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Estudio Español con Rosetta Stone

In my field, fluency or even conversational Spanish is exceptionally valuable. I know a little, and I pick up languages pretty easily, but what I really want is to be able to actually speak Spanish. Like, have a conversation. Have a client come in and feel like they can trust me because I speak their language. When I worked, I loathed having to do sessions via a translator because it was so stilted and awkward. But I can’t shell out $400 for a term of Spanish classes. Enter: Rosetta Stone.  I was able to procure Rosetta Stone at an extreme discount. If you buy it off the website, each level of Rosetta Stone is $269. From my best guess, it seems like one level is about what you would learn in one term if you were taking a language class at your local community college. So, $500 for three levels is probably less than you might pay normally for three terms, but it’s still pricey.

So, how does it work? It’s very easy to use and kind of fun.There are different segments for reading, listening, speaking, and writing. You learn grammar and pronunciation, and the lessons move quickly. It works in sort of an “immersion” method, being that it just shows a picture and says or shows a word and expects you to pick up on it. There is a lot of repetition, and I think it does a good job of integrating words you’ve learned previously into future lessons. It feels very fluid.

Luis from Sesame Street pointing to a water fountain and a sign that says Agua
This is Luis from Sesame Street, sadly not a Rosetta Stone feature

The pros: I think my Spanish is improving. I am at a point where people will often stop me and ask me in Spanish for directions, and I am able to communicate enough to help them. I enjoy learning and it feels good to be challenging my brain. I try to do it for a little bit every day, but it’s flexible. This is great for people who are busy or just don’t want to make the commitment to a class.

The cons: Sometimes it doesn’t understand what I am saying, which leads me to screaming into my headset, “Sonofabitch I said CUARENTA, CUARENTA PLATOS!! Goddammit!” And still it just gives me the Wrong Answer buzz. Humiliating. Obviously since it’s a computer program, I have no way of knowing whether I actually blow at saying “forty plates” in Spanish or if it just didn’t understand me.

It’s expensive. I don’t know if I would pay full price for it if I had to, and if I lived somewhere where they didn’t feel like language classes needed to cost the equivalent of actually traveling to the country, I would probably prefer to take an actual class.

Some of the words and phrases it teaches seem a little ridiculous to me. I can now feel comfortable asking someone, in Spanish, if they speak both Chinese AND Arabic. I can tell you if milk smells bad or rice tastes good, but some more practical day-to-day stuff like ¿donde es el baño?, I have not learned yet.

Because it uses the immersion-style, it doesn’t drill verbs and verb endings into your head. For those of you who remember endless conjugation drills in school, this might be a blessing. But it also means that if I learn a new verb somewhere, I still don’t know how to conjugate it. I don’t know if this comes later on, I’m still on level 1, but I wouldn’t mind some flash card-style repetitions of present, past, and future tenses.

So would I recommend Rosetta Stone? Despite the fact that my con list here is a lot longer than my pro list, I am enjoying it and I’m glad I have it. I just think for the cost there are some things I would like to see done differently. If you are able to procure Rosetta Stone at a discount, then I recommend it without hesitation, but I wouldn’t pay full price.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to come over and have a Spanish conversation with me, well, as long as you only wanted to talk about how many cats there are and whether or not they are sleeping, then we’re good.

8 replies on “Estudio Español con Rosetta Stone”

I love my rosetta stone! I grew up speaking what my Castillian high school Spanish teacher called “street Spanish” so of course I struggled in her Spanish class. But Rosetta Stone has really helped brinf back much of the language. I often fins myself speaking fluently without thought, and I’ve only been at it a few months. If you are serious about learning a language, I think it’s well worth the price. you might want to start with the first three disks and build from there.

This is perfect timing! I have been wondering if Rosetta Stone would be worth it, I would like to learn a little basic Spanish and then maybe branch out to other language, maybe brush up on my German. My mother gets an education discount, it might be worth it to us.

I also am trying to re-learn Russian. I keep signing up for classes at the International Institute, and they keep getting canceled for underenrollment. Blast! I tried livemocha for a while, which is a free site that sounds like it works on a similar principle to Rosetta Stone, although you’re dependent on “friends” and strangers there correcting your work. But I couldn’t force myself to do it regularly without the structure of a class. Boo!

My best friend speaks Russian fluently and has recently started giving me “homework,” but it’s still hard and sporadic going. Strangely enough, it was so much easier when I was just doing Russian for five hours a day, five days a week, instead of this nonsense.

I’d heard of livemocha, but had questioned the viability of, as you say, being dependent on strangers.

I always look at my community college’s brochure, but even when they do offer Russian, it’s at an odd time. :(

I guess the only way I will actually get around to relearning it is if my plans of going to Sochi for the Olympics in 4 years and then Moscow for the World Cup in 8 years come to fruition.

The Mister says we can’t go to Russia for vacation until I re-learn Russian! Boo! Also, I’m planning to take the Foreign Service Exam again, and the State Department put it back on the Critical Needs Language list, so competency is worth extra points on your score! Which means, I need to get cracking on re-learning it.

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