Rosetta Stone - Learning French at home

Back in March DD and I were lucky to be invited to review Rosetta Stone's language course for a few months. As DD is learning French for GCSE we opted for that but they have a vast language selection! (24 languages - I just checked)

I was impressed from the start. I had no idea what it would be like, and my own experience of learning another language was limited to French at school, and Spanish on holiday. I had found the informal setting of a holiday much more conducive to learning! (the beer probably helped, they don't allow beer at school)

Right from the beginning Rosetta teaches you in the language you are learning. There is no translation. The teaching follows the way a child learns; first we are shown pictures of 'things' and the word is clearly spoken, after a few repetitions and when you can quickly recognise and click the correct picture then verbs are added, so we see a cup, a dog, a house, then we see people drinking from a cup, after a while we see the people are not all the same, the sentence is building, a boy is drinking from a cup, a girl is drinking from a cup and so on. So you feel like you are playing a game, matching spoken phrases to pictures and the complexity is building but slowly ..well at your speed because of course Rosetta can measure your score, and time your reactions.

I enjoyed it and after a few moans and teen style grumbles so did DD. Amazing how quickly you find yourself reacting to the pictures, not really translating the words into English, just instinctively knowing what they mean.

And then there is the speaking aspect. You can speak into the microphone and the software listens and corrects your pronunciation. This was ideal for us! We are both way too shy to speak to a real person! (which is a shame as the online version has the option to speak to native speakers of your language! Proper French people to chat to if only we were brave enough) So DD could listen, learn, repeat and then start to actually say what she saw.

The learning isn't super fast but what you learn does seem to stay put, because you are really learning not just remembering or translating in your head.

I'm so impressed I think we will be buying the CD version for the family.

Because there are two options to buy Rosetta Stone depending on what you need. See here for details, but one is online for a year and includes the opportunity to speak to people and other extras like apps and games, the CD is a set price, but you miss some of the extras.

The full online version also includes apps for the ipad, which are slick and easy to use and of course as it's online it collates all the scores etc, so you can switch back and forth and keep your place. And fun games, though the actual learning is such fun it's all like a game. I think it would be suitable for the whole family!

At the moment there is a special offer on - buy the CD for £199 (saving £100 on the usual price) maybe a family treat for the summer holidays? Or a father's day gift? It is certainly worth the investment in my opinion. And you can add up to 5 people, so most families could share a course (you need separate accounts as the course tracks your progress and you set the voice recognition for specific people). Much more tailored to you than a group lesson and with the option to speak to people if you wish or just learn on your own until you are more confident. And it's actually fun!

You can try a demo on the site to see what I mean.

I'll leave the last word to DD, who says  "I like it because it's just easy to learn and use."

Disclaimer - I was able to use Rosetta Stone for 3 months for free for the purpose of reviewing it. The thoughts in the blog post (especially the bit about beer) are my own