Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Rosetta Stone

I recently was given an older copy of the Rosetta Stone (the last version before this current one). I decided it was time to refresh my highschool Spanish, which was never put to effective use. After all, living in Florida: Land of Immigrants Both Legal and Illegal, Spanish is a handy thing to know.

But I wonder how much it will help me grow to a bilingual status? Glowing reviews tout it as an incredible tool used by military and corporations alike, which supposedly fully emerses the user in the language.

My son had been rather disdainful about it. "Yeah, I used it for a while," he said, "but it's just a lot of pictures and it's pretty simplistic."

Still, I was determined to give it a try. And, in the day that I've used it, I've deducted that mujer (pronounced moo-hair) means woman and coche (pronounced coach-ay) means car. I can even say "El coche es blanco". But I'm hoping that simple words which mean run, jump, woman, man, boy, girl, car, and (oddly) elephant, will be useful in everyday conversation.

I worry that this may give me a toddler's vocabulary but will hardly make me proficient enough to be regarded as communicative. Do I really want to devote myself to this just so I can sound fresh out of kindergarten?

Has anyone else had any experience with this program?


The Lazy Iguana said...

You have to start somewhere.

I think that the key to learning a new language is to get the syntax and basic sounds down first. After that, you can build a vocabulary on top of that.

Having a large vocabulary does you no good if you do not know how to take those words and form a proper sentence.

Would you rather sound like a 1st grader who is getting an A in language arts, or President Bush who makes up words and can barely form a proper sentence?

I think the best way to learn another language is total immersion. Move to Miami and live in El Barrio. Then you will have no choice but to learn Spanish or starve because you can not even order a sandwich without getting served coffee or a banana or whatever.

Anonymous said...

I pretty much stick to the language the street signs are in and expect others to do the same.

That said, I want to learn Gaelic.


Uncle Joe said...


United We Lay said...

My dad has been using the Roseta Stone so that he can speak to my son in Spanish, and his language skills have improved incredibly. He's only able to use it a few times a month, and he's been doing it for about a year now. What he's found is that he understands a lot more, but he's not confident speaking yet. We're always surprised when he pulls out a word we didn't know he knew.

I think this is a good program, and anything you can do to increase your language skills is a good thing. As you learn more, your confidence will build. As with anything, practice makes perfect.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I have heard good things about the program from friends in the linguistic business. (my ten year old granddaughter who is a little scary in her approach to life is (with her dad's help) working on Mandarin Chinese with Rosetta Stone. (Her dad says she's making good progress, he should know since he speaks Korean and French and. . . but he doesn't speak Chinese????

Aunt Jo said...

All I have is my on the job experience. "Nombre here" I really would like to learn to speak Spanish, but what if someone talks back to me? I won't be able to listen that fast!!

Beaver said...

I've never used the Rosetta stone - having studied Spanish for about 1.5 years in high school and being a native French speaker, I'm finding I have a natural ease in regaining it, especially these past few weeks. Immersion is the key. Believe me when I say that if you need to get by, your brain will get in gear and assist you. All you need is to wake up that old knowledge you have sleeping in your long-term memory.

That being said, I toyed with a book/CD self-learn thingie to study Bahasa Indonesia for a month or so before I traveled there (oh, gods, it's already 18 months ago) and did find that it gave me an edge the moment I had to pedal to learn new things. Like Iguana said, it helps with getting down the grammar and pronounciation basics.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents! Peace,


Debbie said...

I have not used this software but have a different one. It was something we had for my son when he studied Spanish in high school. It helped a bit.

I did take 2 semesters of Spanish at USF but like anything else if you don't use it you lose it! I can read some of it pretty good but can't speak it at all!

M@ said...

Reminds me of the time I tried to buy pot from an illegal alien in DC.




(As I mime smoking a joint.)

Jenn said...

I'd say it's a good start!

I need to do this with Russian. That is, if I want to understand what George's grandma is saying when she's harassing him about our lack of offspring.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I voted no on Amendment 1. It passed anyway.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Lazy, I voted no, too. I guess that makes us communists. ;o)

Jenn, hi hon! Long time no hear! Yeah, it's better than nothing. But I had an hispanic guy standing next to me the other day, and I still couldn't understand a word. I was desperately hoping to hear about women running, fish swimming, or white cars, but nothing I've learned was applicable...

m@ ;o) And did he mime back?

Debbie, that's me all the way right now. ;o)

Beav, I believe you (about the immersion). Unfortunatly, that's not really an option for this gringo. But I'm going to plug away at it! I think your knowing French is a great asset, btw, and studies show that an early mastery of multiple languages helps one master others.

Aunti Jo, especially because they let certain words blend together! That's been MY problem - and I'm sure, in turn, it's theirs! I mean, how many times do they have to get down a formal sentence only to hear us blend it all together so swiftly that they only catch one or two words out of it?

3 Score & 10, interesting! Why is she focusing on Chinese?

UWL, thanks, hon. Hope all's well with you!

Uncle Joe, ;o)

Edge, Gaelic is SUCH a pretty language.

Anonymous said...

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