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Platform: PC/Mac Disc|Edition: Italian|Change
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Showing 1-10 of 104 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 191 reviews
on January 10, 2011
I found out two months ago that my university was sending me to Italy in a year to teach for one semester. I'll be teaching in English, but my wife and I will need to live, shop, eat, travel, and deal with random problems in Italian, so we got Rosetta Stone to help us learn.

I've read reviews here and there by people who were disappointed in Rosetta Stone, but I have found it better than I expected. Having learned one language as a child, studied four more as an adult, traveled and at least briefly conversed in six, and taught one (Latin) to kids with my own textbooks (Schola Latina), I'm almost perfectly pleased with the way Rosetta Stone is helping us learn Italian.

As another reviewer points out, the program, while expensive, costs less than a semester of Italian at many a university, and you get a lot for the money. Each of five levels has four units, and each unit has four lessons; that's eighty lessons. Each lesson includes a core lesson of about forty screens, and from four to fifteen supplemental and review exercises of five to fifteen screens. That's about 10,000 screens of exercises in the main track of the program. In addition, you get fifteen months of free access to games, stories, and interaction with native speakers, all coordinated with your progress in the program. Each level also comes with four long CDs for repetitive drill.

Rosetta Stone's special angle is that the student doesn't translate. That is, you don't respond to words in one language with words in another language. Most of the exercises are based on pictures -- cleverly clear pictures. But the program is not all about responding to pictures by choosing words, as some reviews have suggested; different screens call on, exercise, and build different skills. Sometimes you respond to written words by choosing a matching picture. Sometimes you respond to a picture by choosing a matching written word or phrase. Sometimes you respond to a spoken phrase by choosing a picture, and sometimes you respond to a picture by speaking a phrase. (The program has voice-recognition capabilities and will tell you how close your pronunciation is. You can turn the sensitivity up or down in the settings, and you can visually compare your pronunciation with the program's by clicking to see an audio graph.) Sometimes you respond to a picture or spoken phrase by typing a phrase. And in screens covering grammar, you look at a picture and choose one of two or three choices of endings, words, or phrases.

In between sessions on the computer, you can practice repeating syllables, words, phrases, and sentences with the CDs. One reviewer called the CDs useless, but I must disagree. "Fluent" means flowing, and getting the words of another language flowing out of your mouth requires repetitive practice speaking familiar phrases, just as becoming fluent on a piece of music requires playing it repeatedly, even after you know the notes intellectually.

The program doesn't shoot straight to handy travel phrases like "Where's the metro station?" or "Do you have a vacancy?" Its goal is to give working knowledge of the language, so you learn basic vocabulary, grammar, and idioms before getting to travel phrases. They might be trying to get extra money out of you by "tricking" you to buy at least two levels, but I think the approach is appropriate if the goal is to learn to read and converse in the language. After all, if you only want to greet someone and ask how much the souvenir costs, you can get a Rick Steves phrase book for a lot less.

We've almost finished Level 1, and so far we've learned colors; household objects and rooms of the house; family members; animals; clothes; eating; numbers up to 69; being cold, hot, hungry, thirsty, tired, and well; how to say where you're from, where you work, and when you do various activities; occupations; basic shopping; how to ask questions; and quite a bit more. Could we travel with this knowledge? No. But what it allows us to do is practice spontaneously with each other all day here at home, because most of our time together is spent working, eating, putting on clothes, finding things in the house, and interacting with other members of the family or the pets. And now we have the means to talk about all these things in Italian. Clever program! The titles on Level 2 suggest that we're going to learn travel phrases and more tenses (everything is in present tense so far).

Now, the program is touted as the natural way to learn a language. But note that it is named after a discovery that allowed linguists to learn a forgotten language in a most unnatural way. And remember that learning a language by repeating stock responses to phrases and pictures is only the natural way to learn a language when you're two. You still need your mother to correct you constantly: "Not 'I goed outside,' Johnny. 'I went outside.' " The exercises in Rosetta Stone introduce the student systematically to grammatical gender, conjugations, declensions, irregular verbs and nouns, rules of syntax, etc., but you have to notice the details and draw up the rules yourself. The program doesn't say, "Notice that the last letter of the word for 'black' is one thing when you're talking about a cat and another when you're talking about a car. Remember that these words represent two different categories of words called 'genders,' and note the gender of each noun you learn." If you've learned other languages before, especially Romance languages (or their mother, Latin), you notice many of these details. But if not, you might be quite confused by what seem like random inconsistencies. In any case, we teach older kids and teen-agers (and my graduate students!) a systematic understanding of the grammar of our native language, and as an adult, you should probably supplement Rosetta Stone with another cheap program that has grammar lessons. It's good to hear the varying details and and work them in to memory by rote, but it's also good to read and learn a rule for why they vary the way they do.

