426 of 443 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2010
I've always considered myself a bit of a language idiot. I barely scrapped by in French 1, and I don't think I ever passed Spanish 2. Honestly, I know I just didn't put that extra special effort in. I was in high school and though eager to learn a new language, when it turned out to be not as easy as I expected, I pretty much gave up. Now, at almost 30 years old, I still always wish I had really mastered a language.
First, I'm going to give you my language know-how so you can see if we might be on similar levels. My biggest problems are tense, plurals, conjugation, the whole male/female thing(o or a?). Just all around construction of a sentence. I can pick up words, I know numbers and food, hello, goodbye, please and thank you: the general stuff. While I'm not good with speaking, I can usually get by reading menus or maps. I'm visual, I can get the gist from a native speaker if they don't talk too fast, but forget my response, I probably sound like a caveman...for instance, recently I was in Spain. I needed a train ticket for December 2nd to Madrid. I smiled at the guy(showing him my silent plea of forgiveness for butchering his beautiful language)and said "El Tren billete, Diciembre dos, Madrid" So I said December two instead of December 2nd... I knew he'd be able to figure me out, but I also knew I sounded like a buffoon.
When I got the software for Level 1 Rosetta Stone, I was really excited. I had a little trouble getting my computer to load it, but after 10 or so minutes of trying different things, it loaded up and I got started. One thing I particularly like is that they judge your actual speaking voice and pronunciation, via a microphone headset included, that is plugged in by USB. It's great to learn speaking Spanish in the privacy of your own home, instead of being 15 and sitting in a class next to that cute guy who's going to think you're an idiot for not being able to properly say "I'm going to the library to get a book".
It is repetitive, but also fun if you don't do too much of it at once. I'm really good with vocabulary, but still having issues with conjugation & tense. The entire program is in Spanish, so sometimes I have to guess the meaning of small words like es, tiene, son, etc. Then they want me to change them to male or female, but I don't know what the word is to begin with! You'd think with software as expensive as this, you wouldn't have to spend extra time googling words to find out their meaning.
Level 1 is all the basics that you might learn in your first year of a Spanish class in high school. If you've really got those down, you might want to move on to Level 2 of Spanish, which is a completely different set, and additional cost.
The BIG con is that Rosetta Stone seems a little money hungry to me, both for the cost of the levels, and that your online part of the software expires and doesn't last indefinitely. I don't have another two hundred and fifty plus dollars to move on to level 2(or seven hundred plus dollars to complete the set).
The online aspect of the software is pretty nice, but unfortunately is limited to 3 months time, after that you can chuck over MORE money if you want to continue using it(you can use the other, non-online dvds indefinitely, this time expiration ONLY applies to the online activities). I liked the online games and stories in Spanish. Besides those, there's practice sessions led by native speaking tutors and other Rosetta Stone users online that you can do games and such with. Lastly, the box included cds you can load onto your ipod for practice.
All in all I'm really glad I gave it a try. I'm hoping to become better at Spanish all around and in the end at least be able to make up a proper sentence because as of right now I just completely failed a grammar section and have to redo it. If anything, using level 1 would just be good as a basics brush up before a trip, but it certainly won't make you fluent.
198 of 210 people found the following review helpful
I am usually not the greatest at language. I took three years of Spanish in high school and blew through one disappointing semester of French in college, since I was studying European literature and wanted to know a main language besides Spanish connected with that. I've tried learning Italian and Gaelic (yes, Gaelic) on my own with books and also on trips abroad. But unless you have a relative or friend who is a nature speaker, it can be hard to practice. Even more so if you want to pay for a college course for a refresher. I do believe Rosetta Stone bridges this gap for the person who doesn't want to go back to college to learn this or perhaps a person who needs to learn basic Spanish for a job.
At first, I had a hard time installing this on my desktop. I've bumped this down to four stars because you can't install it on more than one computer, so I had to choose between computers. This, I didn't like at all. For the price of this program, you should be able to install it on both a work and home computer. I wish there was a way to validate your purchase so you could do this. I do notice another person with a MacMini had some of the same problems I did getting it installed. In the end, I felt it should have been more easier to do. I am not sure if my computer was the problem or maybe I didn't get good disks that can be read well. I was happy to find out, however, you can have up to five people on your one computer learning, which is nice. I can share it with my boyfriend, who also wants to learn.
The lessons, however, are very good. I was taught in high school and college in the same way, which is nice. It is advantageous for me to use this over taking a class at my local college since I can do it on my own time. I can also make mistakes without getting an F. :) In my old classes, we used to use flash cards in a similar way Rosetta Stone does their visuals. I learn pretty fast this way. It builds a simple vocabulary, mostly using present tense. Basically, if you took classes before, what two first year Spanish classes would cover, maybe a little less. It focuses also on strict pronouncing. Which is what I didn't get in school. Very personalized training. A Spanish teacher might skip over a syllable you don't say right, especially if you do well with reading and other activities, but Rosetta Stone will red you out if you don't say something clear. I like this feature. It helps me out a lot.
