While I hate to admit it, Rosetta Stone is one of the best language learning tools on the market. When I first started studying Arabic, I used it religiously. Over the years, the program has improved dramatically, but the basic structure is still the same.
Using four images, the program will present you a dialogue. Sometimes it will be a single word. Other times it will be a complete sentence. You then have to click on the corresponding picture that represents the dialogue spoken. Depending on how you use the program, repetition is used to continually reinforce the words/sentences you are learning. By associating the phrases with pictures, Rosetta Stone helps both the visual learner and the auditory learner.
You can then take tests to see how well you recall the images. These tests can be spoken or written. If you choose to test your speaking ability, the program will examine your tone and determine whether or not you correctly said the particular word or phrase.
The best part of Rosetta Stone is that your progress is incremental and each level builds upon the next so that you use the words you have already been learning when you start learning other words and phrases. If used on a consistent basis, Rosetta Stone will really help you build quite an extensive vocabulary.
The only drawback regarding Rosetta Stone is that for the most part every program is exactly the same (i.e. whether you are learning French, Arabic, or Farsi). So if you beginning to learn Arabic after having used Rosetta Stone for French, you will see the same images for “he jumped,” “she jumped,” and “they jumped.” It can get very tedious very fast as you have already become very accustomed to seeing the same images over and over. Thus the boredom factor emerges quite quickly if using Rosetta Stone for a second or third language. Basically it is the same program with different languages interposed over the framework. Great strategy if you want to market to the masses expecting that they will only study one language – but not a great product for those individuals who like to study multiple languages.
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As always I welcome your comments and feedback. What do you think of Rosetta Stone? Would you recommend it to others?