Better Than Traditional Classroom Instruction

by Joe
(My Living Room)

I have to say that I am very happy with Rosetta Stone so far. Admittedly, that opinion might be different if I'd paid full price for it, but I didn't, so that's a moot point.

RS offers a very intuitive learning interface. A picture of some object or action is shown on the screen, and you are required to choose which word or phrase describes the picture. It really is like learning a first language in that you're not required to stop and think about the translation to your native language. As to the comments about some answers being easy to guess, my opinion is that the course is designed that way to an extent. For example, in the Italian language program, one section gives the words for coffee (caffe) and milk (latte). The next section has three pictures - coffee, milk, and water. The program speaks the two words it has previously given you, then the new word, which it has not taught to that point. So, yes, on some occasions, a new word is taught by forcing you to eliminate familiar words and choosing the one that is left.

Like one of the other reviewers mentioned, RS does not work miracles. You won't be fluent in the language you're studying immediately. Some determination and time is required, and if you don't have either, then I wouldn't bother. Like so many other educational curricula, you will get out of it exactly what you put into it.

Having said all that, I do have two complaints. The first is the voice recognition. Sometimes it just doesn't work properly. Sometimes it refuses to register that I've spoken at all, other times it doesn't recognize what I've said as being correct, which could mean I'm wrong, but how hard is it to pronounce a single syllable, like 'pa'? The second complaint is the pace of the lessons. Some are almost monotonously repetitive, others try to give too much information. I suppose it balances to a degree, though - anytime I feel moderately overwhelmed by the amount of content, the next several sessions repeat the same information ad nauseum.

All in all, I would recommend RS to anyone who needs or wants to learn a language, though I limit this recommendation to languages based on the Roman alphabet based on the lack of reading and writing lessons. However, if you're not serious about learning, or if you don't plan to put any effort into the process, you're better off spending your money on a collection of Adam Sandler DVDs.

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