Fast French?

A psychological approach to language learning should be available in crash-course form for your micro before Christmas.

Seven software companies are to publish Dr. Michael Gruneberg's innovative training courses, and between then they cover BBC, Dragon, Spectrum, Atari, Commodore, Oric and Camputers Lynx systems. The courses are for people who want to learn French, Spanish, Italian or German.

Dr. Gruneberg's method aimds to give you a basic vocabulary of 300 or 400 words with the gramar to use them. He says that in twelve hours you can achieve what would take 40 hours with conventional methods. The courses are primarily for people who want to learn the basics of a language in a hurry, or for holidaymakers, or for children who find the whole process boring.

"The basic technique in acquiring the vocabulary is the use of imagery," said Dr. Gruneberg. "This means linking the sounds of words in different languages."

Computers, he added, are a particularly good medium for a course of this kind. "The material is put up on the screen and patterns of testing and grammar are integrated with the vocabulary."

Dr. Gruneberg himself is a psychologist who speaks no foreign language beyond 'O' Level German. Expert linguists at the University College of Swansea verified his course material, but his primary interest is in the way people remember things and how their capacity can be increased.

The presentation of the courses is in the hands of the software houses which will publish them, but it is likely to comprise two program cassettes, an audio cassette, and a manual.