It took me a long time to get confidence enough to try their 3 month interactive program online. I shouldn't have been afraid of it. I enjoyed the games and got paired up with a speaker of my level. I was never once corrected in a way that made me feel stupid. I think that is very important. I feel people tend to get frustrated with learning languages because they feel, especially on a basic level, if they don't get something, it's over. They tend to quit. It is overwhelming. But this system doesn't overtax the learner. Some things I found I wasn't quick on the draw with were, finding out the balloons used were sometimes for the first person, getting the pace of the dialogue in exercises (sometimes they aren't in order) and sometimes I wouldn't catch on to games like the matching game right way, since there is no English in the program. It's nice though, it makes you not cling to anything. If reminds me of having to spend a whole hour in Spanish classes only speaking "en Español".
I do wish you got unlimited online service with this product since it is so expensive. If you paid the price of it for a college class for a year, you'd have access to co-students and a teacher to guide you, not three months of interaction. I am not sure how long the current program lasts. Can you keep using it even if RS releases version 5 without paying an extra $50? I am assuming all the audio and video stuff still works and doesn't go away once the next version comes up. The problem happens when your computer doesn't work or you want to upgrade. No way to do that or is there? I also can't find the subscription rate for this after my 3 month trial expires. I have been looking at the website for ten minutes now and can't find a simple answer. Ugh. I think I may knock it down a star for that. Information like that should be easy for anyone, owner of RS or not, to find. It makes me feel like they are keeping information away from the consumer until after they buy the product.
Overall, it's a good refresher course. The first level won't make you a master, but it can help you learn enough to form basic conversations and use it in different situations. It can push you to learning on your own as well. I am not convinced it is the best way to go to learn language, but will give it a few more months before I completely say yea or nay. Wait, wouldn't that be sí or no?
Note: I have been using this and another Rosetta Stone for several weeks now and the headset that comes with it has a microphone that isn't so good. Both my boyfriend and I have trouble getting the microphone to register words we say, even if we say it correctly. For example, even simple Spanish words like Si and Hola get a negative signal even though I am saying it perfectly. I continue at the same volume about 5 times and then, it finally takes it. I wonder if it will become frustrating on high levels where you have to repeat back longer sentences. My Mac doesn't have an external mic, so I have no option but to use the headset and take it off to speak as loud as I can into the microphone. It doesn't seem to matter if I do their "1,2,3,4,5" test at regular voice, louder or softer. After having to repeat one word twenty times before they accept it, even though I know I am doing it right, tires me out!
215 of 229 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2013
this is one of the most expensive self learning tool I would say. to start things off, you only have 3 months to learn and use the program. Anything over 3 months, you gotta pay MORE MONEY to have an access or to finish/redo the program.
that is just a smart business on their side, but a business I do not want to deal with ever again
75 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2013
Designed for the most novice beginner to build the most basic vocabulary. You spend your time matching pictures to sentences. Example: Which picture is a dog. Which picture is a white dog. Which picture is a running dog. Which picture is a sleeping dog. Which picture is a cat. Which picture is a cat and a dog. Which picture shows a cat chasing a dog. After spending a couple of hours like that, I skipped to the very last lesson on the hardest lesson. The teaching style did not change, they just added newer words and pictures.
They advertise that you get live online chats with native speakers? Two 30 minute group sessions a month. If you want more than that, they charge you $40 a half hour.
The voice recognition is terrible. When I tried to properly pronounce dog, I tried all of the following: perro, perraye, perruh, perreye, perree. The program accepted all of them as good.
So, I don't think matching pictures to sentences is really immersion, I think the voice recognition is terrible, and the online support is a sham. I finally settled on TellMeMore Spanish. It is everything that I thought RS was and more.
83 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2013
So, after I purchased the 5 level program for over $500, I was quite surprised to find out that if I wanted Rosetta Stone on my iphone or tablet that I would have to download the Totale application. Ok, No big deal right? WRONG! Rosetta Stone charges $25 per month to use it even though I paid full price for the 5 CD program. The rep over the phone tried to rebut my complaint by stating that it costs Rosetta Stone a lot of money to provide streaming material. Give me a break! I pay $7 per month for Netflix and can stream unlimited movies to my iphone, tablet, home computer or television at no extra charge. When you charge over $500 for a program, the app should be included free of charge. Get with the times Rosetta Stone! ...Feeling completely ripped off!
85 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2011
They say you can run a retail business two ways: charge a lot and have only a few customers, or charge as little as possible and make it up in volume. Rosetta Stone has the former business model, and then some. Its price is, in a word, indefensible.
This product was not that difficult to make. Its technology amounts mostly to showing you pictures, playing sounds, and having you click certain places. And yet, it's hundreds of dollars just for a few modules. Worse yet, upgrades are not free and while this product would be ideal to use either over-the-web or on a smartphone, neither option is available, nor will it be until Rosetta Stone gets some real competition. As it stands, you're tied to your desk, with only a supplemental iPad app available (Android, Blackberry, and other tablets are out of luck!).
