Anyone who wants to learn a language will probably have heard of Rosetta Stone. Rosetta stone is one of the most well-known language learning programs, mostly due to all its radio/TV advertising. It’s funny, when you Google Rosetta Stone, you will probably find more negative reviews than positive. I think almost every blog about language learning has a ‘Rosetta Stone Sucks’ post in its archive. I’ve always found that strange.
While I do understand the desire to guide people in the right direction, the almost pure hatred for this product is amazing. Some will give the impression that the program is absolutely useless and is a complete waste of time. First of all, no matter who much a program is marketed, if the program is completely useless then people will stop buying it and it will stop being made. Secondly, there is no such thing as a silver bullet and to expect any language course/software program to get you from nothing to everything is false expectations.
Do I think Rosetta Stone is the perfect software program? No I don’t. But if you bought it or some how got a copy of it from somewhere (I’m not going to ask how) then what good does it do to write a post about why it’s useless. I would rather tell you how to maximize the good parts so that it is useful to you.
How to use Rosetta Stone
*I have only used version 3, but from what I can tell the differences between the Version 3 and the latest are not that drastic that you can’t apply what I recommend here.
Even though it is sold as a program to improve both speaking and listening, it’s strength is not in helping you learn to speak. Rosetta stone’s strength is that it is an input device. It teaches you words and phrases through context and visual aids. Since none of it is in English, it forces you to understand the meaning without help from any other source other than what you already know and what you can guess through context. This is real world language learning, without having to go to another country to do it.
The weakness of Rosetta stone are two things. The speech recognition and the drills. The Speech recognition function is cool, but is hit and miss and doesn’t get used very often anyway, so it’s not going to directly teach you to speak much. The drills are designed to enforce what is taught in the “core lesson”, but that makes the program go too slow and doesn’t allow you the maximize the virtual immersive environment that it creates.
First of all I recommend that you turn off the Speech recognition. Secondly, I recommend you only do the core lessons. You will build off the previous lessons in each core lesson, that you don’t need to spend so much time doing the drills in between each lesson. Third of all, only use this as one of MANY tools you use. Don’t expect it, or any course, to get you to fluency by itself. If you do these things, then you will be able to use Rosetta Stone to its maximum potential.