Rosetta Stone V3: Japanese Level 1-3 Set with Audio Companion [OLD VERSION]
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- Rosetta Stone teaches you a new language naturally, by getting you to think, live and breathe the language
- Innovative solutions get you speaking new words, right from the start
- Rosetta Stone moves forward only when you're ready--you drive the pace, you set the schedule
- With Rosetta Stone, you'll discover a foundation of key vocabulary that you'll use to build into a whole new language
- Audio Companion lets you take the Rosetta Stone experience anywhere: in the car, at the gym, or on-the-go
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Foreign language learning with Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) Levels 1, 2&3 you connect with the world around you. With level one you begin learning fundamental vocabulary and essential language structure, from greetings and introductions to simple questions and their answers. Gain the confidence and enter the intermediate level where you will be able to talk about your environment; give and get directions, tell time, dine out with self-reliance, shop and enjoy basic social interactions. Taking what you’ve learned in Levels 1 and 2, we help you reach an advanced level of competence. This competence allows you to connect with the world around you. You will learn to share your ideas and opinions, express your feelings and talk about everyday life; your work, current events and much more. Now Rosetta Stone with Audio Companion allows the learner to take Rosetta Stone anywhere: in the car, the gym or on-the-go! What is Audio Companion? Audio Companion CDs are activities that correspond to the Rosetta Stone CD-ROM software lessons. The learner can listen to Audio Companion and practice what they’ve been learning on the computer, turning travel time into productive language learning time. Audio Companion lets the student access the power of Rosetta Stone lessons whenever and wherever they want, they can play the CD’s on a stereo, or download them to a MP3 player. It empowers the student and helps reinforce the lessons in any busy lifestyle!
Rosetta Stone Personal Edition contains everything you need to give the voice inside of you a new language. The method used recreates the natural way you learned your first language, revealing skills that you already have. This approach has won numerous awards, and has been adopted by countless organizations, schools and millions of users around the world. Join the language revolution today. Only with Rosetta Stone.
The comprehensive language-learning solution that fits your life.
Learn your next language the same way you learned your first language. Dynamic Immersion empowers you to see, hear and comprehend without translating or memorizing. You already have this ability. Rosetta Stone simply unlocks it.
Get feedback to move forward. You learn best by doing, and you'll apply what you've learned to get to the next step. Rosetta Stone adapts to your individual needs and skills, because you drive the program with your progress.
Start speaking immediately. From the very first lesson, you'll speak. You'll begin with essential basics, which form the building blocks of the language. Soon you'll create new sentences on your own, using words you've learned.
Best of all, Rosetta Stone is addictive. With every entertaining activity, you'll feel success. You'll want to use Rosetta Stone to have that next moment, that next breakthrough. So you'll keep using it, and you'll learn more!
That's language-learning success.
That's Rosetta Stone.
No translation or memorization required.The most effective way to learn a new language is to be surrounded by it. When you were an infant, your parents taught you this way, by intuitively associating words with images. That's the ultimate language lab, but most language-learning programs completely ignore this.
Think about all of the ways you've tried to learn a language: classes at school, tapes and cassettes, even software that uses your native language as a base for your next one. What do they all have in common? Translation and memorization.
Instead of taking a "direct flight" from your brain to your new language, translation and memorization connects you to your old language. You always have to "fly" from your brain, to your native tongue ... and then translate what you've memorized to communicate.
That might work for a few words, but what happens when you get to a sentence or phrase? When you have to change tenses? You're going to make a lot of "connecting flights." That's why those other methods are so frustrating ... and why they fail.
Enter Dynamic Immersion.
This method encourages you to think like a baby. You'll pair words with vivid, real-life images and make connections between things you know and the new language. Soon, you'll be thinking in a new language, stringing words together into phrases that you create.
Rosetta Stone places this Dynamic Immersion method at the core of a suite of software that works with you to develop your skills. The simple, intuitive interface helps to keep you engaged in the solution, while advanced speech recognition technology makes certain that you're speaking correctly and accurately. Best of all, Rosetta Stone never leaves you behind. You'll only move forward when you're ready, when you've become comfortable and confident.
