I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Simply put, Rosetta Stone is pretty damn difficult

A long, long time ago, when I was going to Lebanon Valley College, I had to take a foreign language.  Notice, I said take, not learn since you were not really expected to become fluent in that tongue unless, of course, you were a language major.  In high school I had tried Spanish and didn't like it so I chose French and liked it.  When I graduated I was three credits short of it being a double major.  A few years ago, after I was laid off by xpedx so they could out source my job to Poland, I took part of my severance package and went to France.  To my surprise the French I thought I remembered quite well didn't quite jive with what the locals were speaking.  I thought about this for a long time, I mean, how could I be so bad at something I had enjoyed so much.  Then I saw one of the many commercials for Rosetta Stone.

For those of you who don't know, this is what the real Rosetta stone looks like.  What did it do?  It allowed archaeologists to translate Egyptian hieroglyphs into other languages they had already translated.  This rock allowed them to understand just what the ancient Egyptians were painting on the walls of their tombs and carving into their statuary.  However, this is not what I ended up buying.

I bought this instead.  Most people have seen their commercials on television and they do make it seem like a foreign language is easy to learn.  They are, however a bit misleading.  Rosetta Stone works on the immersion theory where if you immerse yourself in, say French, comprehension will be simple.  Wrong.  For myself, I didn't find it that difficult but then I have a background.  For an individual who is starting from scratch it may be overwhelming.  They don't tell you that you should set up a class schedule or that if you're doing less then three or four hours a week you're going to fail.  There is a lot of memorization which needs to take place.  You don't hear something three times and repeat it three times and remember it forever.  The program does work.  They do, however, need to stop implying you can learn a new language in a couple of weeks simply by sitting in front of your computer.  They need to tell the unsuspecting public that if they want to immerse themselves it has to be more then an hour or so a week.  People spend a lot of money on this program with out understanding just how much work is involved.  That's a flaw for Rosetta Stone which should be fixed.

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