Learn Chinese: Rosetta Stone Chinese (Mandarin) - Level 1-3 Set
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- Access for up to 5 family members
- Download activation key included
- Learn at your own pace with our course that never expires
- Proprietary speech-recognition technology compares your voice to a native speaker 100 times per second
- Access to award winning mobile app for 3-months - available on Kindle Fire HD, iOS, and Android
- Live online tutoring sessions with a Native Speaker - 3-month trial included
- Earbuds with microphone included in box
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From the manufacturer
Discover the new Rosetta Stone Level 1-3 Set experience
Millions of people around the world have already learned a new language with our award-winning approach. It's no coincidence that Rosetta Stone is the fastest way to learn a language. Our method is effective because it's more than the newest app—it's the result of decades of research into the way people learn best.
Rosetta Stone Levels 1-3 Set
Live Conversation Sessions
What will you learn?
Rosetta Stone Level 1-3
With the Rosetta Stone Level 1-3 set you will communicate and connect around the world. Build a foundation of fundamental vocabulary and essential language structure. Develop the language skills to enjoy social interactions such as travel and shopping and learn to share ideas and opinions in your new language.
Level 1: 0-50 Hours
Gain confidence by mastering basic conversational skills. This includes greetings, introductions, simple Q&A's, and much more.
Level 2: 51-100 Hours
Learn to navigate your environment and handle basic interactions. This includes giving (and getting) directions, using transportation, telling time, eating out, and more.
Level 3: 101 - 150 Hours
Learn to share ideas and opinions, express feelings, and talk everyday life. This includes your interests, profession, current events, and more.
You’ll learn through immersion—which means you’ll only hear and speak your new language. Without offering your native language for translation, our interactive immersion encourages you to learn more actively than other methods, which means you’ll be more successful.
Our advanced system presents material at the right intervals to optimize your individual learning. The curriculum is sequenced to introduce new skills in a way that stimulates your brain’s natural language learning ability.
Advanced speech recognition technology analyzes every syllable, whenever you speak.
Does the Rosetta Stone solution work?
- Millions of learners around the world have discovered a language with the Rosetta Stone solution—from individuals to corporate clients such as NASA, the US State Department, and more than 10,000 schools.
Rosetta Stone Advanced Features
Rosetta Studio introduces you to real conversation in online sessions with language coaches who are native speakers. Supercharge your learning and experience everything communicating live has to offer.
Rosetta World is a lively online community where ramping up your language skills looks a lot like playing games. Reinforce what you've learned by having a live online chat, or facing off against new friends around the world. Chances are, you'll be having so much fun, you won't realize how much you're improving.
Rosetta Stone on the Go
Learn and practice on the go-or sync and track your progress across multiple devices. Our available mobile apps for iPad, iPhone and Android tablets and smartphones make it easy.
Ready To Dive In?
If you want to learn to swim, you need to get in the water.
It's the same with learning to speak another language. Without your native language for help, you''ll learn actively—which makes you more successful.
Connect with the world. Learn language fundamentals from greetings and introductions to simple questions and answers. Give and get directions, tell time, and dine out. Share your opinions, and talk about everyday life: your interests, your work, current events, and more.
Platform: PC/Mac Disc | Edition: Chinese (Mandarin)
Top customer reviews
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There are three main problems with Rosetta Stone Chinese V4: (1) Rosetta Stone's rhetoric that it will let you `learn a language as a child does' is a very, very enticing bit of advertising, but it is also very, very false, especially with a language so distant as Chinese; (2) Using the same stock program that is used for teaching Western languages to teach Chinese leads to a host of problems; (3) The price is far too high given the quality, and there are many better quality, reasonably priced choices on the market.
(1) `learn a language as a child does' - Rosetta Stone has no shortage of variations on this, from their clearly-coined-by-a-focus-group buzz-word `Dynamic Immersion,' to their old `remember how easy it was for you to learn your first language?' line. Well, maybe they are right; perhaps using their program you can learn a language just as quickly and easily as a child does. Let's say your language goal was fairly modest: equivalent ability of a 5 year old. Now, how long has that 5 year old been `Dynamically Immersed' in their language? At least 10 hours a day, 365 days a year, 5 years = just a quick easy 18,250 hours to basic language proficiency with Rosetta Stone.
