was actually incorrect.

Other than that, while I echo the other comments about the navigation being unclear, I did think that the drills would help one learn vocabulary words.

2-0 out of 5 stars Marginal Interface and Hard copy Materials
This program completely lacks a structured approach to learning the Hangul alphabet and completely lacks the ability to teach ANY Hangul using the keyboard. Some of their other programs have this ability, but not the Korean one.

Also, the teaching approach is completely by example using photos with no explanation of sentence structure, culture, etc. If you wanted to use it and repeat the lessons over and over and over you could probably learn the material, but the overall interface on the thing is lacking.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm having a blast...
I bought this software because my nephew is adopted from South Korea. He doesn't know Korean, but I know someday he'll grow up to probably have some interest in his heritage, and I thought it would be a cool thing if I knew a little Korean by that time.

I worried about blowing such a wad of cash on this software, but I took a risk, and I've been very happy with what I got. I'm still in the first "unit," so I have a long long way to go before I can actually speak or understand any real Korean, but I have found the exercises entertaining, and I have discovered that the knowledge does stick. Learning anything is hard; learning a foreign language so very different from English is super-hard, and learning it as an adult is downright daunting, but I'm finding that I'm not worried about that, and I'm just enjoying being exposed to something totally new.

I think this software could definitely benefit from some better directions; since everything is in Korean, you have to learn even the basics of navigating the lessons just by doing, and I found that a little frustrating at first, since I was already feeling pretty overwhelmed by the weird language. And there are lessons where they're going over the difference between boy and girl, man and woman, and sometimes the photos aren't clear enough to tell what gender the subject is. I have also found some sort of bug in the written exercises, where you can click in one frame and it'll react as if you clicked in another, but that doesn't go wrong very often.

I've had the software about two weeks. If you're in a rush to be able to ask the way to the bathroom on your upcoming vacation to Korea, this isn't the right approach for you. But if you're looking for a fun way to stimulate your mind and to learn something interesting and new while you do it, this is ideal.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worse Product EVER!
This was the MOST useless product I have ever used in my life. I've been studying the Korean language for almost 4 years now but had absolutely no clue what was going on with this software! I can't imagine anyone being able to gain or further language skills with this ... I can't believe that any company would claim such a shoddy product or have the gumption to charge [amount] for it. Run away from this software as fast as you can. ... ... Read more


31. Route 66 Route USA 2004 (Mac)
list price: $39.99
our price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00013MS7O
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Route 66
Sales Rank: 477
Average Customer Review: 2.39 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Door-to-door route planning for the United States and Canada
  • Over 7,300,000 miles of road; 4,000,000+ points of interest
  • Over 6,500,000 streets; 75,000,000+ house numbers
  • GPS-compatible; new up-to-date maps
  • Multi-lingual user interface including Spanish

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Product With Some Need For Improvements
This product isn't perfect, but it's quite good considering this is the first time I've seen it and could not find any mapping software for OS X a year ago.

The interface is a little strange, but once you get used to it, it seems fine.

The detail of the maps seems very good, although some out-of-the-way small towns (with a few hundred people) may have little to no detail. It did, however, find two addresses that Yahoo Maps and MS Streets had no record of, which I thought was impressive.

One thing that most mapping software is horrible at is printing options -- the options for Route 66 I thought were very good.

The redraw speed while *scrolling* (not zooming in/out) was a little slow and could probably be easily fixed with an update that cached surrounding map details better. No matter how much detail I had turned on or what my zoom level was, it never took more than 1.5 seconds to redraw while scrolling. This may depend on how fast your computer is and how much memory you have -- I have 1.1gb of RAM and Route 66 was using 212mb according to "top" (command line resource reporter).

The GPS compatibility is nice, but haven't tried it yet -- I need to find a USB cable for my eMap GPS.

This software is very much worth supporting since I know of no other mapping software for the Mac currently and this software costs $35-$40. In my opinion, it's worth every penny of the $40 I paid for it.

1-0 out of 5 stars 3 thumbs down
i was a user of MS streets and trips, and belive that it was the one thing MS did correctly and i am shocked to say that not only is the mac competition (RT66) lacking, but simply not worth using. RT66 makers should be ashamed and do not deserve to be among mac and its usual integrity.

2-0 out of 5 stars Pretty awful...
I recently switched to Mac from PC and so I'm coming from a background of MS Streets and Trips, and Autroute.

