EVALUATION OF CD ROMS AVAILABLE IN HUNGARY




Nyelvmester Plusz
Talk to Me
Just Grandma and Me
English Discoveries
MoBiDic
Emu
GIB 3.0
PC Suli 1-3.
Clip Dic
Mano Angol


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<A NAME=nyelv><B>Nyelvmester Plusz </B>is a three-level series of CD-ROMs for learners of English.<BR>The three programs are designed for beginners, intermediate, and advancedlearners. In this evaluation I am going to concentrate on the third piece ofthe series entitled Advanced English.<BR>

<P>The program is based on the book Angol nyelv haladoknak (English Language for Advanced Learners) written by Szentivanyi Agnes. The author is the formervice-president of the State Language Examination Committee and the headexaminer of English in the Hungarian unit of the ICC - the International Certificate Committee.<BR>

<P>The software version of the book, as the book itself, is a preparatory coursefor the Hungarian State Examination. In addition, the program can be used forself-study, as well, which makes it more useful than the book. There is noage specification, the program is intended for a broad audience with a certain level of proficiency. <BR><P>The software claims to approach the material for the exam in a unique way, andit is supposed to provide those who want to study with the most interesting and the most effective means.<BR>

<P>The program contains:<UL>
<LI>crossword puzzles
<LI>exercises improving pronunciation
<LI>possibility to record own voice
<LI>checking intonation in a graphic way
<LI>speaking dictionary containing 7000 words
<LI>exercises aiming at understanding of speech
<LI>111 different lessons and dialogues altogether making up about 200 pages of text
<LI>more than 5 hours of listening material by native speakers
<LI>exercises and tests</UL>

Nyelvmester Plusz is, therefore, a varied and useful course both as a preparation for the exam or for other purposes. It can be used in the classroomas well, instead of or as a supplement to the textbook used in the class. Ithas many advantages over the book version, although it is more expensive and needs more appliance.<P>

<I>Kardos Laura</I><P>
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Nyelvmester Plusz is a three-level series of CD-ROMs for learners of English. The three programs are designed for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners. In this evaluation I am going to concentrate on the third piece of the series entitled Advanced English.

The program is based on the book Angol nyelv haladoknak (English Language for Advanced Learners) written by Szentivanyi Agnes. The author is the former vice-president of the State Language Examination Committee and the head examiner of English in the Hungarian unit of the ICC - the International Certificate Committee. The software version of the book, as the book itself, is a preparatory course for the Hungarian State Examination. In addition, the program can be used for self-study, as well, which makes it more useful than the book. There is no age specification, the program is intended for a broad audience with a certain level of proficiency. The software claims to approach the material for the exam in a unique way, and it is supposed to provide those who want to study with the most interesting and the most effective means.

The program contains:
- crossword puzzles
-exercises improving pronunciation
-possibility to record own voice
-checking intonation in a graphic way
-speaking dictionary containing 7000 words
-exercises aiming at understanding of speech
-111 different lessons and dialogues altogether making up about 200 pages of text
-more than 5 hours of listening material by native speakers -exercises and tests

Nyelvmester Plusz is, therefore, a varied and useful course both as a preparation for the exam or for other purposes. It can be used in the classroom as well, instead of or as a supplement to the textbook used in the class. It has many advantages over the book version, although it is more expensive and needs more appliance.

(by Kardos Laura)

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TALK TO ME by Microsoft
evaluation by Agnes Albert

Talk To Me is a language learning program of Microsoft, available at four different levels from beginner to advanced at a price of 7840 forints per each CD-ROM.

This is an "interactive" program, it talks to the student and - just as its title suggests - the student can talk to it as well. This is probably the most fascinating part of the whole program, since after the student repeated a given expression or sentence, it provides visual feedback on the student's pronunciation as well as on the correct version. This way the student gets a chance to visualise the difference between his pronunciation and the correct one, which is very important in a situation where the student is alone with the computer. While practising, visual feedback also makes the finding of the correct pronunciation easier (which is almost impossible when the student only listens to himself).

Apart from this new and exciting way of giving feedback on pronunciation the program does not offer any other big novelties. There are no video clips in the program only pictures connected to the theme of each lesson - just like in a course-book - the only difference is that these pictures do not only have the text written on them but they also "pronounce" the sentences. The activity to be performed here is to choose the correct answer/reaction from a number of possibilities given on the screen (which highly restricts imagination and creativity and reduces the number of correct responses of course - but remember, it is only a computer program!).

Other activities are: rearranging word-order in a sentence, matching words, etc., the usual kind of workbook exercises.

After completing all exercises in connection with the themes, the computer provides a complex analysis of the student's results; it does not only give the total score but evaluates progress on different fields, thus pointing out the weak and strong points in one's command of English.

The program, although in several respects conventional, can be useful, especially for those learning alone, as it focuses on pronunciation and gives feedback on this very sensitive area in a very clever and easily understandable way. The detailed evaluation also has advantages.

