Where it fell down is that technical problems with the program began after 3 weeks of use, it did not recognize my answers in one section and my microphone ceased transmitting my replies to questions regarding pronunciation.
Soon after that I received a message indicating a fatal error and could not start the program.
Contacted Technical support, waited 20 minutes to be answered and then the agent could barely speak English, was on the phone for the better part of an hour before he passed me on to a "Senior agent" This Guy was fine and the program was running under 5 minutes later.
The long and the short is the program is good but the support is lacking.
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381 of 397 people found the following review helpful
Easy to use softwareAug. 27 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
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.
174 of 184 people found the following review helpful
It reminds me of language courses in high school and collegeFeb. 24 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I am usually not the greatest at language. I took three years of Spanish in high school and blew through one disappointing semester of French in college, since I was studying European literature and wanted to know a main language besides Spanish connected with that. I've tried learning Italian and Gaelic (yes, Gaelic) on my own with books and also on trips abroad. But unless you have a relative or friend who is a nature speaker, it can be hard to practice. Even more so if you want to pay for a college course for a refresher. I do believe Rosetta Stone bridges this gap for the person who doesn't want to go back to college to learn this or perhaps a person who needs to learn basic Spanish for a job.
At first, I had a hard time installing this on my desktop. I've bumped this down to four stars because you can't install it on more than one computer, so I had to choose between computers. This, I didn't like at all. For the price of this program, you should be able to install it on both a work and home computer. I wish there was a way to validate your purchase so you could do this. I do notice another person with a MacMini had some of the same problems I did getting it installed. In the end, I felt it should have been more easier to do. I am not sure if my computer was the problem or maybe I didn't get good disks that can be read well. I was happy to find out, however, you can have up to five people on your one computer learning, which is nice. I can share it with my boyfriend, who also wants to learn.
The lessons, however, are very good. I was taught in high school and college in the same way, which is nice. It is advantageous for me to use this over taking a class at my local college since I can do it on my own time. I can also make mistakes without getting an F. :) In my old classes, we used to use flash cards in a similar way Rosetta Stone does their visuals. I learn pretty fast this way. It builds a simple vocabulary, mostly using present tense. Basically, if you took classes before, what two first year Spanish classes would cover, maybe a little less. It focuses also on strict pronouncing. Which is what I didn't get in school. Very personalized training. A Spanish teacher might skip over a syllable you don't say right, especially if you do well with reading and other activities, but Rosetta Stone will red you out if you don't say something clear. I like this feature. It helps me out a lot.
It took me a long time to get confidence enough to try their 3 month interactive program online. I shouldn't have been afraid of it. I enjoyed the games and got paired up with a speaker of my level. I was never once corrected in a way that made me feel stupid. I think that is very important. I feel people tend to get frustrated with learning languages because they feel, especially on a basic level, if they don't get something, it's over. They tend to quit. It is overwhelming. But this system doesn't overtax the learner. Some things I found I wasn't quick on the draw with were, finding out the balloons used were sometimes for the first person, getting the pace of the dialogue in exercises (sometimes they aren't in order) and sometimes I wouldn't catch on to games like the matching game right way, since there is no English in the program. It's nice though, it makes you not cling to anything. If reminds me of having to spend a whole hour in Spanish classes only speaking "en Español".
I do wish you got unlimited online service with this product since it is so expensive. If you paid the price of it for a college class for a year, you'd have access to co-students and a teacher to guide you, not three months of interaction. I am not sure how long the current program lasts. Can you keep using it even if RS releases version 5 without paying an extra $50? I am assuming all the audio and video stuff still works and doesn't go away once the next version comes up. The problem happens when your computer doesn't work or you want to upgrade. No way to do that or is there? I also can't find the subscription rate for this after my 3 month trial expires. I have been looking at the website for ten minutes now and can't find a simple answer. Ugh. I think I may knock it down a star for that. Information like that should be easy for anyone, owner of RS or not, to find. It makes me feel like they are keeping information away from the consumer until after they buy the product.
Overall, it's a good refresher course. The first level won't make you a master, but it can help you learn enough to form basic conversations and use it in different situations. It can push you to learning on your own as well. I am not convinced it is the best way to go to learn language, but will give it a few more months before I completely say yea or nay. Wait, wouldn't that be sí or no?
Note: I have been using this and another Rosetta Stone for several weeks now and the headset that comes with it has a microphone that isn't so good. Both my boyfriend and I have trouble getting the microphone to register words we say, even if we say it correctly. For example, even simple Spanish words like Si and Hola get a negative signal even though I am saying it perfectly. I continue at the same volume about 5 times and then, it finally takes it. I wonder if it will become frustrating on high levels where you have to repeat back longer sentences. My Mac doesn't have an external mic, so I have no option but to use the headset and take it off to speak as loud as I can into the microphone. It doesn't seem to matter if I do their "1,2,3,4,5" test at regular voice, louder or softer. After having to repeat one word twenty times before they accept it, even though I know I am doing it right, tires me out!
166 of 177 people found the following review helpful
why do i only have 3 months period on an item I paid over 150 dollars for ?Jan. 26 2013
Hyun Jae Lee
- Published on Amazon.com
this is one of the most expensive self learning tool I would say. to start things off, you only have 3 months to learn and use the program. Anything over 3 months, you gotta pay MORE MONEY to have an access or to finish/redo the program.
that is just a smart business on their side, but a business I do not want to deal with ever again
53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Slick marketing - terrible productFeb. 1 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Designed for the most novice beginner to build the most basic vocabulary. You spend your time matching pictures to sentences. Example: Which picture is a dog. Which picture is a white dog. Which picture is a running dog. Which picture is a sleeping dog. Which picture is a cat. Which picture is a cat and a dog. Which picture shows a cat chasing a dog. After spending a couple of hours like that, I skipped to the very last lesson on the hardest lesson. The teaching style did not change, they just added newer words and pictures.
They advertise that you get live online chats with native speakers? Two 30 minute group sessions a month. If you want more than that, they charge you $40 a half hour.
The voice recognition is terrible. When I tried to properly pronounce dog, I tried all of the following: perro, perraye, perruh, perreye, perree. The program accepted all of them as good.
So, I don't think matching pictures to sentences is really immersion, I think the voice recognition is terrible, and the online support is a sham. I finally settled on TellMeMore Spanish. It is everything that I thought RS was and more.
72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Expensive, rarely updated, and behind-the-timesJune 15 2011
Ken in Denver
- Published on Amazon.com
They say you can run a retail business two ways: charge a lot and have only a few customers, or charge as little as possible and make it up in volume. Rosetta Stone has the former business model, and then some. Its price is, in a word, indefensible.
This product was not that difficult to make. Its technology amounts mostly to showing you pictures, playing sounds, and having you click certain places. And yet, it's hundreds of dollars just for a few modules. Worse yet, upgrades are not free and while this product would be ideal to use either over-the-web or on a smartphone, neither option is available, nor will it be until Rosetta Stone gets some real competition. As it stands, you're tied to your desk, with only a supplemental iPad app available (Android, Blackberry, and other tablets are out of luck!).
Despite their general state of being caught long in the past, the lack of innovation in each release, and their shocking price tag, Rosetta Stone is *still* probably the best language learning software you can get, and it does help you get the vocabulary and conjugation down, mostly through repetition. That isn't so much an endorsement of Rosetta Stone, however, as it is a statement about the utter lack of competition they face.
Hopefully soon someone will knock Rosetta Stone from its complacent place at the top of the hill, but that day has not come yet. You should buy this product, but don't feel good about it.