It’s obvious how it important it is to know more than one language. The problem lies in actually learning it. Unless you’re in school, you usually have to rely on learning it on your own. Unlike books and tapes, in which you can only interact in one way, Rosetta Stone Language Learning Software gives you the ability to read, listen, and speak, engaging most of your senses so that you grasp more of the language that you’re trying to learn. You have two options – you can purchase the CD-ROM software or you can buy an online subscription. I was able to try out the latter for about a month, along with my husband, and would definitely recommend it.
I heard about Rosetta Stone years ago, when a co-worker of mine bought the Japanese software at the mall one day. I honestly had no idea that an online version had been developed until now. The online subscription gives you access to the latest version of the Rosetta Stone software, levels 1-3, and a free headset is included. You can start using it right away – no downloads are necessary – but you must have a high-speed internet connection.
Rosetta Stone teaches you a new language through immersion, so you’ll never see or hear anything in English, which I found outstanding! This really kept me focused because when you see something in your native language, it’s impossible for your eyes not to be drawn to that over and over again, which doesn’t help you learn to think in the new language at all. I like that you learn at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. I could log on whenever I had some quiet time, and my husband would get on after dinner for an hour or two. After only a few lessons, both my husband and I realized that our comprehension had increased.
I might be putting it too simply, but imagine a baby or a toddler looking through a board book filled with simple photos, while their mom or dad points and says the name of each object. This is how the Rosetta Stone Language Learning Software works. You start off by learning words and matching them to pictures, then come phrases, full sentences, and so on. You are graded on your progress, so it’s almost like a game. There is a lot of repetition, so it could get boring, but I find this is necessary for language learning. I even found it to be a little fun, which I can’t say about other language courses I’ve taken in the past. Part of this is that Rosetta Stone doesn’t cover any of the technical aspects of learning a language. There are no “rules”. I remember taking French in high school and being SO confused when it came to preterite versus imperfect… and don’t even get me started on the endless vocabulary lists I had to memorize! It all pretty much went in one ear and out the other.
Easily adaptable to suit your needs, this software can be used from early childhood on. For instance, if you have a child that can’t read yet, they could just do the speaking exercises. As their reading and writing skills develop, they could move on to those parts of the program. The headset is very comfortable to use, and the voice recognition software is quite accurate and very useful in helping you improve your pronunciation. That’s the problem with books on tape – you can repeat what you hear, but can never be truly sure if you’re saying everything correctly. With Rosetta Stone you can.
Rosetta Stone is definitely an investment, both in time and money. A 6-month online subscription costs $199.95 and a 12-month is $100 more. Compared to the CD-ROM software, I’d say the online subscription is ideal for tourists or business people that want to brush up on a language before traveling to a particular country, like Michael Phelps, for instance, who used the Chinese program to learn to communicate with the locals before the Beijing Olympics. The CDs, since they’re more expensive, would be best for someone serious about learning a language for the long-term.
One downside of learning on your own is that you can’t ask questions, but that’s something that you’d have to deal with using any language learning software. I’d recommend having a dictionary by your side while you’re using the course, and it might also be helpful to use SharedTalk. This is a social networking website (and you know how much I love social networking!!) that connects like-minded individuals who want to learn a foreign language online. It’s free to use and could be really helpful for those moments where you need a question answered or would like some feedback from a native speaker, not a computer. You can find a member that is compatible with you, meaning he or she speaks the language that you’re learning and is in the process of learning English, or enter voice and text chats to start talking right away.
Starting today, Rosetta Stone is inviting you to get into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit by offering one week of free Rosetta Stone Irish language tutorials. Get in touch with your Irish heritage and impress your friends with your newfound skills! You can access the free Rosetta Stone Irish program trial by logging onto www.rosettastone.com and clicking on the registration link. Free access to the lessons will be available from March 12 – March 19, 2009.
Even if you’re not too interested in Gaelic, take advantage of this special promotion to try Rosetta Stone for yourself! In my opinion, it’s never too late to learn a new language, and with all the languages available (over 30!!) there must surely be something you’re curious about. Simply log onto www.rosettastone.com after 6pm EST today and click the registration link to get started!