But if you've spent $300-750 on Rosetta Stone, you can stand to buy another $20 book. We're happy with what we're learning with Rosetta Stone and have confidence that we'll be prepared for the immersion experience a year from now.
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on March 8, 2015
I'd heard of this product for years, primarily by passing their kiosks in different airports. I wanted to gain a basic competence in Italian in time for a vacation scheduled a few months later, so paid the somewhat hefty price for this. No regrets. A very innovative approach made it surprisingly fun to learn. I bought the physical product, thinking I would then own it forever. But evidently it's still just a subscription based product with 6 months to use it. The physical product is a backup. Still, 6 months is quite enough if you're really wanting to learn, so not marks off for that.
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on December 22, 2014
I am interested in learning Italian; so, I did an extensive amount of research on what language was the best. Rosetta Stone kept coming up as the best; so, I purchased it. As a first-time user to a foreign language program, I was quite impressed on how they presented this program in a full immersion setup. I didn't think I was learning anything in the first couple of lesson; but, then I found myself identifying items I learned as I walked around. I am sure thankful for Amazon for providing this amazing product at such a great price!!!
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on January 22, 2014
I am going to Europe during this summer, and I do not want to encounter language barrier. Therefore, I bought this set and hope that I can finish before the tour. English is not my first language. I was born in China, and English class is the requirement. We started with basic vocabulary and grammar. To be honest, this method is not the best way, but I still learned something. (Limited to basic conversation. My first week in the U.S. was tough.)
Rosetta Stone uses so-called dynamic immersion to create a natural environment. I kinda agree with this type of learning method, and I did learned English through this way. (The best way to learn a new language is just throw yourself into that environment!) Still, there are flaws. If you do not have any foundation, it will be hard for you to figure out things like the changing verb or the masculine, feminine of the noun. But, I think most people can just get a grammar book to make up the advantages.
A FRIENDLY REMINDER
Do not use Rosetta stone to study Chinese, Japanese, or any other languages that do not come from the same linguistic root like Italian and Spanish. (French is fine in some degree.) If you really want to learn, just get involved with the social network, especially in China, people are dying to chat with you. ╮(╯▽╰)╭
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on January 12, 2014
i returned this as it was not working and gave me alot of trouble skipping from one lesson to another not going from one to another lesson not following in order i was on chat and had a technician come in to my home yo assist me and we could not find the problem sorry but i was so excited when i got the program as i had waited a long time to afford this and now have to return it.
i was raised in an italian atmosphere and so wanted to recall that language.
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on May 27, 2017
Excellent language building system. Did not appreciate listing on amazon.ca stating only US residents could purchase the downloaded version. Canadian residents were offered the CD Rom version which I purchased. This information proved incorrect and I now have the downloaded version. Better coordination w Rosetta is needed.
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on June 5, 2017
Makes it super easy to learn!
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on June 19, 2017
Order was incomplete - no Activation card and serial number no longer available to recapture the activation card number...a waste of money if these items are not available.
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on January 8, 2013
Going to Italy soon. I think I'm going to enjoy it but it was very difficult to install - 7 hours. Though the material I believe will be top notch. It's a shame it is so difficult to install.
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on May 15, 2014
THIS HAS BEEN THE BEST WAY TO LEARN ITALIAN. YOU CAN NOT CHEAT, BECAUSE IT WILL NOT LET YOU UNTIL YOU PRONUOUCATION IS CLOSE TO PERFECT. IT HAS A REBATE AND BEST OF ALL, YOU ARE LEARNING AT YOUR OWN PACE AND CAN ALWAYS GO BACK. YOUR SCORE AT THE END OF EACH LESSON MAY BE HIGH BUT, YOU FEEL INSECURE. GO BACK AND DO IT AGAIN. NOW, I HAVE TO PRAY THAT AMAZON PAYS FOR ME ON A ROUND TRIP TICKET FROM CA. TO ROME. THANKS AMAZON PRIME, IT GOT HERE QUICKER THAN I EXPECTED PLUS THE PACKAGE WAS IN GREAT SHAPE.
ROSETTA STONE IS THE BEST TEACHER FOR ITALIAN AND I BET IF YOU CHOOSE ANOTHER LANGUAGE, IT WOULD BE JUST AS GOOD OR BETTER. ALL OF IT DEPENDS ON YOU!!!!!! REMEMBER AMAZON PRIME GETS YOU THE MATERIAL AND ROSETTA STONE, COULD NOT TEACH YOU ANY BETTER. SO, GOOD LUCK AND GO FOR IT.
ALWAYS MICHELE FROM CA.
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