Customer Review

187 of 198 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It reminds me of language courses in high school and college, February 24, 2011
This review is from: Learn Spanish: Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) - Level 1 (CD-ROM)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
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!
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 1, 2011 12:17:09 PM PDT
good info about the installation, interactive and the mic...any more thoughts?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2011 2:23:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 1, 2011 2:31:43 PM PDT
Yes. With continued use, the microphone gets worse. Both my boyfriend and I use the same headset with the program and lately, after about 10-20 hours of use, the microphone performs badly. The response from the microphone, at least through the headset (I have a Mac Mini right now and don't have a microphone with that, so I have to default to the headset), is frustrating. Like I have to say a phrase sometimes 10-12 times in order for it to register. This is a problem because I am not sure I am saying the phrase right because it isn't registering it on the program. But since I took four years of Spanish in school, I am sure I am saying the basics like "hola" and "verde" correctly, yet the program doesn't register it like I am.

The visual parts of the program sometimes have repeating sections, where you say the phrase and as you say it into the microphone, the words you are saying show up. Like if I said "El gato esta aqui" the words would come up on the screen as you say them, which the program does most of the time, but sometimes it won't register all the words and only show half of what I said or other times nothing at all and as I repeat them, it will tell me to redo the "1-2-3-4-5" microphone test you do in the beginning.

I always do the test in my normal speaking voice. So I assume the microphone isn't that good. It is very frustrating to want to spend just 30 minutes doing a lesson and then it's an hour because I have to repeat some phrases or words 15 times to get a positive response. And then I start getting frustrated at if I am pronouncing it right (which I usually am, since my boyfriend is right there telling me I am) and getting a negative or no response from the program. It makes it hard for me and sometimes I either want to quit or just do the non-oral parts of the program. I would assume this would make the online part hard too if you had a bad microphone and the person online couldn't hear you what you are saying.

I am really disappointed in it. The microphone's lack of registering what I am saying causes a lot of problems to my learning. Like I want to do some of the program right now, but I know when saying longer sentences into the microphone, it can't pick up a lot sometimes and might make me annoyed. But then the next phrase, it will pick up the first time and I have even said things I knew weren't completely right that got a green light response (RS works on the green light-yellow light system) on. So I could see someone who doesn't know Spanish at all being very confused and not knowing if they are saying words right or not.

You can also see a graph of what you are saying, so that has helped me figure out what works I am saying right and which ones I could approve upon. Hasn't helped me that much with the microphone, but at least I know I am getting it.

I guess if you have a good external microphone on your computer, this would work for you. The headset, in my opinion, doesn't work good at all and with time, works less and less, sometimes not even registering what you are saying in the program itself.

If you have any other questions about the microphone or headset, let me know.

I didn't have any problems with installing it, once I got into the swing of it. I could easily install another version of this, in fact, RS makes it really easy to put all your different language programs and levels into their one program area to access each time you open the program. This feature is very nice, now if they could only work on their headsets. I assume they think most people have an external microphone on their PCs, so the headset is just a courtesy. I mean, you are talking so the headset isn't going to make things quiet for people around you, unless you are doing just the typing/writing or listening parts.

Posted on Aug 29, 2011 5:47:16 PM PDT
Ralph says:
I had the same problem with the headset, I bought one of the headsets you use for online gaming for 25 bucks at best buy and it works perfectly...I guess given the insane cost of the program you assume it would come with a decent headset, but it's the same way I view iPods. You buy an iPod and you know that you're going to need to buy a new set of headphones because the stock ones are terrible.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 29, 2011 6:12:36 PM PDT
I may have to invest in a good pair of headphones. It's hard to learn a language when you have to keep saying a phrase into the computer, sometimes with it being perfect the first time, other times not...even though you are saying it the same way every time. Even simple stuff like Adios. :) Then sometimes I get tired and say the phrase not so good and it says it is correct. I think it would really frustrate children or others who are just starting a language with this (as opposed to taking classes before and using it as a refresher, like I am). Maybe they assume that you already have headphones but if not, here's a cheap pair? :)
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