A&B Computing1st June 1985
Published in A&B Computing 2.06
This is a package of French revision exercises supplied on tape or disc, with price varying according to whether one, two or four programs are purchased. The review copy was supplied on disc with two programs: A. Agreement of past participle, sentence structure and idiom and B. Comparative/superlative of adjectives/adverbs, use of perfect tense and pronouns. The other two routines were described as dealing with C. Partitive article, personal and relative pronouns, future and pluperfect tenses and the imperative and D. Gender, number and agreement and the present tense.
Also included is a well presented keyboard instruction sequence which includes direction on the use of the cursor keys to enter accents and more general instructions on use of return, delete, etc. All programs are presented on Mode 4 screens using double spacing to allow interposition of accents in user-defined characters. Error trapping, menu control, etc is all very professional, and the package does provide practice with feedback on a large range of grammatical constructions.
Another nice touch is the use of the French language for all prompts such as "Pour continuer, appuyez sur la barre d'espacement".
I do, however, feel that it is a very dull package, admittedly designed to do a dull job. No user will have any delusions that this program involves anything other than fairly tedious work. It is also unfortunate that all exercises on a given option are repeated in the same order without randomisation and preceded by frustratingly slowly presented examples. Repeating an exercise previously unfinished will hence prove pretty boring.
My main complaint is the policy of marketing the package in pieces at unrealistically high fees. Charging up to nearly £240 on disc for the complete set of programs, the computer have seen it necessary to offer cheaper packs of one or two programs to those who can't afford it. I feel they would have done much better to market the whole package for well under £20. Its educational application must be primarily for schools rather than home use because, as the documentation itself states (!) it is unwise to expose any one individual to the programs for more than half an hour at a time, and in my view repetition will do little to rekindle enthusiasm.