Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is a quick and painless introduction to learning an additional language. Courses are designed to immerse students in the language so they learn naturally.

Immersion Course is Fun and Inviting Way to Learn a Foreign Language

The computer based courses have an appropriate pace and repetition to develop understanding. Rosetta Stone provides courses to take a student from no knowledge to professional business levels. Most languages have at least three levels of capability and a growing number go to five levels of language.

The courses are available as CDs and are available as a single level or as sets. They are also available in packages for corporate or educational use.

Consistent Approach and Varied Activities

Each lesson in a unit introduces new words and structures with the aid of text, supporting pictures and spoken word so the computer must have sound and microphone enabled. All language skills (speaking, reading and writing, listening and comprehension, and pronunciation) are practiced as the student progresses through a unit.

The skills are used in a variety of ways to maintain interest and to allow plenty of repetition without creating boredom. Some typical lessons include:

  • A group of words is introduced with associated pictures and then learner has to match new picture with each of the words.
  • Word is spoken and then it has to be matched to a picture from a group
  • A picture is shown and the word has to be spoken by the student, speech recognition confirms whether it is correct word and pronounced correctly

Pronunciation exercises that build up the sound of words and check the student’s speech.

At the end of each unit a Milestone exercise uses the words previously introduced in real world scenarios. This is challenging but extremely useful as it requires the learner to connect recently learnt words and phrases with more realistic situations.

Pronunciation and the Spoken Word

The pronunciation guides are very effective at teaching how to pronounce the language and provide a feel for the rhythm and sounds of the language. Rosetta Stone is better than many courses at developing speaking capability. Learning to use and speak is probably the hardest part of learning a new language especially outside a formal class. Progress needs the spoken language to be practised and the student gently corrected.

The pronunciation guides are not perfect as the speech recognition, even a quite room, seemed slightly variable. A word apparently spoken the same may be rejected once and accepted subsequently. Clearly incorrect pronunciation is sometimes treated as correct. This was the case in a quiet room using either a laptop’s own microphone or the provided USB headset. However it is a valuable capability for the learner studying without a teacher to provide guidance.

Initial Limitations

More of an issue at the early levels of the course but the words and phrases do not seem very relevant to the adult learner. How often do the words for cat, dog or run come up in social conversation amongst adults? This could be discouraging to an adult learner as it potentially feels childish. As the course progresses this issue disappears.

Lack of Explanation

Some students, especially those who have studied other languages more formally, may wish or feel the need to understand more of the grammar. Word endings for example may change without explanation by Rosetta Stone which may confuse some learners. However that is a matter of individual approaches to learning. If it is important to a student it is easily addressed by adding a grammar guide and dictionary.

Learn Like a Child

That lack of formal grammar is an inevitable consequence of the approach. Rosetta Stone courses are based on “Dynamic Immersion” which seeks to reflect the way everyone, as children, learn their first language or languages where children live in a multi-lingual environment. Formal grammar usually comes much later, if at all, with the native language.

Language Acquisition and Discouraged Adult Language Learners

Children have the advantage of not having a benchmark fluency in an existing language. That native language fluency creates an expectation in older students which can cause frustration and discouragement. Rosetta Stone helps overcome any resistance by being well paced and manageable in bite sized lessons.

For some learners, spending time in front of computer may be discouraging and they may prefer to study away from a desk. Each course does have a set of Audio Companion CDs for study using an iPOD , MP3 or CD player. However having to sit in a particular quiet place does create a more disciplined approach which is often a major challenge for self study. The real requirement is persistence and Rosetta Stone certainly supports and encourages regular study.

An Inviting and Fun Way to Learn a New Language

Rosetta Stone is a quality product and easy to use either on CD or online. It tracks a student’s progress and it is straightforward to revise previous lessons. Unlike many traditional, rather dull, courses Rosetta Stone is an inviting and fun way of learning a language.

The Rosetta Stone courses are widely available and is available for more than 30 languages.

 

 

First appeared on Suite101

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