In comparison to the MS offerings, the Rt66 product are, well, kind of a joke. I purchased both the US and European versions (they're the only game in town for Mac.)

The maps are drawn (slowly) in such a way that they are quite unclear. They are also kind of incomplete. It couldn't find my old house (11 years old) only the street. It doesn't even know the 4 year old subdivision I live in exists.

Smaller towns are really hard to find. I searched for Carrie, Idaho (near Sun Valley) and the search engine came up empty. So I scrolled over to where I know it is and finally found the name of the town spread out over a general area and superimposed with another word in the same font.

From an overview position on the map, there was no indication at all where exactly the town was. I knew, though, so I zoomed in on the area. It took until I was at a 2000 foot distance before the streets began showing up. Street names didn't appear until 500 feet. If that doesn't mean anything to you, think about reading a map with your nose an inch from it.

So, in a nutshell, if you know exactly where a town is and are familiar with all the streets, you may be able to find it on their map. How useful...

How did MS Streets do? It found Carrie immediately, displayed it clearly, and showed all the streets from an impressive distance.

Overall, a pretty dismal product. I'm looking into a Windows emulator to allow me to run Streets and Autoroute, but I'm guessing that it'll be too much trouble and I'll just suffer with these. If anyone out there is a programmer--here's a nice opportunity for you...

2-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre
I bought this software because, well, it was the only one available for OS X. This is beta stage software at best - it doesn't tend to crash, but the UI is really poor. It is as if 12 different people wrote different pieces of the program and then tried to cobble them together. Nothing is very intuitive, and things that should be simple are cumbersome. The routes are sometimes often adequate, but not infrequently poor choices or just wrong. For instance, I tried to plot a route from Durham to Salisbury, MD. I had a nearly impossible time 'forcing' it to choose the most logical/shortest/fastest route. It continually tried to send me 100 mi. out of my way. Even when I roadblocked all of the roads it wanted to send me on, it sent me 250 mi out of my way rather than the most direct route.
I hope this software improves. If the company is motivated, it could be the basis for a really good program. However, any company that would put something this haphazard on the market with almost a complete lack of documentation AND no competition is unlikely to put much effort into this. After all, why should they?

In summary, if you need a map program for your mac that has a lot of points of interest, a good database of roads (although poor search engine), GPS input capabilities, doesn't require a CD in the drive, and 35 bucks doesn't seem like too much for slow, unintuitive, occasionally counterintuitive information and interface, go for it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Printing problems!
I must concur with the previous review. The mapping software is really quite good and shows much promise; but there is a major bug in the software. It will *not* print directions - only an overview map of your trip! Very odd. I thought this might be a problem unique to my G4 Powerbook, but I encountered the exact same problem on a desktop and another more up to date Powerbook.

Again, to echo the other reviewer: Route 66 software is on the right track, but this piece of software is *certainly* not past a beta testing stage and shouldn't be offered as a fully functioning, full-priced product.

If and when they iron out the kinks, they'll be cooking with gas. ... Read more


32. Instant Immersion American Sign Language Deluxe
list price: $49.99
our price: $26.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00066EJPK
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Topics Entertainment
Sales Rank: 1806
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Learn body and hand positioning for grammar and fingerspelling
  • Video lessons and explanations of ASL phrase syntax improve beginners' foundation in ASL
  • Hands-on ASL dictionary packed with over 6,000 words - plus synonyms and written sign movement descriptions for each entry
  • ASL Phrase Guide offers real-life communication -- over 600 phrases are introduced, with video demonstrations of each entry
  • Complete reference guide provides overview of the scope & history of America's third most common language

33. Rosetta Stone Swahili Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $194.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005APYT
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 3335
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more


34. Learn Italian Now! 9.0
list price: $39.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005Y3VD
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Transparent Language
Sales Rank: 627
Average Customer Review: 3.17 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Review

With the modern PC having a variety of possibilities of which traditional language-learning methods could only dream--voice recognition, video dialogues, and so on--the past few years have seen an extraordinary boom in language-learning software packages. However, as picking through this surfeit can be tricky, it is important to find a reliable brand, and the Learn Now! series is definitely among the best software packages.

