REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 10, 2000 — ”
éesta el banco?”
You’re at a caf
in Madrid. Did you just ask your waiter where you could get more pesos or the directions to the nearest washroom? Because banco is Spanish for bank, you may be dismayed to learn that not only is it four blocks away, it is also closed at night.
Microsoft Corp. today unveiled a groundbreaking new way to prevent the confusion above from happening to anyone again. Encarta® Language Learning Spanish and Encarta Language Learning French, the latest product from its leading interactive learning brand Encarta, is the industry’s most engaging language learning software, combining the latest Microsoft® technology voice recognition, authoritative curricula and a realistic interactive environment to build skills in Spanish and French communication.
Encarta Language Learning is being introduced at a time when overseas business and leisure travel is on the rise, more schools are looking for Spanish and French-speaking teachers, and non-English speaking cultures are increasingly influencing mainstream American life. Recent U.S. Census bureau figures estimate that by 2005, Latinos will be the largest minority group in the country. The cultural influences can be seen and heard in everyday life, from popular music to shopping and travel.
“These changes in our society have encouraged people to take up a new language or broaden the basics they already know. However, some people find learning new languages to be very challenging and often boring,”
said Claudia Ender, Microsoft Encarta product manager.
Imagine entering a 3-D virtual world and simulating conversations with the locals at the places like a hotel in Spain or a caf
éin France. Encarta Language Learning’s combination of video and voice recognition enables you to do exactly that.”
A distinguished board of advisers helped guide the development of Encarta Language Learning’s solid curriculum, which focuses on listening and conversation skills. The activities are interactive and approachable, immersing people into a virtual world unmatched by current self-study language learning products.
“We finally have a product in which the educational process is as good as the technology,”
said James F. Lee, professor of Spanish and director of Language Instruction at Indiana University, Bloomington.
“People will lose themselves in the rich, vibrant multimedia experience and learn at the same time.”
Encarta Language Learning is designed to be an engaging, immersive learning tool that allows students to spend their time learning the language – not learning to use the product. Some of the highlights follow. s
Virtual Challenges (patent pending) offer full-motion 3-D video environments, breakthrough technology that allows people to use the software’s speech recognition feature to simulate conversations with authentic characters (e.g., a waiter or a hotel clerk), each speaking the native language.
More than 360 activities support the lessons to build listening and speaking skills and vocabulary development.
The Information Center provides on-screen support, including dialog translations, grammar tips, culture tips, and an option to listen to the videos at reduced speed.
The Reference Tool ensures easy, quick access to grammar, glossary, special words, and conjugation and pronunciation information.
A Study Planner (patent pending) schedules and organizes lesson plans to suit the student’s schedule and desired proficiency level.
Multiple user login allows the whole family or an entire classroom to learn at its own pace with a personalized Study Planner and Progress Tracker.
Encarta Language Learning is available in standard version (estimated retail price* $34.95 (U.S.)), which includes the program CD and a microphone. In addition to the standard components, the deluxe version (estimated retail price* $54.95 (U.S.)) includes two audio CDs, a 240-page workbook and a CD with full-screen videos. Volume discounts may apply for schools, colleges and libraries and can be found online at http://www.microsoft.com/education/pricing/ .
Microsoft’s Learning Business Unit designs a line of award-winning interactive learning products that allow students to enhance learning through technology. Encarta Language Learning is the most recent addition to the Encarta line, which also includes the Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe, Encarta Interactive World Atlas, Encarta World English Dictionary and Encarta Africana (sold together in the Encarta Reference Suite and available individually), as well as Encarta.com, an up-to-date collection of searchable reference text.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.
* Reseller prices may vary.
Microsoft and Encarta are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. A special password-protected press site is available at http://www.microsoft.com/encarta/ if you are interested in viewing reviewers guides and additional press information.