Communicate and connect with the world: Level 1, 2 & 3 Set.
Rosetta Stone Level 1, 2 & 3 Set will take you on a journey from the basics to a whole new level of sophistication. You'll build a foundation of fundamental vocabulary and essential language structure. You'll quickly gain the confidence to engage in social interactions. Say "hello" and "goodbye," arrange travel, order food, go shopping and more! From there, you'll share your ideas and opinions, express feelings and talk about your life, your interests and more. You'll discover a voice. In a new language.
With Audio Companion, you'll enhance the Rosetta Stone experience wherever you go. You'll learn new skills on the computer, and then reinforce what you've learned with Audio Companion. Simply play the CDs on a stereo or download them to a MP3 Player. Each Audio Companion activity corresponds to a lesson in the Rosetta Stone software, so you can turn your travel time into productive language-learning time.
Inside the box, you'll find:
- Version 3 Personal Edition CD-ROM software for Levels 1, 2 & 3 (Windows/Mac)
- Headset microphone
- User's guide
- Audio Companion, a multiple-CD set to play or download to your MP3 player
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Let me spell out where I'm starting from and what I was hoping for, since this kind of product, more than most, will be rated largely depending on your expectations for it. I got interested in learning Japanese about four or five years ago, largely prompted by my pre-teen's interest. We bought some books on kana (the syllabaries), a dictionary, a book on kanji, even a couple of grammar books. And then got overwhelmed. The grammar is SO different, the syllabaries are easy to learn but written kana has no inter-word spacing, so without the familiar "word boundaries" a sentence is just one long string of symbols. We don't know any native Japanese speakers willing to descend to essentially a kindergarten level. And listening to Japanese spoken in movies or trying to read manga? Fuhgeddaboudit!
Fast forward to today. Pretty much all I remember is (part of) one syllabary. A, i, o, something, something, ka, ki, ku, something, ko, sa, shi, su, something, something, ta, ti, no that's not right, shi, tu? uhh ... well, you get the idea. Not much in the way of retention! Just enough, however, to dive right in to Rosetta Stone. Their premise, of course, is that you do all your learning in the target language. There are several mechanisms:
You see a picture, you see a written phrase, you hear it spoken. Repeat it correctly if you can (replay the audio as often as you please).
You see four pictures. You see and hear a phrase. Click the picture it names.
You hear a phrase. Can you choose the correct picture solely by hearing it?
... and so on. There are enough variations on this theme to keep your mind busy. The photos are colorful, attractive, professional (and very multicultural!) There are short lessons focusing on the characters and their sounds, but most of the learning is illustrated with these slick photos.
So, it should be fairly easy to understand how RS teaches vocabulary, pronunciation, even some reading. See a picture, see or hear the word, it's not that hard to learn it. But grammar? Japanese grammar is quite unlike English. The function of words in a sentence is determined, not so much with case and position like English, but rather with helper words called particles. [Subject] wa [direct object] o [verb] is a very simple example. The "wa" means "this is what we're talking about" and the "o" denotes a direct object. Or here's another: in English, we use noun phrases all the time... stringing together nouns where some of them act as adjectives. "Dog house" doesn't mean "dog and house," it means "dog's house;" "girl child" means "child who is a girl." Neither dog nor girl are adjectives, but they're used like adjectives, see? In Japanese, you can do that with the "no" particle, like this: [noun] no [noun].
Now, imagine explaining that without using English!
Well, they do it. You are given the photos and the phrases, and they highlight (with red characters) the parts that are different, or in some cases the parts that are the same. "Onna no ko" is girl child. "Otako no ko" is boy child. "Onna no hito" is woman. "Otoko no hito" is man. After you get familiar with the words for woman, man, boy, girl, you start on sentences like "the woman is eating," "the boy is running." Hey, where did that "wa" come from? Ohh, I see... Then they do simple sentences with direct objects: the boy is reading a book, the woman is drinking tea. The "o" particle makes its appearance. You infer the rules from the examples, just like children do. It's really rather nicely done!