The program comes equipped with 2 CDs, one of which has various key sections--useful "survival phrases", fun activities, conversations, and practicing speech against the voice of a native speaker--while the other has a thorough grammar tutorial. This combination is certainly a valuable one for people who are serious about learning a language, and the product is clear and easy to use: in role-plays, phrases are highlighted in a box and their English translations placed underneath, while the voice recognition software allows you to measure your own voice against that of a native speaker, and the games hone the things that have been learnt. Sections are tailored to various activities, such as getting around, going out, and business situations, while at any point you can call up a grammar tutorial which explains a particular point on which you are unsure.

In addition to these sections, the part on survival phrases will be of much use to those who have already reached a basic level. There are several practice dialogues based around commonplace situations--in the hotel, the bar, the airport, etc. Although some of the advice borders on the infantile ("When you decide to travel outside the USA, you will probably need a passport"), much of it is useful, and rounds out what is a well composed package for someone starting out on the road to using the language overseas. --Toby Green, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars A great way to learn Italian
I found this software to be extremely helpful. The sentance dictation section was excellent, as it allowed you to hear spoken phrases (not just one or two words) by native speakers. In addition, you could adjust the speed of the spoken phrases (either fast or slow). I used this software while I was taking Italian languages classes and it was helpful in reinforcing what I learned in class. In addition, the video clips used in the software are from a video series that is commonly used in Italian language courses. The downloadable grammar guide was also an excellent resource to have on hand while using the software. As you do the drills/exercises, you are also able to click on most words to get detail about the grammar rules. I would definitively recommend this to a someone who is trying to learn Italian quickly.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Italian Software
I found Italian Now to be quite good for learning the Italian language. It gives you the ability to start almost anywhere making it ideal for beginners through experts. Being a beginner when I bought this program I started with the alphabet reference and a grammar tutorial. These were both very good features and after some practice they helped to lay a good foundation for further learning. From here there are endless things to do. This program does an excellent job of teaching vocabulary and useful phrases. Perhaps one of the best things this program does is working on your pronunciation. In several different activities I had to speak Italian into a microphone and it was compared to a native speaker's pronunciation which helps you to drastically improve your own pronunciation. I am more than satisfied with this program and I highly recomend it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Eh, good if you get them cheap
You will NOT learn a foreign language by one of these programs. The vocab is way too limited, and neither the Version 8 series nor the Version 9 series addresses past or future tenses substantively. I have purchased six of these over the past couple of years, four Version 8 (German, Irish, Latin, Hebrew) the other two Version 9 (Spanish, Italian), and for some idiotic reason, the Version 8s are SUPERIOR to the upgrades. The Version 8s have more texts and thus more variety. LatinNow Version 8 is probably the best program I have seen from this company, good texts of various grade levels, plus you can fresh up on your Roman mythology!

These "tapes", and that is basically what they are, computerized language tapes, are only going to be useful if you plan on dedicating time for rote memorization of grammar and vocab outside of the program. These programs can be good to help supplement textbook study, as we need to hear the language and grammar for it to sink in. If you think any one of these programs in and of itself is going to make you fluent, you're very sadly mistaken. I would recommend finding them cheap and working on them while you eat breakfast, then spending 15+ minutes a day per language w/ grammar, vocab, writing (ie thinking w/in the language), out of a textbook. That way you can cover your bases, if you are the self-guided student looking to master a new language to get a head start on college credit or to learn it just for the heck of it.

Also, the Hebrew keyboard layout is atrocious and barely functional. I assume this might be a problem w/ all non-Latin/Germanic alphabets, like Chinese and Russian. This makes the games worthless--and the games are probably the best part of the program.

1-0 out of 5 stars The worst possible way to learn a language
The user interface is so hard to follow it's unbelievable. You have to scan up the screen, then down to the right, then over to the left and track all of this while trying to learn vocabulary.

I bought this thinking that it was only $40 so how bad could it be...well it is BAD!

Buy the FSI courses or Rosetta Stone - they are much more expensive but worth the price, especially if LanguageNow is the alternative. I have French, Spanish, German, and Russian and each of them are fantastic. Of course they are two different methods of learning but both are effective in their own way. At the end of the day you need to go to the country where the language is spoken and spend some time to really learn a language...

2-0 out of 5 stars Good start but lacks cohesiveness in its (Italian) method
The single major flaw in this product is its lack of direction for the beginner. I purchased the Italian version to compare it to Rosetta Stone's method. The difference in price will tell you which is the better one. This product has good ideas (dialogs & memory games) but Rosetta Stone's approach is sound and well organized.

