Learning a New Language – Is Rosetta Stone Worth it?

Learning a new language is a task that takes a lot time and effort that most people find it intimidating. There are many tapes and learning tools out there for aiding in learn languages. Rosetta Stone is one of these tools, a computer software that’s aimed at helping people acquiring a new language using “Language Immersion” method (or “Dynamic Immersion” as Rosetta Stone calls it), which teaches a new language by surrounding the learner by the new language. The problem is the high price tag to acquire it, one would be hesitant to pay that much without some sort of feedback from someone who actually tried it. That’s why I wrote this article. where I am going to tell you how I felt when I used it and what areas did the program helped me in acquiring my selected new language.

My Actual Experience

I tried Rosetta Stone French (it  has been a long term dream of me to learn it), I did my best to go through all the variety of lessons, like reading, writing and speech-recognition to ensure I learn as much as possible.

At first, the program makes you choose between full course(which takes up to a year to finish, according to the Rosetta Stone) or Extended full lesson, Speaking and Listening, or Reading and Writing, depending on what area of the language you want to strength(in case you already know the language), then you will set up your mic by pronouncing the numbers “1,2,3,4,5”, a tedious process you have to go through even if you didn’t opt for a course that involves speaking or pronunciation, sadly speaking.

The program takes you through various lessons. where it displays few pictures(usually 4 or 6) and prompts you to guess what the word on the screen and click on the appropriate picture depending on the type of lesson. In reading lessons, it shows a picture of a boy, girl, cat and a dog, and on the top of the screen you see, say, “Dog” with a native speaker pronouncing it. In listening lessons, you only hear the word or the sentence and the it won’t appear in the screen. The native voice is so clear and it’s easy to detect the nuances in the way it pronounce every word. after a some trial and error you will be able to guess the word, and you will be presented with another word for one of the other pictures. When you’re done with the first group of pictures, you will be presented with another group of pictures and so on. As time passes. the program gradually incorporate new vocabulary and grammar in a clear and intuitive way.

The use of clear images makes learning basic stuff easy and more fun.

Interactive Learning Tool

Level I, level I is mostly about learning vocabulary, it will only help you learn vocabulary and some simple sentences, however, it gets pretty serious in Level II, where you will be taught how to ask more complicated sentences and questions, how to give direction to someone lost, how to ask someone for their name, and so on. they’re extremely helpful to learn a good amount of vocabulary and sentences quite easily. I found that I remember most of the words I learned without much effort from my side, as they have been repeated on me enough throughout the program.

Each level is divided into multiple units, and each unit starts with a core lesson that introduces you to the new vocabulary and grammar, then you go through the same stuff with a lessons that focuses on nurturing your grammar, vocabulary, writing, and pronunciation and speaking(depending on what course you chose to go through). As I said before, the repetition in the lessons helps you remember the vocabulary, the grammar and how each kind of sentence is formed for a long time in the future and you will barely feel it.

Speaking and pronunciation lessons are even more interesting. After you speak the words you are prompted to Rosetta Stone immediately highlights the words you pronounced right, and keeps the words you didn’t shaded, I tried to say “l’arbe” instead of “l’arbre”(the French word for “Tree”) and Rosetta Stone detected it so easily. And we found that it always detected that I pronounce the words “c’est” and “ce” wrong. You have to pronounce the majority of the words right in order to Rosetta Stone to make you pass to the next sentence.

As you can see above, the word I pronounced right has been highlighted, while the other words has not.

Throughout your learning experience, you will be engaged in short conversation to help you know what to say in different situations.

While Rosetta won’t actually teach you grammars, you will find you can form many kinds of sentences without them most of the time. The program is made so that you will be able to intuitively guess what the tense of the sentence is and it’s easy to notice the different between the sentences in each one. In some other cases, you will be engaged in a short conversation and you will have to choose the right sentence for the context. Levels III and above are more focused into communicating with the world around you in depth.

Rosetta Stone makes It easy to learn grammar using intuitive images for each tense of the verb

One of the good side-effects of dynamic immersion method is that I found myself to be so ignorant about the grammar of French, which is a good thing for the most part, giving that native speak don’t learn them as a child. It kinda felt like I am a child again.

Is Rosetta Stone worth it ?

So far, Rosetta Stone didn’t make me a native-fluent in French(I only went through Level I and II and partly Level III), but I came out with a good amount of vocabulary and grammar in a relatively short amount of time(about six months), and I now can read French pretty easily, providing I know all the vocabulary in the article I am reading. And all without even memorizing anything. I think I need more immersion in the language to become better, For their credit, Rosetta Stone mentioned a similar thing in their site.

Our solution provides the necessary tools for you to explore a new language. You’ll learn quickly and effectively as you build a foundation of fundamental vocabulary and essential language structure. You’ll gain the confidence to enjoy social interactions such as greetings and introductions, dining out, giving and getting directions, shopping, and other recreational activities. Depending on the language and levels selected, you can continue to expand your language ability. With our complete set, you’ll be able to share your ideas and opinions and discuss current events, negotiate complex situations and cultivate conversational skills to navigate the workplace, care for your health, travel abroad, and experience success.

Finally, is Rosetta Stone worth it? I say yes, it is. And I strongly encourage you to try it, if you’re still hesitant about whatever it’s the right tool for you or not, I suggest you pick up Level I for the language you want to learn and see for yourself. It’s great to acquire a new language without the help of someone else. I believe that’s the real bless for technology.

Common languages you can learn with Rosetta Stone: Arabic,  Hebrew, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Russian.