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How to Learn English at Home With Rosetta Stone English
Learning a Language on Your Own
As an ESL teacher, I constantly had students ask me how they could improve their English language skills outside of class. Of course I gave the usual advice: read lots of books, newspapers, and magazines in English, listen to English language radio stations and watch English TV shows and movies, and practice speaking with native English speakers. But many of the students wanted something a bit more advanced. They found that they had trouble sourcing material, difficulty finding native speakers to converse with, and the motivation to take on all of these activities on their own. This prompted me to look into alternative and advanced systems that students could use to up their language skills on their own. One product that is particularly popular with English language students is the Rosetta Stone English language software.
What is Rosetta Stone?
Rosetta Stone is what we call in the ESL world, Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) software. The system uses CD-ROMs, audio CDS, voice recognition technology, and online tutorials and forums to help users learn a new language.
The methods that Rosetta Stone uses are what they call 'Dynamic Immersion'. The programs use images, text, and sound to help users learn the language intuitively, without books or complicated grammar lessons. The company claims that this is more similar to the way people learn a first language as a child.
A Brief History of the Rosetta Stone Company
Rosetta Stone was created by a man named Allen Stolzfus. He spent some time in Germany and found it very easy to learn German through immersion. Later, he tried to learn Russian in a classroom setting, but he found it very difficult to learn the language. This caused him to think about which language learning methods were the most effective. Stolzfus had a dream to combine immersion language learning with technology to create an innovative product that people could use to learn English at home.
Stolzfus asked his brother-in-law, Dr. John Fairfield to help hime create this product. Fairfield had a PhD in computer science, and together the two created the language learning software that would become the Rosetta Stone. In 1992, they created Fairfield Language Technologies. In 2006, the company changed the name to Rosetta Stone, Ltd. They named the program after the famous Rosetta Stone. The Rosetta Stone is the famous Egyptian artifact that linguists used to first discover the meaning of the Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Rosetta Stone English Levels 1-5
The Rosetta Stone English Course has 5 different levels. The levels start with basic vocabulary and increase in difficulty at each level. The following is a list of topics covered in each level:
Level 1: Basic greetings, introductions, questions and answers.
Level 2: Basic directions and language for shopping and dining
Level 3: Language for travel and giving opinions
Level 4: Language for planning trips, healthcare, and moving abroad
Level 5: Language to discuss the arts, politics, business, and problem solving
Students can buy each level separately, or in packages. Packages include Levels 1 & 2, Levels 1, 2 & 3, and Levels 1,2,3,4 & 5.
Rosetta Stone Packages
Rosetta Stone Version 4 TOTALe
The newest version of Rosetta Stone is Version 4 TOTALe. This version steps up the software a notch to include interactive programs and mobile accessibility. This version includes:
Rosetta Studio - An online classroom where students can speak with native English instructors live. Teachers tutor students on the lessons and answer any questions students may have.
Rosetta World - This is an online social gaming community where students can meet other students from around the world, and practice their English.
TOTALe Mobile Companion - This feature allows students to access Rosetta Stone on their iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android device.
Each Rosetta Stone English Version 4 TOTALe comes with a Quick Start booklet, a set of CD-ROMs, a set of audio CDs, a headset and microphone that can be used with the voice recognition software, and an activation card for access to the online tools.
What Students and Teachers Have to Say About Rosetta Stone English
The reviews of Rosetta Stone English are mostly positive, although students do have a few gripes with the program as well.
Students like the fact that the software is very easy to install, and set up is easy. Many like the fact that the lessons are well thought out, and that the pictures and phrases are very intuitive. Students can monitor their progress throughout the program, and see their achievements. They can also go back to any lesson to redo the tests and achieve a higher score. This is also good for review. Students also like the fact that they can learn English in the comfort of their own home, or even on the road with their Smartphone or tablet.
One of the things that quite a few students and teachers commented about was the fact that Rosetta Stone English does not contain a dictionary or complex grammar lessons. The lessons are great for basic phrases and communication, but advanced students would prefer some instructions on how to construct complex sentences, and why the grammar works the way it does. The price is also a big deterrent for many English language learners. This program is not cheap, with different packages ranging in price from $179.00 up to $499.00. That being said, this is much lower than the cost of a university course or many formal language learning programs.