My review of Rosetta Stone | General discussion | Forum

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My review of Rosetta Stone
December 29, 2011
03:08
BrockAmhurst
Limburg, Belgium

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December 6, 2011
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Hello All,

 

After seeing all the negative reviews and comments about Rosetta Stone, I'd like to tell a little bit about my experience with the software for anyone who is contemplating using it. I started using Rosetta Stone to learn Italian about 2 and a half years ago and have since used it on and off for French and Dutch as well. Here are my thoughts about it:

 

PROS

 

1. You can open it up and dive right into learning the language without being overwhelmed with explanations of stuff. It cuts out ALL of the filler and gets right down to the point.

2. It is linear. You move in a straight line, and it guides you through each step. It's not like other software programs I've utilized that are basically like "ok, here are some games and activities, have fun." For a person like me, the linear format keeps me focused and engaged rather than having my mind all over the place.

3. You get images, audio, and written text, at the same time. This is extremely helpful because it means that you don't have to constantly refer back to pronunciation rules and try to determine how words are pronounced.

4. It gives you a percentage grade at the end of each lesson. This helps you gauge how well you are grasping the material.

5. It is divided and organized into levels, units, and lessons. Progressing through each section gives you a feeling of accomplishment, and gives you an idea of what your proficiency level is in the language.

 

CONS

 

1. It is very repetitive. While I have found that the repetitiveness does actually engrain the words in my memory and I am able to recall the words later, it can also get boring very quickly.

MY REMEDY: I only do each Core Lesson (which is where it introduces new material to you) and then I do Writing Practice (which is where you listen to a part of a conversation and then you type it out). I skip Vocabulary, Pronunciation practice, Grammar, Listening, and Speaking. That stuff is just repetition of what you learn in the Core Lesson, but it focuses on particular aspects of the material. By cutting that stuff out, I only end up doing about 30% of the whole program, but learn the same material, just with less repetition. While the writing tasks are no less redundant than the other sections, I enjoy doing them because it forces me to think about how words are spelled, which helps me remember them better.

2. The speaking portion sucks. It does not correctly understand spoken input, and will often act as if you aren't pronouncing things right even if you pronounce them perfectly. MY REMEDY: I skip the speaking portion, and practice speaking with a human being instead.

3. It is very expensive. I definitely understand the complaints people have about the price of Rosetta Stone. It is indeed costly. I just happened to get access to it free online through a contract my employer has with Rosetta Stone, so I didn't pay out of pocket for it. However, if I had the money and I had to pay the full price for it, I probably would if I were just starting out with a new language. For me it is truly a great way to get acquainted with the language and go from complete beginner to an intermediate level.

4. It has its limitations. Rosetta Stone is a great way, in my opinion (and for my personal learning style), to go from having no knowledge of the language to achieving an intermediate level of proficiency. It is not going to get you to an advanced level of proficiency, however. You'll need to start seeking other methods and resources at that point. Additionally, it is not a substitute for having a real human being to talk to and practice with. When I used Rosetta Stone to learn French, I had no real world exposure to the language. The result was that I can actually understand French fairly well, but I can't speak it. I feel almost mute in French. However, if i combine the knowledge I learned using Rosetta Stone with some real world practice with other French-speaking people, I believe I will quickly develop my speaking proficiency.

 

Well, I hope some people find my review helpful. Now, I'm going to start working on RS French Level 4. Au Revoir!

Native : U.S. English Intermediate/Advanced : Italian Learning : French
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December 29, 2011
04:32
this_just_in
Toronto

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Great Review. I myself have used Rosetta Stone for French and agree with you on most of your Pros and Cons. I personally do all of the lessons and yes it is repetitive. I could not believe how many. Statice reviews of rosetta stone there are online it's crazy. I personally love it!!!

Fluent- -Native English (Toronto) -French Mission/Learning- -Spanish  
December 29, 2011
04:48
fabriciocarraro
Brazil

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November 25, 2011
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I personally hate it, for the same reason I hate the Livemocha lessons. They are TOO repetitive, and it really annoys me. If it is for you, awesome! But it definitely is not for me =)

Native:            Advanced: English (American)       Intermediate: Russian       Beginner:       Wishlist:   http://russoparabrasileiros.wordpress.com/  Feel free to PM me!
December 29, 2011
04:51
NKellyEmerald
Dublin, Ireland

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Very good review. Spot on, I find it very difficult to disagree with pretty much anything you mentioned here. All I will say is that while your idea of only doing the Core lesson and Writing practise (and I assume doing the rest at a later time) is a good idea, it would absolutely wreck my head! I am quite horribly afflicted with OCD in this type of thing and once I start something I absolutely hate leaving something incomplete (even if it is incredibly repetitive! XD). :D After my first experience with Rosetta Stone I made the decision that it was nothing more than useful for vocabulary (and even then, it's a real grind to learn with!).