This product DOES have more resources than Rosetta Stone but they're left to the user to figure out how to utilize them when studying the lessons. For beginners this will lead to a lot of wasted time and frustration.

Stuffing the product with goodies does not make it better. They need to concentrate on the HOWTOs. Until such time this product is not very useful to beginners. ... Read more


35. Rosetta Stone English Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $194.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00004YUGK
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 3608
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Program for English as a Second Language
When my cousin and her family arrived from Venezuela to join our family business, I knew that the first thing we needed to do was to teach them English. I asked around and found that the Rosetta Stone was the best program that they used in all the schools here in Miami. We bought the Level One and were soon amazed to see how fast my cousin and her seven year old daughter began to learn English. We all have a lot of fun with this program and it has so many beautiful pictures. Now my cousin is working with us and she is speaking English to the customers. We bought the Level Two which has even more lessons than the Level One, and some of the pictures are little movies! I would recommend the Rosetta Stone program to anyone who wants to learn English very quickly. ... Read more


36. SmartFrench CD-ROM 1

(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000U3LI8
Catlog: Software
Publisher: SmartFrench
Sales Rank: 584
Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • CD-Rom with booklet to learn real French
  • It uses conversations with French natives which are written down exactly as spoken.
  • It uses colors to show what is and what is not pronounced in spoken French
  • It's a step by step repetition of entire excerpts of conversations.
  • Rules of the French spoken language are explained in a simple way.

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars I've tried them all and this one is IT!!!
With an impending vacation to Paris, I wanted to become familiar with the French language, having never studied it before. I've read and listened to nearly every major French language program out there, including Barron's, Berlitz, Michel Thomas, Living Language French, Teach Yourself French and Instant Immersion. Smart French is by far the best, both in value and in what it teaches. I couldn't understand why after studying these other methods, when I watched a French film, I could understand little to nothing of what was being said. After purchasing Smart French and working each of the interactive lessons, I finally get it. What is taught in the textbooks is not the way the French actually speak. They contract so much that the written French is quite different from the spoken French!

A child learns a language first by hearing it spoken and mimicking the sounds, then by attaching meaning to the words. This is what Smart French does. It teaches you to hear first, repeat the sounds that you hear and translate later. First you learn to hear, then speak and finally to understand. All the other methods teach basically the same way and method, while Smart French is very different. I wholeheartedly recommend Smart French!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Not a stand-alone product
This is an excellent tutorial in spoken French, but falls a little short in one or two regards. For example, it could *really* benefit from a vocabulary list. The French and English are placed side by side, but there are numerous occasions wherein the English translation fails to include entire words from the French, leaving the user to figure out what the French words mean from context, which words mean what, or running to a dictionary (which are notoriously short on idiomatic expressions). While language is certainly learned in this manner by children, it can be frustrating for the student of French who wants to learn quickly. A vocabulary list would solve this problem. Also, because the CD-ROM is set up in a non-linear fashion, while listening to the CDs one has to hear the same phrases repeated over and over ("we suggest you follow our approach" and "this is called liasion" come to mind), which becomes tiring. Having said that, I highly recommend this series for anyone who is studying/has studied French and wants to know how to *speak* French. I use it in conjunction with Learn in Your Car series (a terrific vocabulary builder), and a free resource online, "Chloe ou Les aventures d'une Parisienne." But if you are a beginner, you will certainly need something in addition to this series.

5-0 out of 5 stars The SmartFrench CD=Remarkable Tool to Learn French
With the SmartFrench CD, I have finally found the tool I searched for, to help me practice speaking French the way native speakers do. Through a series of interesting interviews with charming and engaging speakers, one can choose the level of expertise from beginner to advanced to practice speaking and understanding. The various levels maintain the challenge for the student. The CD is easy to use. I appreciate that the steps in the process were outlined and all I needed to do was to follow them. However, one can also choose to skip steps and still benefit from the practice with the CD. I definitely recommend the CD for all students of French who want to understand and be understood. Thanks Christian!