But wait - there's a bigger problem. Rosetta Stone does NOT duplicate how children learn languages, not even close. Where's that long `babbling' stage, when infants are doing nothing but practicing making the sounds they will need, rather than learning vocabulary? Where are the many adults leaning over you talking in the exaggerated, `baby-talk' manner to let you really here and identify the sounds? Well, that's ok - you did all that as a child, and since you are learning another Western language with a similar sound structure and nothing new like `tones' to learn...oh wait, that's right, you are learning Chinese. Where the sounds are completely different, and your western brain is going to have a very hard time identifying any difference between shang and xiang, chao and qiao, zha and jia...Where you are going to be terribly confused as to how the vowel sound in ju is different from that of bu, and even more lost as to how to produce it yourself. Ah, and the `tones' of Chinese language...yep, you can definitely skip right to learning a bunch of vocabulary, because your experience in English has completely prepared you for attaching one of the 4 tones of Mandarin Chinese to each syllable as a necessary part of its meaning, and the challenge of hearing and identifying these tones in speech.
The fact is, you need instruction to grasp the sounds and tones of Chinese, not a never-ending slideshow of Rosetta Stone's pictures with attached vocabulary, and the absurd expectation that it will all come to you naturally. You haven't had the prep Chinese babies get in their early years, and your adult brain isn't nearly as primed to completely reconstruct its concept of language, adding tones to the mix and adopting a completely new set of sounds. A teacher or book can tell you that the sh sound in shang is made with your tongue rolled up and back, while the x in xiang is made with the tongue pressed against the lower teeth - and from this you can start to hear the difference and overcome the fact that your English brain thinks they are both sh sounds and that your mouth wants to pronounce them the same. And similar difficulties go on through pretty much the whole alphabet - this is a very distant language from English. If you ever hope to sound better than someone with a $10 dollar phrasebook trying to use English sounds to mangle the Chinese language, Rosetta Stone won't get you there (even if its overgenerous voice recognition gives you plenty of pleasant sounding "you are correct!" sound effects, that trick you into feeling like you're progressing)
One further problem is that, because Rosetta Stone is stuck teaching you only words that are easy to convey with pictures, you will spend a great deal of time on vocabulary of limited usefulness, like the specific names for different kinds of trees, and terms from Astronomy. Yet you won't learn the more abstract terms that you are far more likely to encounter in adult conversations - terms for expressing your feelings or thoughts, or basic terms for commenting on culture or business. Rosetta Stone can teach you `pine tree' with a slide - but the best way to teach gan3qing2 is to enlist the help of your pre-existing English concept, and just say `it means feelings,' and the best way to teach jing1ji4 wei1ji1 is to say `the first word means economic, the second word means crisis.' You already spent a great deal of time as a kid working out abstract concepts - let's not waste one of the few advantages we adults have in language learning.
(2) Rosetta Stone is a program for learning Western languages dubbed into Chinese - Well, maybe I've been unfair to Rosetta Stone, in addition to good marketing, they are also great at cost-cutting. Why spend money to create a Chinese language program when you can take the same one used to teach European languages, slap on Chinese words, and sell it for $600 dollars. I mean, Chinese is basically the same as German, right? There can't possibly be differences in how it should be taught, right?
And so we have the tragedy/comedy that is Rosetta Stone's core course - these glossy pretty pictures that Rosetta Stone pretends is a language program won't be teaching you the names for many kinds of Chinese food, but hey, plenty of foods common in the West are featured! Oh, and its much better that all the friendly people in these pictures have Western names - because learning the long, convoluted translations of English names into Chinese is much more useful than getting used to the names of, say, Chinese people. And why include the colloquial terms for Chinese money that you will need everyday when ordering food or buying a bottle of water - when you can learn the formal terms for all sorts of international currencies. I am sure you will often, while in China, ask a sales clerk named Sally Smith how much a cowboy hat costs, and be quoted a price in Euros.
