You’ve seen the Rosetta Stone TV commercials. You’ve read the Rosetta Stone magazine ads. You’ve even walked by the Rosetta Stone kiosk at your local mall or airport. Rosetta Stone is the end all language learning program that will take you to fluency faster than any way possible, right? Well, not exactly…
While Rosetta Stone may have its good points, I’d say it’s far from being the best language program out there. Here are six good reasons why Rosetta Stone sucks.
Reason 1: Rosetta Stone’s vocabulary learning is too slow.
If you have a few years to learn a language and don’t mind learning at a snail’s pace, then Rosetta Stone might be for you. I don’t know about you, but personally I’ve always wanted to learn a language quickly so that I could get on to the fun parts and start using it in real life. You probably don’t want to sit around while it repeats phrases like “The cat is large”.
Reason 2: Rosetta Stone is unclear.
Showing you vague photographs while repeating the foreign language does not necessarily make the word’s meaning clear. Does the photo for the word mean an article of clothing? Or, does it mean a type of shirt? Or, does it mean that specific kind of shirt in the photograph? Or, does it refer to something completely different like the pattern on the shirt? You need to learn the real meaning of a word or you will waste time wondering about its meaning and be afraid of making a mistake in real usage.
Reason 3: Rosetta Stone requires supplements.
Rosetta Stone will not get you anywhere near fluency. It just doesn’t teach nearly enough words and grammar structure. If you want to become proficient in your new language, you are going to need more than just Rosetta Stone or else your ability in the language will be stunted. Rosetta Stone is like a map that shows you 1/8th of the way to your destination. It may be fine for the first bit, but it will leave you lost and stranded on your path to fluency.
Reason 4: Rosetta Stone is lacking in useful phrases.
Rosetta Stone stresses teaching unnatural phrases like “The cat is large” or “The woman is wearing a yellow shirt”. It does *not* teach you useful phrases like how to introduce yourself or even how to say “hello”! Think about this past year. How many times have you said, “The cat is large” and how many times have you said, “Hi, my name is…” Do you really want to be spending all your time learning sentences that you won’t use and not even learn how to say “how are you?”
Reason 5: Rosetta Stone tries to fit every language into a cookie cutter formula.
The truth is, human languages vary widely. One language may be particularly hard in its verb conjugation but easy in its adjectives. Another language may be easy in its verb conjugation but difficult in another aspect like its noun cases. Rosetta Stone does not address the special issues of any one language. It gives equal time to all categories. Furthermore, it simply tries to force each language into its pre-arranged photos and sentences. For this reason, you are missing all of the specifics of the language that are most likely to be different from English and therefore are most important to learn properly!
Reason 6: Rosetta Stone is just plain expensive.
It costs a lot and I’m just not sure if the cost is worth what you are getting considering the problems I’ve outlined. There are cheaper and faster ways of learning a language. If you’re interested in learning about these other faster and cheaper methods, just continue reading below.
As you can see, Rosetta Stone does have its problems but I do admire Rosetta Stone for its innovative use of computer technology to teach a foreign language. It is a nice concept despite its lacking execution and inability to efficiently teach a foreign language. However, its emphasis on interactiveness is a (small) step above textbooks and I would like to see future software products expand on this interactiveness and try to do things right.
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