Rosetta Stone French Review – Does The Program Really Work?
For English speakers looking to learn another language, there are few brands with more name recognition than Rosetta Stone. This language program is popular thanks to its ease of use, effective teaching techniques and unique extra features. Unlike most language programs, Rosetta Stone avoids memorization and repeated drilling of grammar rules. Instead, the lessons are based on image association.
If you’ve ever taken a foreign language course in either high school or college, you know how inefficient that method of learning a language can be. Instead of focusing on whether you are actually learning how to understand and speak the language, teachers often focus on things like perfect sentence structure and whether you can conjugate a verb. It’s no wonder so many people are still unable to speak a foreign language after several years of formal instruction. The Rosetta Stone program is different. Let’s take a look at what the program offers…
How Does Rosetta Stone French Work?
The program is based on immersion learning, the same way you learned your native language. Research has shown that people tend to learn languages the most fluently when they are immersed in environments where the only option is to communicate in the new language, and this software strives to emulate this situation.
Rosetta Stone refers to this as “Dynamic Immersion.” The lessons require you to listen, read, repeat and type words and phrases without ever offering a translation or explanation in English. Instead, all context is offered by images, audio and text in French.
Learning in this way may be slower for some people than simple memorization, but research shows it is very effective at teaching a new language at a higher level of fluency. The entire program is structured according to decades of research into pacing and language acquisition. In fact, much of it is based on well-respected linguist Stephen Krashen’s Input Hypothesis. Krashen’s concepts were used to determine when words are introduced, how they are taught and how many times they need to be repeated in order for them to become ingrained.
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How Do The Lessons Work?
The Rosetta Stone program is broken down into levels, each with its own software CD. Each level also has four audio CDs, one corresponding to each unit within the level. The software and CDs are the meat of this course. They include the lessons: vocabulary, pronunciation, listening, reading and writing. In addition, there are also reviews and tests known as Milestones for each level.
Each lesson is taught through a series of images onscreen. You are required to respond to each image by clicking the correct answer, typing a response or responding verbally. First you will receive a multiple choice question introducing new vocabulary, then you will learn to write and speak using the words.
The speech recognition functions are perhaps the most important part of each lesson. A USB microphone is included with the program, and plugs into your computer. As you speak the correct answer, the program records your response. If it does not match the correct response, you will be asked to repeat it. You can also see an onscreen analyzing tool that allows you to see where your pronunciation differs from the native French pronunciation of the word or phrase. This is a great tool when learning correct phrasing without a face-to-face teacher.
Because of the way the program is designed, Rosetta Stone French is more fun to use than many language programs that teach French in traditional ways. You will not be asked to figure out the meaning of words you have not yet seen in your previous lessons, because all aspects of the program are interconnected. This is even true of the online features of the program.
What Kind Of Bonus Features Are Offered?
Perhaps the thing that truly sets new versions of Rosetta Stone apart from other French language learning programs are the bonus online features. These include Rosetta Studio and Rosetta World. There are also iPhone and tablet apps available for subscribers to the online program. These allow you to review your lessons anywhere you have an Internet connection.
Each Rosetta Stone French course comes with three free months of the online features. After the three months, you can pay a monthly fee to continue. I would highly recommend this, especially for the Rosetta Studio.
Rosetta Studio is available at the end of each unit. When you log into the Studio, you will be asked to schedule a session with a native French speaker. These 50 minute sessions allow to you to talk face to face with someone else in the language you are learning!
Using the headset, the Studio establishes a Skype-like connection. You will then complete a predetermined lesson with the native speaker. In some cases, you may be the only person in the session. In others there are several students. Both situations have advantages and disadvantages. I enjoyed the individual attention of a session on my own, but learned a lot from listening to other students in group lessons.
Rosetta World is available online at any point in your lessons. The World setting offers individual and multi-player language games that are designed to improve your skills in the new language. The individual games include bingo and word games. The multi-player games are called Duo and Simbio. These games allow you to play against others who are learning French, as well as against those who are learning English.
This Rosetta Stone French review highly recommends the program for those who are looking to get a good mastery of the French language. The lessons are intuitive, and they teach in a way that even a child could understand. I would also recommend trying out the online features. The Rosetta Studio was especially helpful, and the Studio teachers were friendly and patient.
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