Okay, correction: my boys are old lady magnets.
Yes, I know I’m biased, but they are adorable. And hilarious. And often loud and obnoxious. But old ladies have a knack for only seeing the sweet side of boys.
Almost every day, I get comments either on their rockin’ ride (Phil & Teds, could I possibly love you any more?) or on their handsome faces, disposition, humor, etc. At least, that’s what I think they’re saying.
One can only tell so much from context. And I can only nod, smile, and say, “ja” so much. Inevitably, a point comes in the conversation where the lady realizes I am not responding to her. I have figured out what “you don’t understand a single word I’m saying, do you?” sounds like. I then apologize, smiling of course, and explain I don’t speak da’ Deutsch.
Surprisingly, most are offended, give a little sniff, and walk away. Ahhhhh, frustration!
But that is about to change. This week, I started taking German with Rosetta Stone online. First, let’s talk about how great it is, and then we’ll talk about the cost.
I don’t want any internet bloodhounds hunting me down and suing me for copyright infringement or trademark violation or whatever that legal schtuff is called. So, I will just show you the welcome screen and explain some things from that. Rosetta Stone (RS) offers five levels of most of their language (I think they offer 31?). I started with Level 1 (duh), and it has four parts (units). Each of those four units has four lessons. It’s broken down in such a way that you only have one long session in each lesson (did you follow that?) and the other sessions are small, 10-20 minutes each. This works so well for me as I sometimes only have 15 mins here, 10 mins here. I can still make progress and feel like I am actually learning and accomplishing something.
Each session employs auditory and visual learning. You must listen to the words, “read” them, and match them with pictures. This sounds simple and yet the method behind it actually seems quite complex.
All sessions require you to repeat words or phrases out loud. The computer recognizes your speech and helps you with pronunciation (albeit by marking the question wrong if you say it incorrectly–grrrr).
The repetition of the words and phrases reinforces what you have already learned while intertwining new material to teach you even more.
So far, I think this is the best language learning experience I have had. I know more German in one week than I probably ever learned in two years of high school Spanish.
Now, let’s state the obvious. Rosetta Stone couldn’t stay in business while charging hundreds of dollars for their product if it didn’t actually work, right?
Yes, Rosetta Stone is very expensive. But what is learning a new language worth to you? If you’re just doing it as a hobby on the side, don’t have much NEED for learning another language, or aren’t self-motivated, you probably won’t get your money’s worth. But, if you will actually use this new language on a regular basis and can discipline yourself to do the lessons, it will definitely be an investment worth purchasing.
However, let’s not forget that we’re thrifty around here. Three levels of CD-Rom German is on sale for $479 right now. Yeah, that’s the sale price. Three months of online access used to be $199. I say used to because I looked it up just now to double-check the price for you, and it says “this product is no longer available.” Still, that’s not exactly cash I have lying around.
I wanted to know if this fancy schmancy program was REALLY worth almost five hundred dollars. That’s ten weeks of groceries for me in the US. That’s a plane ticket to London from the US. That’s a used Vespa. I had to do some research to be sure.
I came across a comment by someone about a community college in CA offering three months of online access for $48. Now that is my kind of deal!
Nevertheless, the college’s website and graphics smelled of identity fraud machine. I researched the college and found it had won a few environmental awards and was rated A+ by the BBB. I called the number, talked to a real person, asked some questions, etc. Okay, I’ll bite.
Turns out, it seems to be the real thing. However, I’ll check back with you in a few months and let you know if it is still legit. Things could always change!
So now when I have an old lady tell me how “süß” my boys are, I know how to say “Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch” instead of “Ich spreche kein Deutsch.” Okay, Doc Sci taught me that, not Rosetta Stone, but I’m still thankful to be on my way to making German old ladies’ days!