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.
on April 30, 2013
I like the rapid progress with Rosetta Stone since this isn't my first time studying Spanish. I believe that it is effective at producing an immersion like environment that aids rapid language learning, for me, at least as far as reading and hearing comprehension.
Now for the not so desirable aspects. I have only been using Rosetta Stone for about two weeks, 45 minutes to 1 hour per night for 10 days, and have not contacted Rosetta Stone customer support, so there may be ways to operate the software to alleviate the deficiencies that I see.
Although Rosetta Stone has a microphone calibration routine, it doesn't appear to work consistently; to have Rosetta Stone accept my verbal input, I have to raise my voice to varying degrees. Sometimes it even works without being loud. It doesn't appear to have anything to do with the complexity of the sentence, or my tone of voice while calibrating. I won't know whether it is required, until it marks my first response as incorrect. Sometimes it requires a very loud voice, which I find out only by having my response marked incorrect three or even four times while I speak louder each time. Because of this, I suspect that the speech identification is really not particularly accurate. My Spanish pronunciation is usually quite good, but I can't imagine that is still the case while speaking so loudly. It certainly isn't teaching me the finer points of Spanish pronunciation when I'm yelling or almost yelling.
Rosetta Stone requires microphone calibration, I think before every lesson, whether the microphone will be used or not.
The Rosetta Stone methodology often requires matching between phrases and pictures that are not distinct. For example, the phrase might require you to identify a girl, but the pictures may include a boy who, to be politically correct, does not have a great deal of gender identification, because of age, or cultural differences. Sometimes it is circumstances, for example when a individual is speaking of themselves, versus when the student is speaking of them.
Rosetta stone sometimes switches the images between selections, and other times doesn't. Most irritating is when it presents the text to match to an image, and then switches the images while you're selecting one, not realizing that they are going to switch, which will then of course be the 'wrong' answer.
I'm not particularly interested in writing, and would like to eliminate it. I have deleted my user login twice attempting to customize Rosetta Stone to do only what I want it to do, but it only allows four different choices, none of which include only reading, listening and speaking. Furthermore, given that the word identification seems to work so poorly for me, I would like to go to just reading and listening, but that is also not an option. I can just unplug my microphone, and when the calibration routine pops up, tell it to continue without the microphone. I suppose I'll still be stuck with the writing, but at least I won't be yelling at my computer.
Finally, if there is a control to pause, to try to select the 'display answers', to work out exactly what new material is, I haven't found it. Very irritating having the choice of bailing out of a lesson, or seeing how many times you can guess wrong. The best choice seems to be to have a dictionary handy and click the 'home' button and hope you can remember the word accurately enough to find it in a dictionary. It will probably only cost 5 minutes or so.
In short, while Rosetta Stone is an effective language learning tool, it seems to be a rather poorly engineered one. Considering that Rosetta Stone has been available for so long, how can it still have such an unreasonable user interface? I have used an earlier version, in Chinese, and it didn't have many of these problems. Of course, it didn't have the speech identification or writing capability at all.
on February 21, 2013
ZERO STARS!! THUMBS DOWN!!
Do NOT give this company a penny of your money! My daughter used this product for over a year and her Spanish ability is next to nothing. She never went beyond level 1. So the remaining products in this package were TOTALLY UNUSED!! I paid $450 for it as a home-school mom. (I see the price has now come down.)
THE PROBLEM: when I attempted to sell it as a used product, the company came after me with a vengeance! I was accused of "pirating"! Ha! I bought my product DIRECTLY FROM THE COMPANY and had receipts to prove it but they didn't care! I was never given a chance to "defend" myself; I was "guilty" in their eyes from the get-go. This experience happened on ebay. Ebay would NOT stand behind me. They would NOT go against this huge, powerful company. WHAM! I was even threatened by ebay that I would be permanently banned if I attempted to sell it again. I guess it didn't matter that I had years of selling used home school curriculum and still to this day have a 100% POSITIVE feedback rating! Nope. The Big Guy won. They must threaten ebay as well....
I contacted an attorney who has worked against this company in the past and I was told they are among the WORST companies for hiring "piranhas" to do nothing but search the web for true pirates, but they have NO MERCY on innocent people like me! In their eyes, EVERYONE is guilty! Now I see why this product is so RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE! They are paying their PARANHAS! I was also told their license "agreement" refers to the transferring of this productb between official schools--that is what is considered illegal--not when used for personal reasons in a home! However, to "fight" it would take years and paying attorney fees so no one pursues it. Once again, the Big Guy wins...
As a home school family, we didn't have a lot of money to spend. This ONE program cost as much as ALL my other curriculum combined for 1 year, so it was a HUGE decision! We went ahead and "invested" thinking we could get some of that back--both in our daughter's ability to learn Spanish and when I would sell the used product. With all other curriculum, I have been able to recoup 50-90% of my cost if I resell material in good condition. NOT WITH ROSETTA STONE! Since then, I have been on a mission to share my story so others can see the GREED and DISHONEST BEHAVIOR (attacking innocent people!) that is behind this company!
First off, the whole program is a bit of a scam. You can't buy levels 3 and up alone, so if you buy 1 and 2, then decide to study further, you have to basically re-purchase the levels you already have to get the next ones.
Second, there's no 'placement exam' of any sort, so if you already know some very basic spanish (si, no, gracias, hombre, mujer, etc), you still have to sit through the lessons on it. It's very dull.
Lastly, and most damning, this program costs a small fortune while adding basically one feature you don't get from the free apps like Duolingo - talk to a native speaker. Of course, you only get that feature for a few months with the box set, then have to pay for more, and who wants to talk to a native speaker when they're only just mastering sentences like 'Ellos nadan'?
Ten years ago, this was probably revolutionary. Now, it's a waste of money.
on May 16, 2011
I am very happy with it; it is brain friendly and intuative. I like to do it so it's easy to keep working on it often. It's not drudgery. It has games, lessons, online etc so it's layered and diverse. I often quit because I can see myself getting tired, not because I don't want to do it anymore. I feel like I am learning though sometimes get impatient with myself because I knew I knew it. I recommend it often to people I know and get many questions about it. Yes it's pricey but it's worth it. I get to practice often as I am around many native speakers; they appreciate my effort I think.