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English by stealth (Lopva angolul - Kulcs az angol nyelvhez)

This CD is based on an English coursebook written by two Hungarians, Horlay and Czobor, but offers much more than the book itself. The first piece of a series of three discs is designed for beginners and for those who decided to start learning English again. It requires a basic knowledge of grammar terms, therefore I would not recommend it to small children, but to adults and youngsters above 12.

The course itself is very well constructed: with warming-up exercises, an exciting detective-story (that can optionally be subtitled for those not having enough self-confidence), a possibility to look up new words, expressions or new grammatical structures at any stage of the learning process. There is a wide variety of exercises after having seen an episode, which help to develop not only grammar and vocabulary, but reading and writing skills as well. What is more, pronunciation can be practiced with the help of a microphone. Those exercises that cannot be immediately checked by the computer (for example writing a composition) can be sent to English teachers through the Internet, and they will give written feedback later.

I recommend this CD for everybody, as it teaches English in a very entertainig way.

(by Orsi)

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Living Books Series : Just Grandma and Me is an interactive software for young learners of English /Spanish /Japanese.

Methodology
Very clear and obvious instructions. Program can be opened and closed easily, children can skip and move or quit with one click . Kids receive immediate feedback .

Approach to Language Instruction
It does not really support any particular language teaching methods. It is rather an interactional approach to the language. The software is available for Macintosh, Windows,Windos 95 platforms.

Software Design
It is adjustable for children speakers of any native languages. Cultural information is not really integrated. The program focuses on the combination of texts, syntax and phonology . Supplementary exercises are provided, mainly listening and reading skills are covered. The program is suitable for classroom as well as individual practice.
It does not keep track ot time . Colours , graphics, sounds are necessary. The program is like an interactive cartoon.

Software Procedures
It offers explanatory activities, drills and text construction.

Beko Edit

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English Discoveries is a computer - based interactive multimedia course that makes it fast fun and easy for young people to learn English.

It represents the cutting edge of language learning software technology, combining high resolution colour graphics, animation and video, text, digitized voice and music.English Discoveries consists of 11CD- ROMs which present the essential English language structures and about 3000 lexical items.

No previous computer experience is necessary to use the product.

The full course covers over 1000 student - contact hours and is devided according to the following levels:
Let's Start ! 1 CD
Basic 3 CDs
Intermediate 4 CDs
Advanced 4 CDs

With English Discoveries you are the creater of your own learning path.

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MoBiDic is a bilingual dictionary series and is available in the following languages: English, German, French, Italian, and Russian. In the focus of our evaluation is the wide range of English dictionaries. Several different dictionaries have been compiled within this group of softwares reflecting the special needs and fields of use, ie.: foreign trade, banking, law, technics, business, marketing, etc. However, the most important softwares for students of English are the Basic- and the Idiom English-Hungarian dictionaries.

The Basic dictionary contains 20,000 English and 32,000 Hungarian words. The Idiom dictionary has 27,000 English and 22,000 Hungarian entries. A significant advantage of these softwares is that they may be purchased in CD and floppy disk format, as well, and may be run on Windows 3.1, Win 95, and Win NT. The minimal space requirement is 3 Mbyte.

The relatively low price (6000 Ft) and user friendly build-up of the product make the impression of a useful companion of students and teachers of English.

(Balint Gabor, Lukacsy Gergely)

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MoBiDic is an electronic dictionary, or in fact, several dictionaries which can be combined in a number of ways, so as to facilitate all kinds of translations. The main point of the entire programme is that the user can have access to more than one Dictionaries at the same time. There are quite a few dictionaries available, such as; English-Hungarian, Hung.-Eng. monolingual Eng., dictionary of law, of business English, of commerce, of informatics, of management. The programme includes the same dictionaries in German as well.

Once one has typed in the sentence to be translated, the programme proceeds to check the word stems first and then adds the appropriate suffixes to them, so very often it produces grammatically correct sentences. However, sometimes it seems to be quite unable to cope with the difficulties presented by the Hung. system of suffixation and gives wrong sentences. MoBiDic is also able to translate idioms, although in that case it doesn't even try to give the morphologically correct form of the words.

The programme is easily accesseible from Word for Windows. One can even create one's own dictionary in any given language (although it seems to be a little too time time-consuming a job to do) The basic programme costs 6000 Ft, the extended version including business, law and informatics dic.s is a little more expensive, 14.000 Fts. Additional dictionaries can be bought for 6.000 Fts each. The number of dictionaries thet can be added to the system is practically unlimited (at least that's what the leaflet I got in the shop says).

On the whole I think that MoBiDic is a useful programme for advanced students and translators, as it makes their work faster and probably more efficient, yet I would definitely not recommend it for beginners as this programme might be a little too complicated and difficult to use for those just familiarizing with the language.

(by Monika)

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EMU (English Multiple Usage) claims to be an amusing and effective way of language learning.

