Rosetta Stone V3 Russian
My mother is a Russian native speaker, but she never taught me Russian when I was a kid. Too bad, but then came Rosetta Stone ("RS" from here), and I tried the demo (something I STRONGLY recommend for any computer, or online class), and then I bought the package.
After finishing level 1 within a month I now started level 2, and I must admit that the learning curve is quite steep. Still, I'm very determined to get through the whole thing in less than six months.
What I like about RS:
- the speech recognition is excellent, state of the art.
- the ability to listen to almost every sentence at various speeds is fantastic.
- the way the language is brought to you is systematic, and provides a very good foundation for the language.
- it covers reading, writing, listening, and speaking lessons.
- it comes with a six month money-refund no-questions-asked policy (otherwise, I wouldn't have spent so much money).
- it's incredibly motivating by stimulating my curiosity about the next page, and the next lesson, and so it keeps me going. I've never had a comparable feeling in any language class with real people.
What I don't like about RS:
- sometimes it's ABSOLUTELY NOT clear what is meant by a certain word, or phrase (but they do provide
all texts as PDFs, so thankfully I'm able to read it in German).
- I suspect that originally RS was designed as an English course. Unfortunately, there are some grammatical concepts in Russian that simply don't exist in English, and I feel they could expand, or rearrange some lessions in order to provide more examples for those.
- RS doesn't teach you Russian handwriting, which is quite different than the printed letters.
I don't recommend using RS as the sole source, or tool for learning a foreign language, and I certainly will expand my Russian universe as soon as I'm finished with level 3. Apart from my mother, I'll find other native speakers, and I will listen to broadcasts, buy newspapers, and do anything I can to open as many sources to Russian as possible.
One final word about RS's price:
RS is cheap compared to many real-life language classes. The cheapest one I could find in Vienna was about 4 times as expensive as RS. That said, there are some online / software products that are a lot cheaper than RS, or even entirely free:
www.livemocha.com - has a vast free section, and provides native speakers for basically every living language as tutors.
www.russlandjournal.de - provides over 80 podcasts of Russian lessions for German natives, and a lot of background information about Russia.