Rosetta Stone Spanish Review
Rosetta Stone Spanish:The Rosetta Stone Spanish program is a relative new-comer on the scene. I had heard nothing but rave reviews for the Rosetta Stone series but didn't get around to trying it out until recently. Boy was I missing out. Every bit as effective as Spanish Pimsleur and far more user friendly than Spanish FSI, Rosetta Stone Spanish just may be the ideal Spanish language learning program.
Dynamic ImmersionUnlike most language-learning programs, Rosetta Stone Spanish spends very little time teaching grammar rules. Instead, Rosetta Stone relies on a technique they call Dynamic Immersion, which is a process of associating images with words and phrases. You are shown an image, perhaps of a man drinking a glass of water, and then shown the corresponding Spanish phrase both verbally and in writing. Then, the same pictures and phrases are reintroduced at regular intervals to reinforce what you've learned. Sound familiar? It's very similar to the Pimsleur approach, only using visual instead of audio cues. In fact, you wouldn't be too far off base if you were to call Rosetta Stone Spanish Pimsleur on steroids. Students inexperienced with this method of learning without grammar will be skeptical, but believe me when I say it works. Over time, you begin to to infer the rules from context without having to be taught them explicitly. In the end, you will learn Spanish grammar better this way. For those of you who want to practice the Spanish on the go even when not in front of your computer, Rosetta Stone includes several excellent audio CDs which correspond to the lessons on your computer. Use these during your morning commute or nightly job to reinforce what you've learned.
Hone Your PronunciationThe best feature of Rosetta Stone Spanish is its speech-recognition capability. Peppered throughout the various modules are prompts to repeat various Spanish words and phrases into your microphone. The program then grades your pronunciation and provides various tools to help you improve if you're a little bit off. Studies have shown the better your own pronunciation, the quicker you learn the language because your brain has an easier time making the connection between what you hear and what you say.
A Complete SolutionRosetta Stone Spanish is meant to be a complete, self-contained Spanish-learning solution. I think they more or less accomplish this goal. By the time you reach the end of level 3 (especially if you've been following my intermediate and advanced Spanish tips), you will speak at an advanced level, able to watch Spanish movies, read Spanish newspapers, and travel throughout the Spanish-speaking world without fear of being unable to communicate with the locals; however, you won't quite be fluent. No single Spanish learning program can accomplish that, but Rosetta Stone Spanish will get you closer to fluency than anything else on the market. Other programs are less expensive, but this is certainly a case where you get what you pay for.
Downsides of Rosetta Stone SpanishDon't get me wrong, I love Rosetta Stone Spanish, but it's not perfect. Even though I am partial to this particular method of instruction and eschew unnecessary grammar, I still feel grammar is important. If there's one area Rosetta Stone falls short, it's here. I would like to see a few more grammar drills in the more advanced stages of the program to help students cement what they've learned. Some people just learn better that way, and I feel a complete Spanish-learning program should cater to them as well.
This is an minor quibble, however. Since Rosetta Stone Spanish is a bit light on grammar by design, grammar fiends should pick up Dorothy Richmond's excellent workbooks: Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Verb Tenses and Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Pronouns And Prepositions as a grammar supplement. You can purchase both of these workbooks from Amazon for around $18 total and I know of no other grammar workbooks even half as effective as these, especially for the price. The combination of Rosetta Stone and Practice Makes perfect is unbeatable. If you work through this program and these two grammar workbooks, you will learn to speak Spanish faster than you ever thought possible.
Buy Rosetta Stone Version 4: Spanish Level 1-5 Set with Audio Companion from Amazon today!