I've always considered myself a bit of a language idiot. I barely scrapped by in French 1, and I don't think I ever passed Spanish 2. Honestly, I know I just didn't put that extra special effort in. I was in high school and though eager to learn a new language, when it turned out to be not as easy as I expected, I pretty much gave up. Now, at almost 30 years old, I still always wish I had really mastered a language.
First, I'm going to give you my language know-how so you can see if we might be on similar levels. My biggest problems are tense, plurals, conjugation, the whole male/female thing(o or a?). Just all around construction of a sentence. I can pick up words, I know numbers and food, hello, goodbye, please and thank you: the general stuff. While I'm not good with speaking, I can usually get by reading menus or maps. I'm visual, I can get the gist from a native speaker if they don't talk too fast, but forget my response, I probably sound like a caveman...for instance, recently I was in Spain. I needed a train ticket for December 2nd to Madrid. I smiled at the guy(showing him my silent plea of forgiveness for butchering his beautiful language)and said "El Tren billete, Diciembre dos, Madrid" So I said December two instead of December 2nd... I knew he'd be able to figure me out, but I also knew I sounded like a buffoon.
When I got the software for Level 1 Rosetta Stone, I was really excited. I had a little trouble getting my computer to load it, but after 10 or so minutes of trying different things, it loaded up and I got started. One thing I particularly like is that they judge your actual speaking voice and pronunciation, via a microphone headset included, that is plugged in by USB. It's great to learn speaking Spanish in the privacy of your own home, instead of being 15 and sitting in a class next to that cute guy who's going to think you're an idiot for not being able to properly say "I'm going to the library to get a book".
It is repetitive, but also fun if you don't do too much of it at once. I'm really good with vocabulary, but still having issues with conjugation & tense. The entire program is in Spanish, so sometimes I have to guess the meaning of small words like es, tiene, son, etc. Then they want me to change them to male or female, but I don't know what the word is to begin with! You'd think with software as expensive as this, you wouldn't have to spend extra time googling words to find out their meaning.
Level 1 is all the basics that you might learn in your first year of a Spanish class in high school. If you've really got those down, you might want to move on to Level 2 of Spanish, which is a completely different set, and additional cost.
The BIG con is that Rosetta Stone seems a little money hungry to me, both for the cost of the levels, and that your online part of the software expires and doesn't last indefinitely. I don't have another two hundred and fifty plus dollars to move on to level 2(or seven hundred plus dollars to complete the set).
The online aspect of the software is pretty nice, but unfortunately is limited to 3 months time, after that you can chuck over MORE money if you want to continue using it(you can use the other, non-online dvds indefinitely, this time expiration ONLY applies to the online activities). I liked the online games and stories in Spanish. Besides those, there's practice sessions led by native speaking tutors and other Rosetta Stone users online that you can do games and such with. Lastly, the box included cds you can load onto your ipod for practice.
All in all I'm really glad I gave it a try. I'm hoping to become better at Spanish all around and in the end at least be able to make up a proper sentence because as of right now I just completely failed a grammar section and have to redo it. If anything, using level 1 would just be good as a basics brush up before a trip, but it certainly won't make you fluent.