Learner. Completed Levels 1 and 2
by Fred Waddell, Ph.D.
I formerly studied Russian at the Language School in Monterey when I was in the service, and worked as a Russian linguist while in the service, so I well understand the principle of "immersion' (being immersed in a language while studying it. HOWEVER, ......
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 excellent; 1 very poor)
I would rank Rosetta Stone (Japanese) a 5 (average). Several serious problems exist as follows:
1. They provide no explanation at all of any grammar, and ASSUME that you will automatically understand the grammar via the exercises. Just a few explanations of grammar would greatly assist, speed up the learning process. For examples, there are about 24 particles in Japanese, which have no translation in themselves, but determine such things, as subject, direct object, indirect object, questions, preferences, etc. They can be very difficult, but as I found out from another source, do not have to interfere with your understanding of the language.
2. Another huge obstacle is that they provide no vocabulary. I had to purchase a Japanese-English dictionay, and my wife printed a dictionary from the web. If not for these, I would never had made progress.
In this regard, they claim in their ads, that memorization is not necessary, but if you did not memorize any vocabulary, how could you understand any conversation. In fact, memorization is necessary, but you approach it somewhat differently, AND you will absolutely need a Japanese dictionary (not provided by Rosetta Stone.
3. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to get a question answered about the Japanese language per se, or any difficulties you might be having, unless it is a technical question that can be answered by a tech person.
4. Rosetta Stone is expensive, and based on my experience is greatly overpriced.