Despite their general state of being caught long in the past, the lack of innovation in each release, and their shocking price tag, Rosetta Stone is *still* probably the best language learning software you can get, and it does help you get the vocabulary and conjugation down, mostly through repetition. That isn't so much an endorsement of Rosetta Stone, however, as it is a statement about the utter lack of competition they face.
Hopefully soon someone will knock Rosetta Stone from its complacent place at the top of the hill, but that day has not come yet. You should buy this product, but don't feel good about it.
61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2012
I know several languages, and decided that I wanted to learn Spanish to speak with some of my friends. I looked over several programs, and tried this one to get started. It seemed to go very well at the beginning, but I discovered a major problem. As I get more into the language, the "learn the language with pictures" did not work very well. I remember learning "left and right" but discovered later that the words actually meant "tall and short".
I looked around and discovered other Spanish language programs like LiveMocha which were very similar but either free or a reasonable cost. I suggest that you look around on the internet before mortaging your home to buy this program. It is just too expensive for what you get.
And that is opinion and I hope I can help you avoid a very expensive mistake.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
We use Rosetta Stone as part of our home school curriculum. I can tell you from experience that our two young boys have shown excellent progress in just a few weeks. The only real catch with buying this version is that the online learning piece is free for only the first three months. After that you need to start shelling out even more cash. We have decided that the mobile practicing isn't worth the extra money. HOwever, if you a professional and need to learn language quickly in a pinch, the extra cost may be worth it. It is a great idea that you can always be learning, even on the road.
The RS software itself is easy to use and setup. It comes with a headset with microphone that you will need to use for the speech recognition element. The software does a very good job of helping you pronounce words correctly, without being to overly strict. Don't expect to be learning anything technical about the Spanish language. The whole point is to learn based on copying and visual cues, much like we did as kids. Its effective for learning to communicate in a language in a conversational manner, but not mastering it. Supplemental technical lessons at a local college may be required for that.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on May 27, 2013
I was very disappointed to realize, when I bought my Rosetta Stone program, that I wasn't getting the entire package. The R.S. World, which is where you find the games, chats, stories, etc that are advertised, cost more. You have to subscibe to them in addition to the huge price you pay initially. The one on one studio sessions are also extra. So what you get for this substantial sum are 4 discs with lessons. The lesson consist of pictures that you have to match to the words or sentences. Sometimes this is obvious, sometimes not. If the extras were included in the initial large price, I would rate this an excellent program, but without the games, stories, chats and studio sessions, it is definitely just an average language program. I would recommend users go to duolingo.com or udemy.com, both of which are free, and very useful. They don't promise extra parts that aren't included, but they are good nonetheless.
80 of 95 people found the following review helpful
I have long wanted to learn Spanish and had been told that the Rosetta Stone program with its "Dynamic Immerson" is one of the best computer-based language programs around. So I jumped at the opportunity to learn via this medium and to review it.
First of all, the program would not completely load on my computer. The application CD loaded fine but when I attempted to load the language portion I would only get an error message. Fortunately, there was a technical support number included. The first person (who by all indications was the stereotypical tech support person from India) was only trained to assist with very simple questions and after about 15 minutes transferred me to customer support. When THAT person was unable to help, I began to wonder. I had to explain several times that Amazon sent this out for me to review, that it was not from a secondary supplier or a used item. This person was clueless as well and transferred me to someone who actually helped me. This technical support person was as good and as thorough and patient as any I have ever encountered. I was told that it was my virus protection program and he ran me through the uninstall process. The language CD loaded without a problem. I was even told how to solve my problem of lack of a virus protection. So all in all, while it did take about an hour of my time, my problem was not only solved, I got more information on the system.
I was told this was the version of Rosetta Stone still in the beta testing phase. Along with the usual course (which, for review purposes was just level 1) there was a 90-day use of an online portion which includes the RosettaSTUDIO--the practice module which enables the learner to participate in online Rosetta Studio sessions and get feedback from native-speaking Studio coaches, interact with other learners at the same level to strengthen skills, and more. The second online portion is RosettaWORLD--the play module where the learner can explore the language with online games, chats, and other structured activities, participate in real-time language exchange with another speaker. There is also an audio component that allows the learner to immerse themselves more in the language through a car CD player, iPod, etc.
For the online component, I was told it would be a subscription service and the pricing structure was not known yet.
The Rosetta Stone program enables one to learn at their own pace and within just a few minutes with repetition and game-like matching the program came to life and I was learning to speak. The program comes with headset/microphone to enable one to pronounce the word correctly and get immediate feedback as to whether you are pronouncing the word correctly.
While this isn't the cheapest method around, I believe you get what you pay for and with Rosetta Stone you more than get your money worth. I am looking forward to the time that I can travel to a Spanish-speaking country in Latin America (I've always wanted to go to Costa Rica) and really practice my newly-learned skills. I am confident that with Rosetta Stone I will be able to communicate my needs easily and readily.