capsule review

Advanced German

Moechten Sie Deutsch lernen? If you understand this German phrase then you're a candidate for EuroTalk Interactive's Advanced German. EuroTalk, which offers training in everything from Afrikaans to Zulu, Swedish to Swahili, starts with beginning and intermediate CD-ROMs. Advanced German is the best of the German series, though, as it combines listening, vocabulary, speaking, and German pop culture. Advanced German only comes on DVD-ROM, which limits the audience for this title.

The program, which ships on one DVD-ROM disc, is based on an episode of the popular German TV show Von Nagel zu Nagel. This particular episode, "Ein Fall fur Zwei," finds Dr. Voss, a cool yet clever lawyer, teamed with a tough talking, hotheaded PI named Matula.

Advanced German allows you to watch the show in German or in English with German subtitles. You can jump into the action by playing Dr. Voss, Matula, or a variety of other characters. The program feeds your lines to you via German subtitles; you simply speak into the Mac microphone and instantly you're a part of the show. You can then play back the scene with your voice blending in nicely with the original dialogue. The lack of a printed or electronic manual leads to some guessing about the controls, however the program is easy once you get started.

When you first launch the product, it recommends you run it with virtual memory off, which seems a bit archaic. However, we had no problems leaving virtual memory on with my 500MHz PowerBook G3 with 128MB of RAM, running OS 9.1.

Advanced German includes a variety of other exercises that will help you learn German as it's truly spoken. The program includes a series of very addictive vocabulary exercises. You see a series of still frames from the TV show that feature a circled item. As you guess the correct English translation of the item, you fill a progress bar. Miss an item and you take a giant leap backward; get an item correct and you slowly fill up the bar. You can use the quick search engine to search the script for a vocabulary word, allowing you to hear the word in proper context. Once you become an "Ein Fall fur Zwei" master you can challenge an on-screen competitor to an enjoyable TV quiz show.

Vocabulary in Context: Vocabulary exercises come alive when taken directly from the TV show.Game Show Drill: Try your luck against a witty opponent in a game show based on the "Ein Fall fur Zwei." episode of the popular German TV show Von Nagel zu Nagel.
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