Getting the most out of my Rosetta Stone software.
January 12, 2006 3:35 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to get the most out of my Rosetta Stone software. Any advice?

I just got the level 1 Arabic software and I'm loving it. Any advice from more experienced RS users?
posted by BuddhaInABucket to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't waste your time. I tried to learn chinese with RS, and I didn't get anywhere. I learned more in the first few weeks of class then I did with that stuff.

It's fun, but you don't learn much. You really need a class to learn a language, IMO.
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM on January 12, 2006

Some people learn better in a classroom setting. The odds of me getting out of bed to take a language class is about zero. Sitting in bed with a laptop is second nature. It's a no brainer for me.

The only real advice I can give is once you get to the point of having a decent vocabulary you need to find some people who speak the language fluently. The RS software does a great job of teaching you words and syntax but to actually hold a conversation with someone and not get really funny looks you need to start talking to folks who are fluent.
posted by ordu at 4:05 PM on January 12, 2006

I really like the Pimsleur courses. They're self-study, but pretty much completely conversation based. I think you're about 10 half-hour audio lessons in before they even let you look at written stuff.
posted by cps at 4:08 PM on January 12, 2006

I work with both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone for Japanese and there are definitely things you can do to eke out more learning.

First, with RS, get out of the English alphabet as soon as you can. The sooner you recognize the Arabic for dog, cat, etc., the better off you'll be. Get more out of the exercises by setting them to 'reading only' and stretching yourself that way.

I don't have as many hints with the Pimsleur, except to say that after I've done a 30 minute lesson, I turn it off and continue to have random conversations with myself (this is best done alone in the car) to practice the vocabulary and constructs just introduced. Without that additional push, it's easy to memorize what comes next and it gets rather mindless.
posted by DawnSimulator at 6:43 PM on January 12, 2006

Response by poster: DawnSimulator: yeah, I'm lucky because I already know how to read and write farsi, so I've been on the arabic alphabet since the very beginning.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 10:23 PM on January 12, 2006

This won't help you learn to eek out more from Rosetta Stone, but I volunteer at a literacy/learn English center and we use Rosetta Stone as a tool to help teach English.

I don't use it with my student because he has never used a computer, but it was fun to try Japanese.

The one hint I could give would be not to use it in a vacumn. There are some other books/tapes/etc. that are really helpful no matter what level you are at.
posted by drezdn at 10:36 PM on January 12, 2006

Best answer: Another voice for real-world practice. Any software or class can provide a decent start with vocabulary and basic rules, but when you hold even the most awkward conversation, you gain more out of it than mechanical repetition.

You can learn to read and write from software alone, but the conversation will make it easier to think in another language. When you can think in Arabic, reading and writing Arabic is no longer a tiresome process, but a natural reflex. Treat Rosetta Stone as a supplemental learning device, and it will do you well. Treat it as a primary source of learning, and you'll fall short of your goals.
posted by Saydur at 12:13 AM on January 13, 2006

The key is really to virtually immerse yourself in the language. Rosetta Stone might help with the immersion process but as Saydur said, should by no means be taken as an all-in-one solution (if anything, I'd say it's more like just a vocabulary resource as their grammar lessons are almost non-existent if I recall).

Find a good integrated textbook course (text, workbook, audio CDs), and on top of that get an audio-only series like Pimsleur (the real ones, not those cheap $20 ones at Barnes & Noble). Use Rosetta Stone as some fun vocabulary software, and try and get your hands on some Arabic television and watch it un-subbed for the 'immersion factor.' You could also get some music and translate it. Anything you can to give yourself that feeling of being there.
posted by Ekim Neems at 8:49 AM on January 13, 2006

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