Posted on by Ulrike Rettig

My Rosetta Stone Blog - 1 How Useful Is the Vocab?

Learning with Rosetta Stone, North American Spanish.

Rosetta Stone is a hot brand, everyone knows about the name. But it seems that a lot of people who know about it, haven't tried it yet.

I worked for 20 years at Pimsleur Language Programs as an author and editor, so I know a little bit about self-teaching language programs. Before that, I was a language teacher. I'm also an avid language learner, with a pretty good fluency in 5 languages. And I am not stopping there.

In order to find out how our content and game driven approach compares to Rosetta Stone's popular courses, I bought the Rosetta Stone Spanish Course (South American), Level 1, and will try to use it to learn Spanish. I'll also keep a blog charting my progress with Rosetta Stone.

Learning Vocab with Images

Installed the program and proceeded with: Level 1 - Unit 1 - Core Lesson 1. It took me 29 minutes. [Update: You can now learn with Rosetta Stone using an app. That is very convenient.]

I learned and practiced 15 content words and in most cases the basic forms of each content word. Here's a list:
hello, good-bye;  a (masculine/feminine);  the (m/f singular, m/f plural);  child (m/f);  children (m/f); woman/women;  man/men;  he/she, they (m/f);  he/she eats, they eat (m/f);  he/she drinks, they drink (m/f);  he/she runs, they run (m/f);  he/she reads, they read (m/f);  he/she cooks, they cook (m/f);  he/she swims, they swim (m/f);  he/she writes, they write (m/f) 

All these words and forms were presented in 34 mini-lessons with beautiful pictures, clearly showing who was doing what.

A sentence was said - for example "the boy swims," and I had to click on the correct picture. If I picked the right one (usually out of 4 choices), the written sentence appeared on top of the picture. If I picked a wrong choice, an appropriate sound would warn me, and I would try again.

No doubt, I learned all of these words well. But about 10 minutes into the lesson, I started making some foolish mistakes. There was something mind-numbing in the perfect symmetry of the material I was learning.

I also found I was mesmerized by the many, many different beautiful pictures that kept flashing on. Yes, it was an exercise for the mind. But like doing 34 sit-ups, I didn't find the exercise very engaging.

I'm also not sure how I'll slip the following sentences into my next Spanish cocktail conversation: "The boy swims." "The girl eats." "The women read." "The men cook.Well, maybe the last two are not useless. I'm definitely all for women reading, while the men cook ...

What's next? Blog #2: A Big Time Investment