ECTS: Language tutor prompts pronunciation

New language-learning software criticises your pronunciation, just like a real teacher.

The problem with learning a foreign language from a book, or indeed from many of the CD-ROMs on the market, is that you are often never quite sure if you've cracked how to actually pronounce the words. Which could easily lead to you make a complete prat of yourself on your next overseas jaunt.

Auralog has taken language tuition software a step closer to getting the real thing, with the release of its "Talk to Me" range. According to Auralog, this is the first CD-ROM language course to be based on the Spoken Error Tracking System (S.E.T.S) pronunciation-aid technology.

The speech recognition engine means you can interact with the course, with S.E.T.S assessing pronunciation and detecting wrongly pronounced words. A dual mode display gives a graphical representation of the spoken words and phrases, with a voice graph tracing amplitude and a curve showing the fundamental frequency. So it's easy to tell if your intonation is off kilter and make the necessary corrections.

The courses, available in French, Spanish, German, Italian and English -- as a foreign language -- are available in two levels. Beginner-Intermediate, which is equivalent to GCSE level, and Advanced, equivalent to A Level standard.

Each course contains over 100 hours of tuition and includes 40 hours of conversation practice, with 700 sentences and 2000 words using speech recognition.

All the language courses will be in the shops this week, priced at £29.99.

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