There are only a handful of companies now making language software for the Macintosh. One of them, Transparent Language, has a new update to their popular language learning program, Language Now! The $49.95 software package, which will be available to the public in late March/early April, sports a handful of useful features including speech analysis. Language Now! will come on hybrid Windows/Macintosh CD.
The new features we saw demonstrated recently include a speech analysis that lets you repeat what you heard into a microphone on your computer. The software compares what you said with the narrator, you then see a wave file comparing your speech to the program’s, thus permitting you to analyze the pitch, loudness and fricative. The software will also compare your speech to an acceptable standard and monitor your performance so you can continue to practice and improve your pronunciation skills.
This version of Language Now! also has a larger video screen and improved video resolution. The change is supposed to allow you to see more when you watch the included video of speakers and their actions while speaking. The change is okay, but the user interface doesn’t benefit from it as perhaps it should.
These new features were the most readily apparent changes. Language Now! still lets users selectively click on words or phrases to check pronunciation, and encourages drilling new language skills via games.