I had reviewed a couple years back Rosetta Stone's V3 software. Little has changed at the core of the learning system, which is by far and away a good thing. If you're not familiar with how this program works, it is truly the most "natural" way to learn a language.
Let me explain (if you do know how this works skip to the next paragraph for updates on the new features). This program does the best it can to mimic a child-like learning environment, which is what everyone needs to learn. I really mean it. Think of it this way: how do children learn a language? They imitate what they hear and see, right? They do not have a concept early on of memorization. Children do not memorize language, grammar, vocabulary, sentences, etc...they repeat what they hear, associate what they hear with what they see, and make mistakes as they go, slowly correcting themselves with guidance and observation and trial and error. This program does the same thing, but with you, an adult (or so I presume for most readers of this review). It shows you a picture, associates the word visually, and then through audition. You then practice back by seeing, choosing, saying the words that you have learned. You'll make mistakes, but will self-correct with this program just like a child would. Practice will not make perfect, only permanent. Hence, when you do practice, make sure to do it slowly and really understand what it is that you're saying, seeing, and hearing; this program makes it much easier than reading a book alone, or just listening to audio cassettes; it's truly an all-encompassing programs. Memorization and just repetition is NOT the way to learn a language, and friend of mine who did this for 4 years (think Highschool) cannot speak a single sentence even though they were A students. I, having been blessed with a teacher who forced us to live the language by all the ways that a mind can comprehend it, never memorized the language, and can speak it very well now (no medical terms, but good `ol conversation and banter).
So, what's new here compared to V3? I was pleasantly surprised that at least one of my previous suggestions in a previous review was taken seriously. I had mentioned the need for you to practice with native speakers in order to really get the hang of a language. And now, you get this chance with a short free trial. I had also mentioned in the old review to make learning the language fun, as anything that's fun is instantly remembered for the long term better as we all know. Rosetta Stone included games to play and enjoy. I'm very happy that this company really listens to its customers and updates its products, instead of sticking to its guns thinking they figured everything out. Two thumbs up for that.
I HAVE NOT (reason forthcoming), yet tried the online sessions with the native speakers. There's a reason for this, and I really hope you take note of this before purchasing this product. First, I don't recommend purchasing level 1 of this language (and logically of any). I want you to ask yourself why you want to learn this language? To learn how to say "pants" and barely speak or comprehend a sentence, or to actually learn to have some minimal conversational skill? I'm going to take a wild guess and say you fit into the latter category. It makes no sense to me to "try" out learning a language and barely learn anything for such an EXPENSIVE program! Unless you have money to burn skip buying the incomplete set, please. I recommend that if you are REALLY truly serious about getting the hang of a language to a minimally conversational degree with just the software then get the entire set and save yourself money in the long-run (quite a bit I might add). Then use the online native speakers to help you master your conversational abilities. BUT, I emphasize, DO NOT waste your money activating your free trial of the native speaker engagement sessions (and games) until you have complete the entire program. Why in the world would you take precious time and money to do such a thing when you'll just be able to spit back the names of colors and buildings back to one another? Wait until you get semi-coherent and put your hard earned dollars to work only then, after mastering the program. This is precisely why I haven't activated the free trial yet, I want to really get the hang of at least the portion of the program I got to review until I speak to a native speaker.