PeanutButter - A New, Video-based Language Software
by Dale Franklin
(Gaithersburg, MD, USA)
I have read many reviews of Rosetta Stone that mostly discuss (if they like it) that it takes so long to be able to speak the language.
There is a product called PeanutButter (www.peanutbuttersticks.com) that released a product in 2009. They are a small startup company. The software uses live video, captioning and a number of other very practical, and easy to use features.
You can see people having a conversation and see captions for everything they say in English, the language your are studying. And, they have a unique caption that gives you the exact meaning of every word in every sentence.
One really amazing feature is that what you are studying (the exact phrase) is tied to each function in the software so you can look at the grammar, word formation and other things as you study. You can even customize the content while you are studying.
It's new and they are still improving it, but the price is very low ($60). They only have Spanish available now, but the Spanish has content from 6 regional dialects. You hear all kinds of accents.
They are adding activities that make it more interactive, but I think the product is really good. I'll be interested to see what they do with it down the road.