5-0 out of 5 stars Tried them all -- FINALLY something that works
With an impending vacation to Paris, I wanted to become familiar with the French language, having never studied it before. I've read and listened to nearly every major French language program out there, including Barron's, Berlitz, Michel Thomas, Living Language French, Teach Yourself French and Instant Immersion. Smart French is by far the best, both in value and in what it teaches. I couldn't understand why after studying these other methods, when I watched a French film, I could understand little to nothing of what was being said. After purchasing Smart French and working each of the interactive lessons, I finally get it. What is taught in the textbooks is not the way the French actually speak. They contract so much that the written French is quite different from the spoken French!

A child learns a language first by hearing it spoken and mimicking the sounds, then by attaching meaning to the words. This is what Smart French does. It teaches you to hear first, repeat the sounds that you hear and translate later. First you learn to hear, then speak and finally to understand. All the other methods teach basically the same way and method, while Smart French is very different. I wholeheartedly recommend Smart French!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Product
Over the years I have tried many ways to learn French, including tapes, CDs and individual instruction, with limited success. SmartFrench has created a unique and effective way to learn which dramatically increases confidence and comprehension. Just a few lessons using the SmartFrench techniques made my last trip to France an entirely different experience! I would recommend SmartFrench to anyone who wants to understand and speak French. ... Read more


37. Learn Spanish Now! 9.0
list price: $39.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005Y3VA
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Transparent Language
Sales Rank: 527
Average Customer Review: 2.88 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn Spanish Now! 9.0 Deluxe takes you from beginner to confidentspeaker in no time. Listen and speak activities, grammar tools, and vocabularygames build a solid foundation, while real-life video content lets you interactwith native speakers. Learn Spanish Now! also adds online features that createan interesting and authentic atmosphere, making it fast, fun, and highlyeffective to learn Spanish.

Learn Spanish Now!'s four stimulating titles include: Fundamental Spanish,Survival Phrases for Spanish, Conversations in Spanish, and A Spanish Adventurewith Andrés. GrammarPro!, the software's comprehensive grammar tool, adds morethan 10,000 words, extensive tutorials, and grammar quizzes to your desktop.Installed, GrammarPro! integrates seamlessly with all four Learn Spanish Now!titles to provide detailed grammar analyses with just a click of your mouse.

Online features, fun interactive games, conversations, and phrases round outthis deluxe suite. Practice your pronunciation using the integrated speechfeatures, then record your voice and replay your conversation. Learn at your ownpace by deciding when you need translation. Microsoft Windows users also receiveGlobalWriter98, a word-processing tool that helps you write in more than 100languages, as well as a handy screen saver. ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful in Learning Spanish
I work as a border guard at a USA-Mexico border stop and let me tell you that Spanish Now has helped my Spanish speaking skills a lot while helping to give me a valuable job skill. Before I picked this product up I spoke Spanish on a very limited begining level. Spanish Now enabled me to work on several aspects of my language learning. With the very good audio features my pronunciation and interpretation of Spanish improved greatly. The amount of vocabulary I was able to learn from Spanish Now was astonishing. The games made for good practice and review of the various lessons/knowledge obtained from the program. The conversation practice feature allowed me to develop my Spanish communication skills with life like practice. The overall performance of this program surprised me and I highly recomend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth the [Buy!!!]
I was skeptical at first, but once I got to using Spanish Now I was very impressed. I decided to buy this because I was taking a trip to South America(where a great deal of the population speaks Spanish) and needed to practice Spanish for the trip. I hadn't taken any Spanish classes since college so I was quite rusty but this program helped me a lot. I was able to dive right in and review vocabulary, practice conversations for various situations, work on my pronunciation, learn grammar, ect. I was very impressed with the great amount of depth offered making this program ideal for begineers or more advanced speakers. Spanish Now also makes great use of available technology by integrating video and audio together in various parts of the program which effectively adds some realism. My impression of this product is that it is well worth the buy leading me to give it the 5 star rating it deserves.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worthless junk not even fit for the garbage.
The program "Learn Spanish Now" turned out to be total junk and a complete waste of money. The only lesson I learned was to not to buy computer software without trying it first. Don't waste your money on this senseless mess.

1-0 out of 5 stars This Product is Garbage
I purchased Spanish Now! in hopes of finding a software that would review my Spanish skills so that I could be ready to enter Spanish IV in my Junior year. Not only is this product hard to use, but it didn't review any useful grammar or fundamental Spanish. After finding that none of the features were helpful in learning Spanish in the slightest, I threw it into the garbage. I would strongly advise you not to waste your money.