Further, the exercises where Rosetta Stone attempts to teach you reading and writing Chinese are just...laughable. You can't learn to read and write Chinese characters using the same program that teaches English native speakers how to read and write Spanish - there is just too much of a difference between alphabetic and character systems. And even Chinese children do not try to learn characters by randomly picking them up, they receive formal instruction! Even in phonetic systems like English, we still learn through programs like phonics or at least various spelling rules - now imagine learning Chinese, where the written characters are a complicated mix of abstract symbols only sometimes containing little meaning or sound hints...But hey, Rosetta Stone can't afford to develop a program that leads to basic literacy, it needs to save money for more infomercials and airport kiosks!
One of the greatest pleasures in learning a new language is cultural exposure - even the basic situations used for beginning language lessons can give you insight into the subtle beauty of another people and culture. But, not with Rosetta Stone - where all the culture is sucked right out of the language, and you are confronted with a parallel universe where you are still in your familiar culture, where everyone behaves and interacts like people in the American Midwest, but...everyone is suddenly talking in Chinese. A good twilight zone episode, a terrible language learning program.
(3) The price/value issue (how Rosetta Stone pays for its advertising budget) - If Rosetta Stone Chinese levels 1-3 cost, say, $150, I would probably give it 3 stars. I would say "it's quite expensive, but it is a pretty decent picture-flashcard program for memorizing some new vocabulary, so if you have a lot of extra money, it may be a good choice to supplement your main language program." But with a price 4 times that amount, $600, and with marketing promises of being the only language program you will need (well, they better make that promise with that price, you won't be able to afford another)...it's generous to give it 1 star. Rosetta Stone isn't a viable way to learn pronunciation, to learn tones, to learn about the culture, to learn the written language...it is only, only, an insanely expensive vocabulary flashcard tool.
But what of the `exciting new additions' in Rosetta Stone Version 4 TOTALe - the online functions - what kind of value do they add? First, the games - well, you can play the old Rosetta Stone picture-meaning matching game in a bunch of new formats, but beyond providing several hours of entertainment, after which they will become ming2ri4huang2hua1 (chrysanthemums after the festival is over, ie become stale and lose its appeal), they really add little to the package. The coaching sessions with a live tutor, however, are definitely an improvement over the older version - but, sadly, a few infrequent chat sessions shared with several other learners is but a band aid applied to Rosetta Stone's gushing wound. What's worse, Rosetta Stone used the addition of these chat sessions as a justification for raising the price significantly over the previous version - if it were still being sold, you'd be far better off financially and educationally saving the price difference, getting the old version (though it was a terrible value too), and hiring yourself a private tutor off of Craig's list or through a local university's Chinese student association or Chinese department (many keep a list, or would be happy to recommend someone). You'll get more hours for the cost, and they will be 1 on 1 instruction rather than shared. Or, if you'd rather keep the money, just find yourself a language partner Chinese student, and over skype trade language help (half the time you teach them English, half the time they teach you Chinese). A post on the Chinesepod message board (website discussed below) will easily allow you to find someone, though there are a ton of other message boards and webpages that would work just as well - there are actually far more Chinese students wanting to do language exchange to learn English than there are foreign learners of Chinese, so its really easy to find.
Now, to complete this very long-winded review, lets discuss a few of the many products that out compete Rosetta Stone on both quality and price (just not on advertising). First, if you are looking for an all-in-one complete program with a pleasant interface, then Chinesepod ([...]) is a great choice. They are a truly complete language program - thorough explanation and instruction in pronunciation, lesson dialogues, podcasts discussing the lesson, a bank of 1,500 or so lessons ensuring that you can find topics that interest you, many difficulty levels that will keep you going long after where Rosetta Stone stops, a variety of learning games and exercises, and an active community of fellow learners and teachers where you can ask any question and have it answered promptly. I prefer the low cost packages and finding tutors and language partners by other means, but if you want to pay for a somewhat expensive plan (though significantly cheaper than Rosetta Stone) you could get a weekly one on one call with a Chinesepod tutor.