 

Either way, good review! :)

Native:   Gaeilge,  English Studies:  Polish On Hold:  Spanish Next:  Italian
Is cainteoir dúchais Gaeilge mé. Same with English. Zacząłem uczyć się polskiego, y ahora, he dejado aprender el castellano.
January 27, 2012
08:44
jonnyb
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January 27, 2012
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there is a brief review of Rosetta Stone and other language learning methods here.

January 27, 2012
10:27
WillPeach
London

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July 21, 2011
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I think it's definitely worth using to get the basics but I'd drop it pretty soon after. I'd never PAY for it mind ;)

January 27, 2012
18:08
GlobeTrotter
USA
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January 15, 2012
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Thanks for the in-depth review. Since speaking the language is most important to me, I'll probably continue to pass on Rosetta stone. Doesn't help that it's expensive also! laugh

-David

Fluent: English Learning: Español
January 27, 2012
18:40
Kevinpost
Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.

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I've never used Rosetta Stone but have heard negative reviews across the board. The only positive reviews I've seen were from people who can't actually speak the language; go figure.

Speaks:    
Learning to fluency:  
There will definitely be more that follow!
January 27, 2012
18:51
Lingo

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June 25, 2011
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Fortunately, Rosetta Stone is fair enough to put up their course contents online. So you can make up your own opinion based on what it could teach you.

After skimming through the course contents, most people I've shared the link with desisted from buying :D

Of course, the availability of the course contents ultimately means that (if you don't feel the need for the sugar-coated interface) you can learn all those terms on your own without necessarily buying Rosetta Stone.

Speaks:  German English French Portuguese Russian Spanish       Collecting resources for: Mandarin Italian     Abandoned: Latin

March 30, 2014
21:44
Rosetta
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March 30, 2014
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Hello Mates you can find the Rosetta Stone forums at here

Please fell free to ask any questions about the program. 

March 31, 2014
09:34
Ambaa

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March 27, 2014
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I'm a huge fan.

For me the big pro was that it got me hearing and internalizing the language in a way I wasn't getting anywhere else. I got words and phrases "stuck in my head" like a song. Sentences started sounding "right or wrong" in a way that I could later understand with grammar.

I'm sure it depends on how you are as a learner, but Rosetta Stone was enormously helpful for me in providing a foundation in Hindi.

Another big pro for certain languages, like Hindi, is that it is done entirely in the appropriate script and not English transliteration. 

I always tell people, it's worth trying. Just pay attention to how to get the money back guarantee in case it doesn't work for you.

August 10, 2014
13:17
glenans
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Hi – I'm living in France – 9 years now. I get by in French but I'm always trying to improve. My mum moved here 18 months ago, she's 91, wanted to learn the lingo so bought Rosetta Stone. She kindly thought it might help me as well. She loves it but is a beginner at level 3. I did a test and came out at 7.2. I started the course but I find it absolutely appalling. To my mind, learning the answers to multiple choice questions does not give you any further insight in to the language. At first you are asked to choose a response to a statement from a choice of four. In many cases there is no right choice as any of the answers might be correct. What is the point? Then you are asked to arrange words into a sentence. I got about 50% of these but in the ones I got wrong there was no explanation as to why and I know from experience that these sentences (the ones I got wrong) will be understood by the average french person. It's a matter of how we construct sentences in English and how they are constructed in French. I'd like to know but if no-one explains the rules then you're lost. I am angry – WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!

August 14, 2014
11:37
hedwards

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May 22, 2012
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glenans said

Hi – I'm living in France – 9 years now. I get by in French but I'm always trying to improve. My mum moved here 18 months ago, she's 91, wanted to learn the lingo so bought Rosetta Stone. She kindly thought it might help me as well. She loves it but is a beginner at level 3. I did a test and came out at 7.2. I started the course but I find it absolutely appalling. To my mind, learning the answers to multiple choice questions does not give you any further insight in to the language. At first you are asked to choose a response to a statement from a choice of four. In many cases there is no right choice as any of the answers might be correct. What is the point? Then you are asked to arrange words into a sentence. I got about 50% of these but in the ones I got wrong there was no explanation as to why and I know from experience that these sentences (the ones I got wrong) will be understood by the average french person. It's a matter of how we construct sentences in English and how they are constructed in French. I'd like to know but if no-one explains the rules then you're lost. I am angry – WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!

I'd take a look at Glossika.com when they release their French - English version. It's much more affordable and quite effective. Like Rosetta they don't teach grammar explicit, but the sentences are clear enough that you can figure out what's going on.

Personally, I don't like Rosetta, the whole idea of immersion as a means of learning really only works when you're either forced to deal with it day in and day out or if you've got an astonishing amount of willpower. What's more, unless the materials are carefully structured you wind up in this sort of situation where you're not really sure how the language works. I remember picking up English like that as a kid, and even as a native speaker, I run into plenty of people whose English leaves something to be desired because they weren't taught and lacked the curiosity to learn it on their own.

In any case, immersion programs really need to be paired with at least a basic grammar program. It doesn't need to go terribly in depth on everything, but a relatively small amount of grammar instruction gets you a huge amount of expression.

Native: American English Learning: German Mandarin Chinese Mandarin Chinese

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