PROS / Rosetta Stone provides Spanish lessons in several refreshing formats to get you away from the traditional desktop-based software.
CONS / The main lessons follow a simple flashcard format, a lazy method for such a high-priced program.
VERDICT / For best results, use the entire Rosetta Stone program. The main lessons alone only teach you Spanish vocabulary by association.
If you have previous experience learning Spanish or any other language in school, you likely encountered piles of vocabulary flashcards. Spanish learning software Rosetta Stone has designed its entire course around this method to teach you the essentials of Spanish vocabulary and mechanics. Thankfully, this program doesn't consist solely of flashcards. The writing and speech recognition tools supplement what you learn visually while the thriving online community and native Spanish-speaking tutors give you real-world experience and build your confidence in the language.
The main lessons present four images at once and prompt you to choose the correct picture for the Spanish word. So even if you do not know the word gato, the nearby picture of a cat will clue you in fast. These exercises benefit visual learners most. To supplement the visual-heavy main courses, Rosetta Stone employs a sophisticated speech recognition system. This feature teaches you to speak Spanish by reinforcing practice with reading and speaking. This feature is a blessing for auditory learners and moves away from vocabulary to focus on pronunciation and conversation skills. This tool works by presenting Spanish words and phrases for you practice, and it gives immediate feedback based on your pronunciation and accent. Rosetta Stone focuses on the fundamental sounds common to Spanish words to improve your pronunciation.
Like the flashcards and speech tool, the writing exercises are easy to follow. You can type or select Spanish words from a list to make phrases. Depending on your learning goals, you can modify the application's difficulty level when judging your writing attempts. If you misspell Spanish words, the software highlights the incorrect letters and lets you fix your mistake. To add common accent marks to written Spanish words, the application offers a keyboard representation on the screen; all you have to do is click the correct accent mark.
Rosetta Stone has a refined system for tracking your progress and showing your scores on individual exercises. This helps you identify trouble areas such as pronunciation or writing, so you can focus on them. Lessons are accessible at any time, so you can focus on trouble areas or start in the middle of the course if you find the early Spanish lessons too elementary. During exercises, the timer mode allows you a few seconds to select the correct answer, while the test mode keeps track of your score through the exercises. After you finish, you can see your statistics, and the software tracks all of your progress so that you can clearly see which lessons you have completed and what you scored.
The best Spanish software doesn’t chain you to a desktop. Rosetta Stone provides a mobile app that allows you to continue learning on the go. This feature is helpful because you can still learn Spanish even if you do not have a lot of time to sit down in front of the computer. Listening to Spanish lessons on the go brings language learning into the real world, training you to think in Spanish out of the lesson's confined context. Rosetta Stone offers an online version of the application as well. You can conveniently access it and learn Spanish words anywhere you have an internet connection.
Rosetta Stone connects you with an online community to give you the whole Spanish speaking experience, which is one of the best ways to learn Spanish. You can play games and chat in Spanish with others who are also learning the language. The online tutoring sessions give you one-on-one interaction with a native Spanish-speaking tutor. These teaching tools allow you to use the Spanish words you are learning. While it costs extra, one of Rosetta Stone's prize features is its native speaking tutors available for chat and private lessons. However, the extra cost only makes this feature worth it if you're truly serious about Spanish fluency.
For all the vocabulary, grammar and writing lessons contained within Rosetta Stone, this Spanish software misses the mark on cultural context of the language. While this gives you the freedom to associate Spanish vocabulary with your own ideas, you miss out on the proper context for words native Spanish speakers use. Instead of full dictionaries, this program has a simple index of Spanish words the application uses in the order it introduces them for you to learn. This makes words easier to find, but omits many useful words not contained in the software.
Rosetta Stone covers reading, writing, speaking, pronunciation and grammar through its total program. However, each format is incomplete without the other pieces of the program. Rosetta Stone is effective, but only with frequent practice and use of the whole program. The good news is that between online tutoring and mobile compatibility, you can learn Spanish outside of your home or classroom.