ROSETTA STONE: What is your opinion about this language program?


#1

My husband and I are researching various language programs to teach our children Spanish. This would be used by children from 9 years old to 17.

Rosetta Stone is very expensive. The most economical way to buy it is the buy all five "courses" but that costs around $575. You can buy level one for about $200, then add each level for about $100-$150 each, the more you buy, the cheaper it is per level, the most economical was to purchase is to buy it all at once. It comes with a six month full-refund guarantee, but I haven't researched how that refund process works. And of course, I've read mixed reviews about the program itself. Most of these reviews are on Amazon.com, so you have to wonder about the sources of the glowing reviews as well as the negative reviews. Competing programs may very well post some of the negative reviews, and Rosetta Stone employees might post some of the positive ones. Who can possibly know?

If you have tried Rosetta Stone, what is your experience? Have your children used it (for enrichment or for homeschool) successfully? Does it hold their interest? Are they able to speak or understand the language? Or has another computer based program worked better for your family? How many levels of RS did you buy? Are your children learning grammar as well? Was this the best decision for your situation. Is it a good value? Any regrets? If you could do it all over again, would you choose Rosetta Stone?

Thank you for your replies, I really need objective opinions about this software, pros and cons.


#2

It's not my favorite langauge program.

I know that you used to be able to try it on a trial basis online, so you could try doing that to see how well it works for your family. My own problem is that it did not address grammar, and I think that grammar is important in learning a language especially if you want to go further with it.

The other problem I had was that it was very difficult to use the pronunciation part. I used to speak only Spanish, so my pronunciation and acccent are good. Their little graph did not give me the proper feedback so that i could see what was wrong when they said I had pronounced a word incorrectly, and I found that very frustrating as native-level speakers had not noticed mispronunciations by me. I think this might be even more frustrating for people unfamiliar with the language.

To me, Rosetta Stone is basically a very expensive flashcard system. I ended up deciding to teach my children and myself Latin from Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata. It's been slow going, but it is my absolutely favorite langauge program of all times, with a good balance of grammar and language immersion instruction. Unfortunately I have not found similar programs in other languages.

I know others really like it, so I hope you will get a balance of feedback for your question. I just don't know why they like it :o


#3

First off, I LOVE that you’re teaching them Spanish. Being bilingual is such a wonderful thing. Also, I love the Spanish language so it makes me happy when parents want their children to learn it.

I apologize in advance because I have never personally used the program. However, in my highschool Spanish class (I'm 16) this past year there was a boy who had used Rosetta Stone thru the summer and into the school year. He was quite ahead of the rest of us in regards to comprehension. Overall, he really seemed to be able to understand and speak Spanish better than nearly all the rest of the kids in the class. So I suppose what I’m trying to get at is that Rosetta Stone has given an edge to at least one person.

Something I’d suggest though is having your kids enrolled in a Spanish class/immersion sessions at your local community center or elsewhere (perhaps after they’ve begun to grasp the basics). As much as Rosetta Stone/other computer programs may be able to do, I really think the experience of conversing with someone in Spanish is irreplaceable. I’ve been taking Spanish as well as studying it on my own for quite a number of years now. Though I’ve never used computer programs, I must say I am quite fluent.


#4

There are much better free course out there. I would start with the foreign service institute courses that are in public domain and are available here:

fsi-language-courses.org/Content.php?page=Spanish

Destinos is another course that is available for free.

learner.org/resources/series75.html

If you're looking to buy a course for home school I would recommend Platiquemos by Don Casteel. I bought the course in digital format for about $100 and it really is second to none. I believe that Don Casteel died recently and I don't think his website still offers the course in digital format but with a little searching you should be able to find it somewhere.

Pimsleur is another course that I would recommend over Rosetta but it is rather expensive.


#5

[quote="St_Francis, post:2, topic:207207"]
It's not my favorite langauge program.

I know that you used to be able to try it on a trial basis online, so you could try doing that to see how well it works for your family. My own problem is that it did not address grammar, and I think that grammar is important in learning a language especially if you want to go further with it.

The other problem I had was that it was very difficult to use the pronunciation part. I used to speak only Spanish, so my pronunciation and acccent are good. Their little graph did not give me the proper feedback so that i could see what was wrong when they said I had pronounced a word incorrectly, and I found that very frustrating as native-level speakers had not noticed mispronunciations by me. I think this might be even more frustrating for people unfamiliar with the language.

To me, Rosetta Stone is basically a very expensive flashcard system. I ended up deciding to teach my children and myself Latin from Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata. It's been slow going, but it is my absolutely favorite langauge program of all times, with a good balance of grammar and language immersion instruction. Unfortunately I have not found similar programs in other languages.

I know others really like it, so I hope you will get a balance of feedback for your question. I just don't know why they like it :o

[/quote]

This :thumbsup:

You're not going to learn a language simply by learning the vocabulary and associating pictures with foreign words. You need to learn the grammar and you need drills and repetition. You do need to put in the work until speaking the language becomes second nature. The claim that you can learn a language with out all of the boring work is a marketing gimmick which should be obvious to anyone who has ever attempted to learn another language.


#6

Rosetta Stone is not my favorite. I would go with Pimsleur. I think it's wonderful that you want your children to learn another language.


#7

Thank you for all of your replies, please keep them coming. Your insights and opinions are very interesting and immensely helpful. Thanks again!


#8

Have you checked with your public library?

