Rosetta Stone V2 Review
Note** This is a review of Rosetta Stone Version 2 which has been replaced by Version 3. I have moved this review here in its entirety along with many of the older visitor reviews and comments. Some people may be interested to read it since older versions of Rosetta Stone (like Version 2) are still being sold, borrowed or otherwise circulated. You can read
my review of Rosetta Stone V3 here.
Update I no longer endorse Rosetta Stone products, but I will keep this review intact and unaltered as it reflects my fair and honest opinion of the product at the time I wrote it. While I have had a difficult and unpleasant working relationship with Rosetta Stone, this does not necessarily reduce the effectiveness of the Rosetta Stone software for the right language learner.
Some of the increasingly negative user reviews and comments that you can read below have raised questions regarding their policies, customer relations and product quality. I caution any potential buyer to try their demo and be absolutely confident before you make a purchase.In looking for an alternative software product, I have been overjoyed with . Of course, I recommend you view the demo of their software as well. Read my review of Tell Me More here.
Rosetta Stone is one of the most popular language learning software methods. They are obviously very successful, as their ads can be seen not only on the internet, but in magazines and even on tv. Is the program really as good as they say?
How Rosetta Stone Works
Because it is software, it can easily integrate audio, text and images. This allows the learner to associate the sound and look of the written language with real-life images in a natural way. This is what they mean when they say that Rosetta Stone teaches you a new language the way you learned your native language.
At the beginning, you are presented with a series of pictures and a word is spoken with the accompanying text on screen. You must then select which picture goes with that word. You may already have a clue as to which one it is or not. If you get it right, you move on. If not, you try again until you get it. These mistakes are actually essential to this learning process. You will learn very quickly during this trial and error process.
In time, words become phrases, then full sentences. Ideas and concepts begin to replace simple objects and actions. Through pattern recognition, more and more of the language is understandable. Slowly, but surely, you develop a foundation in your new language. This is all done without any translation into English. It's all done in the language you are studying, and this is one of the strongest advantages of Rosetta Stone.
Features of Rosetta Stone Software
Rosetta Stone software includes native-speaker audio, text and the new Level 3 even focuses on video. There are a number of basic exercises that focus on a combination of skills such as reading and writing over listening and speaking or vice versa. There is also a voice recognition feature to aid in learning proper pronunciation.
You can choose which units and exercises you want to study, or you can just let the software take you on its guided tour through the whole course. It's really pretty flexible. This means the student can focus more on weak points to improve them, and you can work at your own pace.
Rosetta Stone also offers an online subscription. Rather than buy the software, you can have a monthly subscription and access the software from any internet-capable computer. It is a more affordable and flexible option that might appeal to some.
The best way to know for sure if Rosetta Stone is right for you is to view their online demo. Try it for yourself so you can see if it fits your learning style.
There are some languages where Rosetta Stone may be the best option to learn. Very few publishers make a language product for Pashto, Hindi, Polish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese. These languages are all available for Level 1. There is also a Level 1 and 2 for Farsi, Tagalog and Dutch which has surprisingly few commercial products available.
No language learning method is perfect. And no language learning product can cover every aspect of learning a particular language. Each publisher necessarily chooses where to focus its efforts and which aspects of learning to let go. Rosetta Stone is no exception.
One aspect of the software that I noticed was that even if you had no idea what a correct choice was, you could often choose the correct one by guessing, taking a visual clue from the picture or the process of elimination. The exercises can be a little repetitive or tedious. It was easy to lose focus, get lazy and just guess.
You could say that it is still learning. Sometimes you are focused and others you are not. But, whether you are using tricks or the process of elimination, you're still learning a language. Perhaps, but I thought there were times when the software allowed me to act that way.
In a similar way, I found it was easy to pick up visual clues from not just the picture, but from the text. This may be a good thing at times, but it is much easier to pick up visual clues from languages with Roman alphabets, like Spanish, Italian, German etc. But the same is not true for others, like Chinese, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian etc. This might make the software seem more effective for some languages, when in fact it is just easier to cheat.
Of course, with the flexibility, you could adjust the exercises that you are using - take out that text/visual clue. But how many users would recognize this weakness in their learning, or even wish to take it out?
One thing that I personally don't like about Rosetta Stone is that there is little to actually use early on. You are getting a good foundation in the language, but you can't go out and use it. There isn't any conversation at all until level 2 and 3.
Some would say this is necessary - first learn proper pronunciation, listening skills, sentence structure and word order. Then learn conversation. It's a matter of individual learning styles and goals.
Rosetta Stone is for building a good foundation in your target language. For that, it is one of the best methods available. It gives you a good system, native-speaker audio, text, and it's flexible. They offer a CD or online subscription option, provide a free demo for you to try it out, and a 100% money back guarantee (only when you buy the CD version - the guarantee is not available for the online subscription).
I have used it myself and I think highly enough of it to endorse it on this site. As with all methods, I would recommend using it in conjunction with another method or other complementary learning materials. It may be more expensive than some other methods, but if it works for you then it is money well spent. Try out the demo to learn for yourself how Rosetta Stone works for you.
Rosetta Stone language learning software is available for the following languages for Level 1, 2 and 3 :
Arabic, English (British), English (American), French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (Latin American), Spanish (Spain), Irish, Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, Farsi, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese and Tagalog.
Rosetta Stone language learning software is available for the following languages for Level 1 only of Version 2 :
Danish, Indonesian, Latin, Pashto, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, Welsh
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