“If you want to learn to swim, you need to get in the water” is a phrase used on the Rosetta Stone website, and this certainly shows in this language-learning package’s content and methodology. Its approach to teaching language involves immersing the user in words and phrases of their chosen language, utilising a varied approach that involves lessons steadily increasing in complexity. It uses words, sentences, conversation mechanics, as well as a sights-and-sounds tactic to plunge the learner into the deep end
However, Rosetta Stone is one of the priciest language-learning options available on the market today. It is also one of the most well-known and well-marketed of the language-learning packages on the market, so is it the content and methodology that allowed it to rise to this level of prominence? This review will look at the methodology and content that Rosetta Stone offers in more detail.
Methodology: A Technology-Based Approach to Learning a Language
Rosetta Stone has gone through several changes over the years, but its immersive approach has always remained constant. It utilises audio and visual technology – including its much-pushed Truaccent technology - in order to deliver photograph-based language exercises, writing tasks, grammatical concepts, and evaluation of the user’s pronunciation. These approaches ensure that the isn’t simply learning to repeat words, phrases, and sentences, but is able to associate visual and audio stimuli with the content of the language, its grammar, intonation, as well as also developing knowledge of the words and phrases required build a solid foundation
Its language-learning exercises are based primarily around matching the text of your chosen language to one of a selection of images that are presented on the screen. You can be shown varied numbers of photographs, one of which corresponds to a written or narrated statement. This sounds like a simple approach, but its effectiveness is greater than that of simply learning to read, write, and repeat basic words and phrases.
Rosetta Stone also combines this drill-style learning approach with writing exercises, where the user is required to be able to comprehend and actually write down in their chosen language the correct meanings behind the words, phrases, and eventually sentences that are being written .You can also expect to be immersed in the grammar of your chosen language, though instead of learning the theoretical foundations, you are taught the nuances of the grammar through dynamic exercises and actually experiencing the varying contexts and presentations of the grammar. Rosetta Stone really does drill in the concepts behind the grammar of the language you are learning, as opposed to simply teaching you the constraints in a manner that is divorced from its everyday usage.
The spoken component is arguably one of the most useful aspects of Rosetta Stone. Here, you are put under a fair bit of pressure to begin learning, repeating, and being evaluated the speaking of various phrases and sentences. This program is arguably one of the best in the business at this approach, and the “Truaccent” technology does feel superior to the competition, including the also-impressive Rocket Languages software.
What a Subscription Gets you
Rosetta Stone offers you two options for ownership: subscription-based, or physical ownership. The latter allows you to receive CDs or a software download, while the former does involve being able to utilise the software on any device, but only for as long as you are subscribed. For the learn English package, the shortest subscription is 3 months, which costs $11.99 per month, all the way up to a 24-month subscription which will set you back $6.99 per month. In pounds, this works out at 24 months for a total of £239.
This is one of the most expensive language-learning programs/apps out there, but this price does get you some amazing features. The voice recognition is second-to-none and makes the spoken aspects of the program very effective. There is also a wide selection of languages in addition to English, amounting to 18 in total, including Arabic, Hindi, Japanese, Dutch, Chinese, and Korean.
For your money, you also get a supremely polished and intuitive user experience. This is by far one of the easiest, most instinctive ways to learn English (or any one of the 17 other language options). The user interface looks very professional, and it runs smoothly on most devices, too.
However, Rosetta Stone isn’t without its downsides. You are paying to learn your chosen language, so unlike Duolingo or some of the other competition, you cannot switch between a dozens-long list of other languages. If you’re learning English, you pay for English and are fully immersed in learning this language. Furthermore, many users have noted that the app is lacking in the specifics of the culture of their chosen language. The repetition involved in the lessons can also become tiring after a while, and the program even lacks a proficiency test for people that already have some knowledge of the language they are learning.
The bottom line is that Rosetta Stone is a very good program for learning languages. However, it is recommended that you evaluate whether the hefty price of a subscription is worth the experience of becoming in building a foundation in your chosen language.