I'm of course in no position to judge the purity or otherwise of the speakers' accents, but they're surely more helpful than reading about vowel sounds in a book. The voice recognition (VR) is adjustable (freer or more strict), although I'm not sure how well that's calibrated. I do know that the very first word you have to pronounce, konnichiwa, has a Japanese N, which is its own syllable--in other words, "ko-n-ni-chi-wa" is a five syllable word, not four--and the VR did NOT pass me when I tried to say it ko-ni-chi-wa (without the extra N). I'm surprised by how comfortable the speaking and listening is becoming--especially since those are my weak areas in language learning. The package comes with a headphone/mic set, by the way, so you don't have to buy one before starting. There is a set of "audio supplement" CDs, but as they're simply repetitions of the phrases you hear in each unit and lesson, I myself don't think they're worth the $$ difference.
On each screen, you have the option to see the kana (syllabary); kanji, the Chinese-based characters; kanji plus furigana, which basically means little hiragana over each kanji to tell you how it's spoken; and (shhh) romaji, which is Englished kana syllables. Try to avoid using the romaji, as nearly everyone says that it's a terrible habit and a habit you'll soon wish you had never started. In this respect, here's my advice: take a day or two to learn the hiragana before you start this program. There are fewer than 50 syllables, and even a rudimentary acquaintance with them will enhance your Rosetta Stone experience A LOT. Jimi's Book of Japanese: A Motivating Method to Learn Japanese (Hiragana) is a cute hiragana book with the bonus of little tidbits of cultural knowledge, and Kana Pict-o-Graphix: Mnemonics for Japanese Hiragana and Katakana is a pocket-sized book with effective memory cues. But back to the screen... whichever type of character display you select will be remembered until you change it again or quit the program. It defaults to kana, which is a sensible decision IMO.
A few other things about the interface: Reading the user guide made it look a lot more complicated than it is. Basically, there aren't too many controls you have to worry about. Just take the path they suggest through the program. I will say, however, that I'm repeating each lesson a few times, because I know my short-term memory is getting shorter every day. One oddity is that it will forward you to Lesson 2, then circle back to pick up some other activities from Lesson 1. They don't explain why, but I suspect this is an attempt at an SRS, Spaced Repetition System, which helps reinforce what you've learned and (in theory anyhow) help move it from short-term to long-term memory. If knowing this disturbs you, you can choose your lesson activities from a complete menu. Do them in any order you please, repeat them as often as you want, you're the boss. But really, you might not even notice that the Lesson 2 path contains Lesson 1 activities. After choosing my own path for a few lessons, I have now settled into their path without a problem. Each activity has a "you are here/navigation" bar at the bottom, showing the number of frames in the activity and which one you're on at the moment. A "grade" icon at bottom right will show you how many you got right and wrong and your percentage. If you revisit an activity, the frames you missed will be colored differently so you can go right to them.
Here's the organization of the whole program: 3 levels > 4 units/level > 4 lessons/unit > 9 activities/lesson. An activity ("listening and reading", "pronunciation," "vocabulary") takes around 10 minutes, sometimes 5, sometimes 15. You can see that there's quite a bit of instruction in this set.
Writing is probably the weakest link in the program. Obviously, Rosetta Stone has judged that the percentage of their users who have graphic tablets or some other touch device is too small to cater to, so "writing" means "looking at pictures of writing." Better than nothing, I guess, but if you picked up a pen and started trying to imitate those characters on paper, you'd probably benefit. Again, having a book on the kana, like one of the ones mentioned above, will be of use here, to teach you the stroke order (important for proper writing). The Kana Flashcards from White Rabbit Press would be a good alternative.
It's far too late to make this long story short, so I'll just say: If you're a beginner who is interested in learning Japanese and willing to dedicate short blocks of time to it on a regular basis, I think you'll really enjoy the Rosetta Stone package.