1-0 out of 5 stars Beware forged reviews
Apparently this company's management had so little confidence in its product's quality that they felt it necessary to upload a batch of fake reviews in July 2003; one or two for each product variant. They did not anticipate that Amazon would display all reviews for all variants, making their fake review language transparently obvious - as others have also noted here. ... Read more


38. Rosetta Stone Portuguese Personal Edition Level 1
list price: $195.00
our price: $194.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005APYS
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Fairfield Language Technologies
Sales Rank: 3837
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Amazon.com Product Description

Learn a new language with the award-winning method used by the U.S. State Department to train diplomats. Proven effective by NASA astronauts, Peace Corps volunteers, and millions of students worldwide, the Rosetta Stone Language Library teaches new languages faster and easier than ever before.

We all learn our childhood language by associating new words and phrases with the world around us. The Rosetta Stone method replicates this process by presenting vivid, real-life images to convey the meaning of each new phrase. Instead of translating, memorizing, and studying rules of grammar, you actually learn to think in the new language. Vocabulary and grammar are integrated systematically, leading to everyday proficiency.

The Rosetta Stone Level I program offers a comprehensive course of study for beginning learners, leading to intermediate proficiency. The program contains over 3,500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons and more than 250 hours of mastery instruction in listening comprehension, reading, speaking, and writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. There are reviews, exercises, and tests for every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program. (Ages 6 and older) ... Read more

Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good for understanding, but not speaking.
I'll start by saying that I am a die-hard fan of the Pimsleur Language system, so take this review with a grain of salt, if you'd like. I will also say that I have always struggled with foreign languages until I discovered Pimsleur. Now, I am almost fluent in Brazilian Portuguese, and can communicate in several others (Russian, German and French)
Why did I bother with Rosetta Stone if Pimsleur is so great? Well, by itself, no program out there is complete, Pimsleur being no exception. I found that though my spoken skills were developed by Pimsleur as no other program could, my vocabulary was limited, and my listening skills still needed work. I found that Rosetta Stone is good at forcing you to listen and write well. In addition, it greatly enhances the limited vocabulary provided by Pimsleur.
I can't imagine for a minute though that one could develop good spoken language skills with Rosetta Stone by itself. I simply won't believe it, because it doesn't afford you the opportunity to speak in a conversational type setting. This is necessary practise for becoming fluent.
Summary? Use Pimsleur, supplement with Rosetta Stone. Happy learning!

5-0 out of 5 stars The BEST
I've taken many language courses, mostly in Spanish and French. I used to quit once it got hard simply because I was bogged down with grammar. The Rosetta Stone for Portuguese Level I(I also bought Level 2), in this case, Brazilian Portuguese, is completely different than any language course I've tried in that YOU choose how and when you learn. The pictures are colorful.You have two men and a woman voice for variety. You get to choose between listening, reading, writing, speaking. The only thing that didn't work for me was the recording of my voice for comparison because the microphone I had wasn't compatable, but in the record mode, you can still play back the speakers either in slow or normal conversational speed and 'see' how the words 'sound'. Fairly good with languages anyway, my accent is gradually going 'native'so I don't need to record myself. Through trial and error I've discovered the 'listening' mode works best. That way when the next picture comes up I can think its description in Portugese rather than be dependent on reading the Portuguese decription.I adore the fast tutorial. You can test yourself. You're given a book that you can read your lessons if you don't feel like putting in the CD. The CD works without a glitch. The best thing about this course is that you CAN'T get bored even with the repetition because you decide how you want to do things. The clever thing about the colorful box is that the front opens up like a book which describes the course features. The Rosetta Stone IS the BEST for language instruction if classes and cassette tapes don't work. ... Read more


39. Route 66 Route Europe 2004 (Mac)
list price: $79.99
our price: $79.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00013MS7E
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Route 66
Sales Rank: 4880
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Door-to-door route planning for Western Europe
  • Over 2,700,000 miles of road; 700,000+ points of interest
  • Over 4,750,000 streets; 54,000,000+ house numbers
  • GPS-compatible; up-to-date maps and traffic information
  • Multi-lingual user interface including Spanish

40. Movie Magic Contracts
list price: $119.99
our price: $94.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000055ZO2
Catlog: Software
Publisher: Write Brothers
Sales Rank: 1442
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

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