Perhaps unreasonable expectations?

by Lee
(Rockford, IL)

I have struggled learning Spanish all my life. I grew up in a border town within walking distance from the border, had native Spanish speaking friends, spent about three weeks in a Central American country to work on Spanish and took formal Spanish courses. I probably know more ABOUT Spanish than many fluent speakers, but I still have a horrible time understanding it or speaking it when I'm put on the spot; reading it, a bit better but not much better than reading street signs or store fronts. My mind flips through tables of verb tenses, whether to use "por" or "para" and all of that stuff.

When I started using Rosetta Stone, I flew through the first few lessons because of my past knowledge. About midway through the third core lesson, however, I hit one of those moments where I have been many times before when talking to someone who spoke no English? No comprendo y no comprende. On the border you can communicate and survive because most people know some basic stuff in the other language, so you can communicate without really ever learning the other language. Anyway, faced with one of these moments of impasse with the software, I wondered what in the hell it was trying to say. I worked through it by struggling with what was presented and not simply trying to translate it. Therefore, I am finding the program helpful.

Now, I know some are not happy because there is no direct translation to the native language, but to be fair, they advertise it that way. Plus, one person made the point that it was unclear if the sentence was "the boy was under the plane" or "the plane over the boy". What's the difference? Yes, the words are different, but as you work with other similar relationships it will be clearer whether something is "under" or another thing is "over".

I have no delusions that somehow Rosetta Stone will beam fluent Spanish into my head. Is it helpful for me and for my needs? You bet. Is it the only thing I will have to do to really become fluent in Spanish? No way. And if you think it will for you, might I suggest that perhaps your expectations are a bit skewed?

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