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Rosetta Stone

Language Education Software

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Excellent Language Learning Software

  • Nov 12, 2010
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Rosetta Stone software is far and away the best tool for learning a language (I own and have tried dozens of other brands).  Rosetta Stone really does use an excellent technique for teaching you but it does tie you to your computer for learning.  Pimsleur is excellent for teaching conversational skills and is great to use in your car or wherever you can listen to an audio only lesson.  The combination of Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone is the only practical way I know to gain basic functionality with a foreign language other than to take live courses (or live in the country).

I own Rosetta Stone version 2 Spanish and version 2 German and now version 3 Japanese.  Rosetta Stone has totally failed to advertise and communicate what a huge improvement version 3 is over version 2.  Version 3 is excellent with the way it blends a variety of lessons (always including the great visual aspect) and pushes you to practice speaking too.

One of the big improvements in version 3 is removing the requirement to have the CD in your drive.  By loading it completely onto your hard drive it is far more convenient to just fire it up for a quick lesson (and no more worries about scratched or damaged disks).  Version 3 can be installed on two computers, so you can have it on your main machine as well as on a laptop you travel with.  Very handy!

I take one point off because there are lessons which don't make any sense until after you understand what they are asking / teaching.  I take another point off because of the high cost. Also there are occasional minor errors (Rosetta Stone has been great and very appreciative of my reporting of errors and they are good about fixing them and updating the product).  Also beware that Rosetta Stone does not support the product if you purchase from any other vendor than directly from them.

If you can afford it, Rosetta Stone should be your first choice in language learning software (and Pimsleur should be obtained as a companion to enhance your learning of conversational skills).

No matter what, learning from lessons like these will only teach you the crude basics, they will leave you far short of "fluent".

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November 16, 2010
Rosetta Stone uses rich visual imagery to help one learn and think in a new language. This association of language with images is an integral part of the Dynamic Immersion method. You can learn in context and make a direct connection between words and their meanings.
November 16, 2010
I've reviewed lots of language learning software and books for the less commonly learned language of Irish; for this, RS is too expensive for me to try out. Pimsleur for Irish has only a few hours on a few CDs of rudimentary chat; I suspect RS has a lot more depth, but at this price, it is prohibitive and discouraging. And, libraries do not stock it-- unlike more modest software for some less common languages. For a popular one, I also wonder if RS has more competition at less expensive prices than RS? They seem for less common languages to control the market.
November 30, 2010
For exposure (not really learning) less common languages, products like "101 Languages of the World" (Transparent Language) which I bought for $8 are available. Also "Instant Immersion 33 Languages" (Topics Entertainment $50). These are low cost ways to get started on many languages but they certainly don't have the ability to develop good comprehension and retention like Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur.
November 15, 2010
Ooooh, very cool! Have you gone to those countries and chatted up the locals? :). I've took Japanese classes for a few semesters, but then it became too far for me to go. Rosetta Stone sounds perfect for me right now. Thanks for sharing, John!
November 30, 2010
I have not been to Japan, but I've been to Germany and Austria. For an amusing challenge, put in a DVD movie and watch it in Japanese. You'll quickly realize that a few lessons in a language does *not* make you able to understand rapid typical dialog.
November 15, 2010
Thanks for the review. I teach in a high school where Rosetta Stone is used as a back up in the classroom. It's expensive, but the students and students like it as an alternative to the traditional "language lab".
November 15, 2010
Nice review! I've used Rosetta Stone for Spanish, as kind of a brush up on the basics. I thought it was helpful and did refresh my memory. I got a bit bored with it after a bit though and stopped, so this review has inspired me to start up again. Thanks!
November 12, 2010
Thanks for the great review John! I haven't heard of Primsleur, I'll have to check that out. I am primarily interested in French and Italian. I have only tried the Rosetta Stone demo CD so far. I'm trying to get to know everything that's available before I start homeschooling my daughter :)
November 15, 2010
Check your local library to see if you can borrow Pimsleur in your desired languages. Pimsleur is quite expensive (I think it actually costs more than Rosetta Stone if you can't get it from the library). I'd love to get Rosetta Stone French myself but limited time and money means not being able to get everything. What I really wish is that Rosetta Stone would sell some sort of "all languages" (or favorite six languages) bundle deal. At $500 per language the average person has to be very selective about what we buy.
November 15, 2010
Thanks for the tip! For come reason I never thought of looking at what my library has for language CDs, I need to remind myself it isn't just books! :)
About the reviewer
John Wright ()
Ranked #523
Member Since: Oct 10, 2010
Last Login: Jan 22, 2011 03:53 PM UTC
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"Everything we do at Rosetta Stone revolves around a simple idea: learning a language should be fun, easy and effective.

We approach language learning the same way that you first learned a language — using a natural method that teaches new language directly, without translation. That means no more confusing grammar explanations or mind-numbing vocabulary lists to memorize.

As the leading language-learning software in the world, Rosetta Stone makes learning a new language second nature. Millions of learners in more than 150 countries have already used our software to gain the confidence that comes with truly knowing a new language. We’re continually improving our software technology and adding new products. With Rosetta Stone at the helm, the future of language learning is very bright indeed."

-from their website: http://www.rosettastone.com/

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