I’m happy to let you know that today marks my halfway point in the Rosetta Stone online program! I’m doing back flips over here. Can you see me? No? Really? Well, I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether that has to do with your eyesight (eat your carrots!) or the fact that I’m typing and not actually doing back flips.
In February of this year (that’s 2011 folks), I gave you my first initial impressions of the Rosetta Stone German online language course. Six months (six!?) have passed, and I’m now halfway through Level 3 of 5. As promised, here’s an update on my experience with Rosetta Stone.
Do you still like it? Yes! Definitely. Absolutely. Without a doubt. In fact, when my first three months of access ended and I was unable to renew (more on that below), I found myself almost in despair. I tried out several other methods but wound up frustrated. I had become so accustomed to the teaching method of Rosetta Stone that I realized I was expecting other programs to work the same way. I couldn’t really get into any of the other products available, so I hunted down another Rosetta Stone online program and got back to work.
I am a visual learner, so the pictoral method really appeals to me (and so does Pinterest but that’s another story for another day). To be honest, there are limitations to this approach. For instance, the word for soon is bald. The first picture for this word showed a doctor telling a pregnant woman her baby would probably be born bald. I thought this was rather amusing, but then the word came up again in another picture involving neither babies nor old men. When I’m presented with a word like this that I cannot figure out from the picture, I just type it into Google translate, and I’m on my way.
Does it work? I think progress in language learning is very subjective. Yes, of course, you can take tests to measure competency. However, tests cannot assess your abilities in every situation. I have learned a LOT of German from Rosetta Stone. I think I read much better than I speak, but that is due mainly to my hesitation to try conversing only in German (remember, Germans tell it like it is – there is no Southern way about them). That doesn’t mean I don’t try – it just means I am rather shy about it and only MAKE myself if I know the other person doesn’t speak English. On the plus side, I’m now able to make doctors’ appointments solely in German which I consider a major victory. If people slow down their speech a bit and simplify their vocabulary, I can usually understand the conversation.
One very important thing to note… I cannot figure out the method behind the order of vocabulary. There are words/concepts that would be very useful for travelers (ordering in a restaurant for instance) that are NOT in Level I. In fact, if I had only purchased Level I, I would have been very disappointed in what I learned. It is a great base from which to build other vocabulary, grammar, etc., but it will not teach you everything you want to know for a trip over to Germany. If this what you’re looking for, I’d strongly recommend getting Levels I & II.
How long does it take? Since Rosetta Stone is a self-paced program, it can take as little or as long as you’d like. I’d like it to have gone more quickly, but realistically, this is a good pace for me. It has taken me six months to complete Level I, II, and half of level III (fyi: I don’t do the lessons when I travel). I hope it will take less for me to complete the rest of the program (through Level V). If you don’t have two kids and you have more than an hour or two of free time every day, you could definitely get through the levels faster than I did. My goal after both boys are in kindergarten/daycare in a few weeks is to do one Lesson (four Lessons in each Level) per week / week and a half… ish. Yeah, I know, good luck with that.
Where do I get Rosetta Stone online? The whopping great deal I told you about in my first review no longer exists. When I determined that I HAD to HAVE Rosetta Stone and nothing else, it took me several days of searching (remember, I only have an hour or two of free time each day) to find another affordable program (I did not want to buy the CDs). I found it through a continuing education center at a university in Florida. The cost for one year of access was $299 and included the opportunity to change your language of choice one time within that year. This is obviously much more expensive than the $48 for 3 months I started with, but it is also cheaper than buying levels 2-5 to complete the program (plus, I can change once and learn two languages if I finish German quickly). And – enrolling in this “university” course qualified me for a childcare discount which means I will easily make back the $299 in no time. Score!
If you’ve tried Rosetta Stone and would like to add to this review, please leave a comment below.