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Berlitz Chinese & Japanese Premier claims to have you speaking Chinese Mandarin or Japanese within 30 days which sounds almost unbelievable when you consider the cost is a mere $39.95. It is extremely cheap compared to other products on the market which makes Berlitz much more appealing to those on a budget. It is primarily an audio based course which also works on your computer and is compatible with Windows and Mac. Berlitz Chinese & Japanese Premium includes CD's and is therefore portable which means you can practice and learn on the move. All in all, Berlitz looks like a safe bet for learning Mandarin at a basic level, and through a standard methodology based on a CD based interactive course. It is a product ideal for those wanting to improve their conversational Mandarin or Japanese and have time for home study.
Berlitz's method of teaching Mandarin or Japanese is through a flashcard system whereby you learn to associate the word with the image, and build your vocabulary bank using this method. The words are pronounced by a native speaker which ensures you are pronouncing correctly. This is also accompanied by a useful 'slow down' button, which allows you to hear the phrases spoken at a slower rate and help you toward better pronunciation overall. Berlitz Chinese & Japanese also has voice recognition software which allows you to record your pronunciation and compare it with a native speaker, thus allowing you to adjust and improve your pronunciation where necessary. Also included is a conversational audio which contains dialogue between native speakers, which you repeat, on themes as diverse as Meeting and Greeting, Asking For Directions, and Travelling. Berlitz includes games which keep the learning process exciting and engaging. Furthermore the course is pitched at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels which means there is room for progression as soon as you feel you are ready.
Compared to more expensive and sophisticated programs, Berlitz is quite basic. It does not go into a great amount of grammatical detail but will leave you with a basic grasp of some conversational Mandarin or Japanese. Its methods are useful but quite superficial and may soon become tiring and one dimensional. If you are looking for a simple, introductory course then this product is definitely for you but if you have a more detailed knowledge of Mandarin or Japanese, then this product will not go into enough depth. This product is ideal for a layman wanting to come to grips with conversational Mandarin or Japanese but for a more advanced learner, there may be more challenging products on the market.
Berlitz Chinese and Japanese Premier has a basic curriculum and a limited but useful vocabulary focus that is suitable only for those who want conversational language or who simply have an interest in learning Mandarin out of interest. This should only be bought by those on a budget who want to learn conversational basics, but at a costs of $39.95 you are getting what you pay for. There are by far better Mandarin and Japanese software programs out there compared to Berlitz, but if you are not happy with Berlitz you are entitled to a refund within 90 days of purchasing so why not give it a try?
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