Let me first describe in more details what the program offers and than give an evaluation of how it can be used and what for. EMU concentrates on two of the four basic skills: reading and listening. The texts for reading comprehension are of various topics (eg. sports, culture, drugs and a lot more). The written texts can be listened to as well and are complete with exercises focusing on the vocabulary and grammar employed in the particular text. As for listening comprehension, the program provides audible texts and videos. With the help of relating questions the computer checks how well one understood the text.There's a separate grammar section that highlights the basic points of English grammar and has a great number of exercises to practice them.

All in all, I found the program a highly entertaining and useful tool for language learning and teaching. However, I would not recommend it for students below intermediate level because the texts are autentic and thus require a basic knowledge of English. It can be well used for individual learning, as well as a complementary material for language courses or school teaching.

From a teacher's point of view the program has a strong advantage of enabling one to differentiate between students according to their individual interests.

(by Anna Sárosdi)

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GIB 3.0 Dictionary program

With in the facilities of the program several dictionaries are made available on CD-ROM, among them is the Országh English-Hungarian Giant dictionary.

The English-Hungarian Dictionary Program

The program was prepared primarily for those using English Language and Computers very frequently for translation purposes or other written tasks. It is designed to provide a rapid aid to overcome vocabulary problems emerging during the work, however, it can be applied for self-learning purposes and classroom work as well. It may be used for searching individual words,and can be applied within Word-Processor Programs (e.g. Word for Windows 2.0, 6.0, 7.0)

The easily intelligible sample lessons provide a practical and effective guide to show and teach the usage of the program (or at least of the most basic searching methods) in nine steps.

The form of the word is presented more or less similarly to the ordinary, book-like dictionaries: after the specific lexical item its word class, its meaning and the environment of its usage is given. However, the phonetic transcription is missing and it is a separate file that needs to be opened to find the pronunciation pattern. On the other hand, when a particular term is found the neighbouring words are presented on the screen, too, which might encourage the user to identify other items (and thus learn more words) as well. One can search for: - Hungarian meaning of English words - meanings of set phrases and expressions - the English equivalents of Hungarian lexical items - English synonyms

Other opportunities: - The user can make up a vocabulary list from a given text - The words looked up can be stored and may be used as the basis for an individual vocabulary-building project. (The machine selects one word by chance and asks for its meaning. The task can be adjusted to the level and the development of the student, and evaluation is also accessible . - With the help of a sound card the pronunciation of the word can be heard as well.

Problems: It is complicated and time consuming to start the program at the beginning (too many steps to take), yet once started it is not necessary to take all the steps again and it can serve as a quick, useful aid for one's work and studies. The separation of the phonetic transcriptions from the lexical entry make the usage more complicated. The 'usual' problems of the Országh dictionary.

The program is available: Scriptum Ltd 6771. Szeged Malyva u. 34. Hungary. Tel: (62) 406-133, 406-144

(by Gergelyi Judit)

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A CD-ROM for learners of English on 3 levels: PC Suli 1-3

This CD-ROM contains: more than 12 hours of authentic audiomaterial more than 2 hours of "speaking" dictionary more than 160 English proverbs more than 3600 different kind of exercises 8600 sentences 6400 words and expressions a complete list of irregular verbs grammarbook on three levels (for beginners, 'false'-beginners and for learners on an intermediate level) 20 reading texts for each of these levels 20 glossaries, and a separate list for phrases and expressions for each level 20 units of grammar: explanation with relevant exercises tasks for 20 themes on each level

This CD-ROM does not seem to target learners of a particular age, or with a special interest. It is suitable for any learner of English, who is either a beginner, or a 'false'-beginner, or a learner on the intermediate level. does not seem to require any additional materials, it is like a course book with tapes, workbook and even a dictionary and a language lab. seems to be more suitable for individual use, since one CD-ROM can be used only on one computer, thus it would be very expensive to buy a CD-ROM for each student in your English class. However, a teacher could print out some of the exercises, reading tasks, proverbs, etc for their students. But then your students would not be able to benefit from the audiomaterial (where one can practise the pronunciation of specific letters, words and sentences with the help of a microphone and can compare one's pronunciation with that of the computer) and the "speaking" dictionary.

There is a discount on it now!!! PC Suli - English elementary . . .3840 Ft PC Suli - English intermediate . . . 5592 Ft PC Suli - English elementary+intermediate . . . 7996 Ft

Call KIM-SOFT Kft. Tel.: 319-8973, 319-8967 Fax: 319-9760 Address: 1112 Budapest, Hegyalja út 70. fszt.2.

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Clipdic English

A Multimedia Coursebook with videoclips:

Suggested configuration: Windows 95, Windows 3.1xM, Windows NT 3.xx, 486Dx40 processor
Part 1 and 2, plus workbook

by H. Kovacs Julia

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Mano Angol

Runs under Windows 3.1 and 95.

by H.Kovacs Julia

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This page was created by Nora Nemeth
Updated on 1 December 1997.