However, if you are willing to do without the fancy bells and whistles, and are on a budget, there is a program that is FREE and also much better than Rosetta Stone - the old foreign service language program in Chinese, available for a free download at [...] . It has a textbook you can download in pdf that has great explanations and lessons, workbooks for each unit that include exercises and fun language practice games, and a great set of audio files that really explain the language and get you practicing along. The downsides are it's a little old-fashioned, and it won't teach you the written characters. The second problem is easily fixed by spending 40 dollars or so on a few of the excellent products Amazon has for sale, like the book Reading & Writing Chinese: Simplified Character Edition, or the Tuttle flashcard series Chinese in a Flash, Vol. 1 (Tuttle Flash Cards). The first problem can be addressed by pursuing the various options for finding a language tutor or free language partner that I discussed above. Either way, this will make for a much more complete and effective, as well as a much lower priced language program than Rosetta Stone. And of course, there are many other fine products and programs beyond the two I've discussed - beating Rosetta Stone on value is not difficult.
At nearly [...], this program should offer more than Chinese audio clumsily slapped on to a stock Western design. Take part of the money that would have gone to paying Rosetta Stone's exorbitant price, invest it in a better language program, add in some private tutoring, and then save the rest. And sleep soundly knowing that you did not help fund Rosetta Stone's marketing budget, which would be, to use a Chinese expression, zhu4zhou4wei2nve4 (aiding the evil king Zhou in his tyrannical oppression).
Also, many of RS's marketing claims are stretched beyond credibility. For example, ask a State Department employee which products they use to learn language. They do not use this. In fact, some government agencies have very good language programs that can be found for free on the internet or in libraries. Standard Chinese: A Modular Approach will give you better language skills than RS and in about 1/10th of the time.
Time effectiveness: low
Communication skill effectiveness: low
Price: high, high, high
From my own experience, I can truly say that I completely wasted my time and money with Rosetta Stone. After a YEAR of completing Levels 1 through 3 I felt hopeless--BUT I ran into some great advice: learn from audio tapes. With audio tapes, my speaking and listening ability improved DRASTICALLY in a month. Within 3 months of using audio tape materials I started DREAMING in Mandarin! So far I've used all of Pimsleur Mandarin 1-3, and I am currently studying from New Practical Chinese Reader and the Foreign Service Institute's "Standard Chinese". I hear from many people who have learned to speak FLUENT Mandarin that these are the best choices. Don't make the same mistake as I did!
I was about to give this a 2-star rating because the application is entertaining to use, but unfortunately that entertainment really didn't get me anywhere--or other people I have talked with. Also I thought, "but wait, this company LIES in its advertising just to make the product sound great. I'll definitely give this product a 1." If I could, I would rate RS Mandarin 0 stars because it truly deserves it. *sigh*
The good thing about Rosetta Stone: I studied a new version's levels 1 through 3. It took me a year, but I learned a lot of vocabulary. Actually, I forgot a lot of that vocabulary because Rosetta Stone did NOT improve my speaking OR listening ability. Since RS gave me few sentences to speak the vocabulary, I eventually forgot the vocab that didn't make it to my long term memory pool. It turns out that learning vocabulary is completely useless for a Chinese language--you need to learn how to speak in context. Rosetta Stone does have an option where you can speak into the microphone; however, the problem is you barely have any speaking practice. Also, you only hear 2 natives (a male and female) speaking at a slow, non-native pace. This does NOT help with your listening ability, especially since the speakers have a Taiwanese accent. This won't help you if you're planning on going to China--where most people speak Mandarin! However, the constant slow-paced speaking should help with pronunciation... but your listening skills will suffer.
Even as I am at a more advanced level, I do not waste my time with Rosetta Stone. RS was not only the most expensive option, but it was also by far the least efficient.