Deciding that you wish to learn a language is a big step and one that will require plenty of self-motivation and determination.
When people think about learning a language, there are a few things that immediately come to mind, including Rosetta Stone, a company who can enable you to learn everything from Chinese to German.
What is Rosetta Stone?
The Rosetta Stone is a broken section of slab that contains an official decree; these decrees were put into every single temple in Egypt. The most important thing about the stone is that it contains an inscription that is repeated in hieroglyphs, Demotic and Ancient Greek. It’s easy to see why the company Rosetta Stone, which teaches languages, sourced its name from such a wonderful artifact.
The Rosetta Stone that we are talking about is a piece of computer-assisted language learning software that was originally released in 1992. It uses images, sounds and written text to teach languages through means of repetition without translating it for you, meaning that you have to remember everything that you are being taught.
Rosetta Stone also uses a piece of trademarked software called TruAccent, on the Rosetta Stone website. TruAccent is stated to be “the world’s best speech-recognition technology,” but the accuracy of TruAccent is something that is debated across the internet.
The immersion into the language that you are learning changes as you progress. You start by learning about sights and sounds, then you move on to learning new words and widening your vocabulary; then you move on to forming complete sentences and then you get to delve into a conversational level. Rosetta Stone believe that repetition leads to you learning the language that you have chosen.
What languages are available?
Rosetta Stone can offer users a lot of variety, their main taught languages are:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- English (British)
- English (American)
- Filipino (Tagalog)
- Persian (Farsi)
As you can see, there is a lot of choice when it comes to learning with Rosetta Stone, but some of the languages that are featured are a lot easier to learn (and teach) than others. This has led to flaws in some languages, including Arabic, where the Arabic that is taught on Rosetta Stone is not the same as spoken Arabic.
It is worth noting that all of these courses have been designed for people who are either starting to learn a language or already have some understanding of a language. They have not been designed for people who are already speaking their chosen language at an advanced level. If you are advanced and you are looking to move further, then we would advise that you seek out a teacher.
Does Rosetta Stone work?
One of the flaws with Rosetta Stone can be seen when you take a look at certain East Asian languages, like Japanese. The thing about the Japanese language is that the way in which you speak changes depending on the person you are talking to.
You would use incredibly polite honorifics when speaking to someone older than you or a senior at a company, but you would drop a lot of these honorifics when speaking to someone younger than you or one of your friends. Unfortunately, Rosetta Stone does not demonstrate these language changes.
This is not to say that Rosetta Stone does not work when it comes to other languages. Rosetta Stone works perfectly when it comes to learning languages like German, French, English, Spanish and other languages that do not have an intense system of honorifics. It is quite expensive, but it costs the same as approximately 10 lessons with a private language teacher in your own area would.
You do have to remember that a computer program will never be as good as a physical teacher who would be able to spot your weaknesses, praise you when you are doing well, correct any incorrect pronunciations or words, and make sure that you progress quickly; but, not everyone has the time or the opportunity to see a physical teacher.
If you are in that position, then Rosetta Stone would be a great option for you. One of the great things about Rosetta Stone is that it forces you to think on your feet; you have to recreate sentence structures quickly and accurately using the vocabulary that the software has taught you. This quick recall is very similar to a natural conversation because you cannot have long pauses in a natural conversation either.
It is worth noting that you should only really use a program like Rosetta Stone as a supplement. You will also have to go out and look at other sources or talk to real people in order to make sure that you are correctly learning your chosen language.
Rosetta Stone is not a bad piece of software, but like most software, it does have a few flaws. As long as you are planning on using it to learn a simple language, your studies should go well, but we would advise that you stay well away from it if you are planning on learning Arabic, Korean or Japanese. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t teach you honorifics properly in languages that literally revolve around honorifics.
While it is worth remembering that Rosetta Stone is quite expensive, it is also worth remembering that it only costs the same as 10-15 lessons with a private teacher would. We would always advise that you choose to work with a teacher when you can, but we do understand that not everyone has the opportunity to work with a teacher and a lot of people prefer one-off payments to weekly sums of money.
The one thing that you have to remember is that software like Rosetta Stone does work for a lot of people, but it also doesn’t work very well for a few people. A lot of it depends on how you learn as an individual.