8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Ok, I believe my review of 5 stars requires more clarification. Four stars implies "I like it", while five says "I love it". I DO love Rosetta Stone for Swedish, I'm having fun and I think I'm learning a lot as I progress through the course.
That being said--caveat emptor! May the buyer beware of a few things.
I am a former foreign language teacher--I took Latin in high school, and I taught it myself for a few years. I know what it means to learn a foreign language in U.S. schools. I understand the goal behind Rosetta Stone's methods of foreign language learning. I also understand the goals behind a typical classroom in U.S. schools and their methods in teaching a foreign language.
I think nothing can beat immersion and conversing daily in your target language. I wish there was a way for me to take a class through some community education course, or travel abroad for a semester. But I live in a rural area, and foreign language options are limited. So I bought Rosetta Stone to learn Swedish--I am planning a trip in the future, and would like to speak to relatives that live in Sweden in their own language.
People learn languages in different ways--Rosetta Stone is simply one way. If you don't like the way it is set up (immersion, lots of repetition, no grammar learning in your own language), then I recommend finding something else--preferably, a way to take a class with an actual teacher in front of the classroom. If you're self-disciplined enough to stick with it, and practice it daily--and I mean DAILY!!--then buy it. Find some way to play a game, or write up your own flashcards, or review a lesson you've already done. But foreign languages require that you find some way to speak in it as often as possible. If not, this and ANY way you choose to learn a foreign language is going to be a big fat failure.
I haven't had any problems with the speaking and voice recognition part of it. I have a Mac that seems to have pretty good voice recognition. Sometimes when I do it on my iPad, I can't have any background noise. Even then, sometimes it won't pick up my voice. But that doesn't happen too often. I'll admit, I can't do any speech exercises at all on my laptop, but I'm just going to attribute that to the fact the school I work for has really crappy hand-me-down laptops anyways, and I think I have the worst of them all.
I LOVE the one-on-one sessions with a live tutor. It's still intimidating for me to speak with a native speaker, but it helps SO much!
I'm not a huge fan of the games--I can never seem to play a game with another person, I'm always playing by myself.
I will see, and possibly update my review, if this truly works when I visit Sweden. I frequently have a grammar book nearby, mostly because I AM so curious as to how the grammar is set up--I want to know "WHY" there is a particular ending, or WHY you would use a particular word here, and not in another sentence (the words for "time" and "clock" are my most recent questions). I have pop up screens nearby that have Swedish language lessons in case I want to review or look something up. Rosetta Stone IS quite lacking in that aspect--they spend so much time immersing you in their target language, there's really no room left to teach any grammar.
No product, no class I believe ever prepares you to fully understand, comprehend, and speak fluently as a native speaker does. I took a Swedish Basics class for a month at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. Even then, all we learned was some basic vocabulary words. Some people complain that's all you learn with Rosetta, but I think you learn a bit more than that--at least learning pronunciation, and speaking enough to get by in a very basic conversation. And again--DAILY practice!
You need to have a base course with other supplemental materials. I think Rosetta Stone works for me as a base course, supplemented by other web pages and grammar books. And again--immersion eventually will be the ONLY way you could ever dream or hope to speak in another language fluently.
The cost--$400. Sorry, but NO language program is worth $400 plus dollars for me. Wait until there's a sale.
I like that I can take this with me on my iPad wherever I want, but the downside is using it requires an Internet connection. Forget trying to review words on a plane ride for instance (unless you buy wireless during the flight).
Learning a foreign language is quite a skill--it requires learning from a different part of the brain than other courses in a curriculum. Some people get it, some people just won't. I get math, but I will never understand some of the concepts of physical science and physics. I'm just no good at it. Rosetta Stone will work for some, others not. At least try it, customer service has always been pretty nice to me when I've had a complaint.
I will say this much--if you're learning a language that is somewhat similar to your own, then it'll be easy as pie. Swedish vocabulary and grammar seem to be pretty similar to English, for the exception of a few different grammatical rules, which I picked up pretty easily. And I'm pretty positive any of the Romance languages would be easy to learn, as their grammar is similar to Latin.
I tried the Polish demo, because I would like to learn Polish someday--YEESH! I quickly got frustrated with it after just one lesson. The vocabulary and pronunciation is SO different from English.
So like the title says, it's a great learning tool. A learning TOOL, meaning it's a great way to HELP you with your foreign language goals. But don't expect miracles if you're not willing to spend the time and effort it takes in learning another language.