"Offers lots of different activities but not well suited for beginnres."
TELL ME MORE Arabic Review
Tell Me More's software is used by more than 10,000 academic institutions and the US State Department. So if any software program should be able to teach a complex language like Arabic it should be Tell Me More. In this review we will look at whether it lives up to its reputation and provides a comprehensive teaching approach for its Arabic language learning course. Below you will find out how much the software costs, the major advantages and disadvantages of the software and how it compares to other popular Arabic language learning programs.
What is included?
The package primarily consists of a software course. This course contains over 800 hours of material. This is a multimedia course which uses video in order to practice common conversational scenarios. For example in one scenario you practice talking with a sales assistant at a shop. Once you have viewed the conversation you will practice exercises which cover different elements of the conversation. This includes grammar principles, vocabulary and expressions used. The software has speech recognition built-in which allows you to converse and practice your Arabic.
How much does it cost?
The program is priced at $299 for the boxed set. This includes the beginner, intermediate and advanced courses.
- Huge amount of material - In total there is over 800 hours of content in this course and more than 5000 different exercises. This makes it arguably the most comprehensive Arabic learning course that is currently available.
- Lots of variety - The lessons never really get boring because of the large variety of language learning activities that are available. There are in total eleven different types of activities which include word associations, grammar practice, crossword puzzles, picture and word associations and word order exercises.
- Uses more than one dialect - One of the big problems that Arabic language courses face is choosing which dialect to teach. Tell Me More has made Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) the core of their course. But students also learn other dialects such as Egyptian, Algerian and Moroccan. This gives it an advantage over a course like Rosetta Stone which only focuses on Modern Standard Arabic.
- Addresses all of the skills required - The course doesn't just focus on one area of language learning. Students learn all of the skills that they need to master Arabic including reading, writing, speaking, grammar and cultural issues. In this regard it is a superior product to Pimsleur Arabic which only teaches speaking and listening.
- Speech recognition technology - Tell Me More uses advanced speech recognition software in their courses. The software is able to listen to you speak Arabic and then offer corrections for your pronunciation. It also uses 3D animations to show you how to correctly pronounce the 29 Arabic Phonemes. This is something that many English speakers struggle with and so it is welcome addition.
- Good for kinaesthetic and visual learners - Many language products such as Pimsleur are primarily aimed at Auditory learners. While these programs are effective if this is the way that you like to learn, they leave out a lot of students. There are many different learning approaches and is particularly good if you primary learning modalities are Visual or Kinaesthetic.
- Great for teaching grammar structure - One of the Tell Me More's main competitors is Rosetta Stone. Where Tell Me More succeeds and Rosetta Stone fails is teaching grammar. Tell Me More is excellent at explaining the structure of the Arabic language.
- Go at your own pace - The course is designed in the way that you progress through the material at your own pace. If you want to you can get through the material quite quickly, or if you are struggling with something you can spend more time on it.
- It's not well suited for beginners - Unfortunately it's not so well suited for complete beginners. The course assumes that you already understand some basic words and that you know how to read the alphabet. If you are a complete beginner you may want to pick up a textbook like "The Arabic Alphabet" by Nicholas Awde before you start using this program.
- It isn't cheap - With a price of $299 it's at the high end for a language learning course. For example Rocket Arabic is priced at $99.95 for online access and Rosetta Stone Arabic is $279.
- Progress may be slower - It's perfect if you already have beginner level Arabic skills and you want to become an intermediate or an advanced speaker. However, if you are new to Arabic you may find that your initial progress is quite slow. Other courses such as Rosetta, Pimsleur and Rocket will get you speaking your first few phrases faster. The slow initial pace might be discouraging for some students which may lead to them giving up.
- Speech recognition sometimes fails - Speech Recognition software that works consistently isn't the easiest thing to develop. Tell Me More has done a good job with this Arabic course but not a perfect one. Sometimes the speech recognition fails to pick up on words and it isn't always easy to use.
- Imense amount of material.
- Offers a huge set of activities e.g. quizzes and games.
- Explains grammar of the Arabic language well.
- Solid progress tracking.
- A tad too difficult to understand basics for starters.
- Speech recognition doesn't always work.
- Slightly expensive at $299.
Overall it's a very good program which provides a comprehensive coverage of Arabic. Tell Me More Arabic is superior to many of its nearest competitors Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur Arabic. Unlike Pimsleur, Tell Me More covers more than just speaking and listening to Arabic. It is also superior to Rosetta Stone in that it features instruction in local dialects and not just Modern Standard Arabic. Arguably the only program that it is not clearly better than this software is Rocket Arabic. Rocket Arabic offers much the same range of instruction as Tell Me More Arabic but is a third of the price. That said, if you are looking for a complete, high quality Arabic language program then Tell Me More Arabic is a very good choice.