Our library has some language programs for check-out…


#9

When I was seven years old, my mother brought home a small paperback book called "See It and Say It in Spanish." I taught myself Spanish as much as I was able from that book until I was able to take Spanish in Junior High School. I then went on to major in Spanish in college and earned a Master's Degree in it. Earlier this summer I earned some money as a freelance Spanish translator, and Spanish is also a part of my current job.

I'd say when it comes to learning a foreign language, far more important than even the teaching method (and I studied several in college from the teaching standpoint) ... is interest, enthusiasm, and the willingness to work hard. Aptitude helps.

Buena suerte. :)

~~ the phoenix


#10

Rosetta Stone is the BEST!!!!

I have been pretty much mono-lingual my entire life and have had enough problems speaking English, however about a year ago I started planning a trip to Italy and bought the Rosetta Stone Italian Courses 1+2. By the time we went to Italy I was speaking Molto bene!! The programs are easy to use, having the microphone interaction, you can be sure your pronunciations are correct. I can't say enough good things about Rosetta Stone and I would highly recommend it.


#11

I'm also on a linguistics forum. There was a discussion on RS last year, and the general consensus was that it wasn't worth the money. I've used Pimsleur, and I think it's very effective, but I like a little more analysis in my language lessons that it provides.

DaveBj


#12

Where do you find Pinsleur for free?


#13

I've used RS to learn French. I liked the program. While I'm no expert, I think that it is a great program for what it purports to be -- teach someone to speak a different language in a somewhat fast fashion. I think it could be a good start; but if you're wanting something more academic, it might not be the right choice.


#14

I am on Level I, Unit 4, Lesson 8 of my Tagalog. Best 200 bucks we ever spent! I am going for Russian next.


#15

I spent $500 for a Rosetta Stone for one language - three years later using it 30 mins/day, I still can't communicate. I went to a local language program and they tested me to put me in a group, they put me in the "beginner" group. And I'm no slouch - Ivy League graduate degrees.


#16

This information below should help for choosing any sort of language learning course. It addresses the gimmicks modern language tools use, and offers a glimpse at a more complete way to learn a language that had been taught to such people as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

classicalliberalarts.com/library/learning_without_reason.htm


#17

Rosetta Stone is a good program. I used it to freshen up my Arabic (I studied 4 semesters in college) when we found out we were moving to Egypt. It worked well as a refresher, but I'm not sure about it's efficacy for beginners.

I also want to add, I don't know what the demographics are in your area, but in my home area as well as many parts of the country there are huge numbers of latin and hispanic immigrants. Most struggle for years to find the time and money to learn English. Several church in my area have instituted "language swaps" where families sign up to help one another learn each other's languages. This not only helps you and your kids learn a new language, but you get new friends, community involvement, the satisfaction of helping a new family fit in better to their new home, and usually some authentic latin, mexican, or hispanic cuisine along the way, provided you are willing to reciprocate.

Is this type of arrangement something you would or could consider?


#18

tulsaworld.com/business/article.aspx?subjectid=52&articleid=20100727_52_E3_Fluenz903794

By coincidence, this AP article showed up in this morning's paper. The writer compared RS and a program called Fluenz. Just judging from the article, I'd pro'ly prefer Fluenz, because it "relates the grammar and syntax of a foreign language to the structure of [English]." That said, it still requires working through a computer, and I don't like that. I prefer CDs and a book; I can rip the files from the CDs, make .mp3's out of them, load them on my player, and I'm always ready to do some listening and learning.

For someone who wants to try out a foreign language, rather than laying out $500+ for one of these programs, I would suggest going to the language section of the local big bookstore and picking up one of the <$50 programs for tourists or businesspeeps. If you can't work your way through that, you're not likely to get through one of the big programs.

DaveBj (BA in Russian, simulated BA in Arabic, have worked in 4 other languages)


#19

[quote="Koolerkev, post:16, topic:207207"]
This information below should help for choosing any sort of language learning course. It addresses the gimmicks modern language tools use, and offers a glimpse at a more complete way to learn a language that had been taught to such people as St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas.

classicalliberalarts.com/library/learning_without_reason.htm

[/quote]

I think he has a very good point in terms of actually learning a language instead of just being able to ask specific questions and hope to get the gist of the answer, but I have a serious bone to pick with the "usual" way of teaching Latin: a friend of mine studied Latin for 5 years and got very good grades, but she cannot read without translating. The author of the article seems to think one has learned a language when one can translate back and forth, but having to constantly refer to the original language is not really knowing the language in your bones. It's more like working with codes.


#20

Thank you for all of your helpful replies. We have postponed our purchase decision for the time being because we harbor many of the same doubts that several posters raised. It's a lot of money and the results are inconsistent. If Rosetta Stone supplied a good textbook series explaining grammar and providing an opportunity to write along with the RS software, it would be easy to justify the hefty price tag. Here's a link to the Rosetta Stone homepage, where you can view the outrageous prices for this software. It's like printing their own money.

rosettastone.com/offer/ggbt10f?s_kwcid=TC%7C16819%7Crosetta%20stone%7C%7CS%7C%7C5553172935&gclid=CI-P7aCFoKMCFRljnAod9yjqoA

And because you can only install the software twice, it will become unusable over time. So even if we thought RS was fabulous, after five years or so, we'd have to replace the program, we go through computers rather quickly with nine users in the house. We are researching Pimsleur and the Latin programs mentioned, among others. Thanks again and have a good day.

~Cupofkindness


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