Learning Spanish Product Reviews
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Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone Spanish
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$204
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Software Review
Rosetta Stone Spanish takes an immersion approach to learning Spanish, so you will not find English translations of the language in this software. It teaches you Spanish in the same way that you learned your native tongue through image and word association. You will not find grammar tables and complicated explanations in this software, as it aims to teach Spanish more intuitively. The content that is included with the lessons is solid and covers reading, writing, listening and speaking effectively.

The highlights of the program are the speech recognition software and the immersion approach is reasonably well implemented. The downfalls of the program are the lack of cultural lessons and the limited teaching tools on offer. Overall it is a decent package that has good, but not great, value for money.

WHATíS INCLUDED

(features / teaching tools / support etc)

Features that are included with the Rosetta Stone software are a thorough and easy to understand progress tracking system as well as personalized learning paths where you can choose the language that you learn and the lessons to take so that you can move through it at your own pace. There are also a great many additional resources that are included on the Rosetta Stone website for further learning and practice.

Features that are not included are MP3 media files and word tools such as translator, dictionary and root search. There are few word tools included with the program and this is mainly because the program designers want you to learn the language intuitively rather than becoming reliant on translations Ė this is sound educational pedagogy. The lack of MP3 is more likely to be a disadvantage since the word tools are easily found for free on websites on the Internet and the learning on the program is expertly delivered so that you do not need translations. The program does not have interactive games or cultural lessons, which could also be deemed to be a downfall of the software.

Teaching tools used in the Rosetta Stone Spanish language learning software include visual images that are used to teach vocabulary as well as grammar. There are three modes in which you can run the program to learn vocabulary: delay mode, timer mode and test mode. In delay mode you see or hear the word and after a short delay you see the four options; in timer mode.

Support that comes with Rosetta Stone is pretty standard including a thorough user manual, FAQ section and demonstrations. There is also phone and email support available although you are unlikely to need it as Rosetta Stone is probably one of the easiest programs to install and use. Navigation of the software has been whittled down to a fine art by the program designers with a straightforward interface.

LEARNING POTENTIAL

Rosetta Stone Spanish follows the immersion method of teaching Spanish, which means that there are no English translations available. Although it might seem a bit intimidating studies have shown that this method of language acquisition is much more effective than translating the new language into English.

Rosetta Stone focuses on delivering immersion at beginnerís level. It delivers solid content across reading, writing, listening and speaking in a step by step manner that builds upon prior learning. The program misses the opportunity to mix cultural content with the lesson content to boost learnerís understanding of Spanish culture. As an immersion program, this is a glaring oversight.

VALUE FOR MONEY

If you are looking for a program that offers immersion in Spanish at the beginnerís level, then this is a good option. However, there are other programs that go beyond the beginning level of Spanish for a lower price.
      AT A GLANCE
Rosetta Stone Spanish software is an immersion based program that can teach the fundamentals of Spanish at the beginnerís level. One of the strengths of the program is the speech recognition system, which gives immediate feedback on pronunciation.

Another positive aspect of the program is the progress tracking, so you can see your improvements and areas that need work easily. It lacks some of the features that other programs in a similar price point have, but it is easy to use.

   
  PROS
   
Excellent progress tracking
Uses immersion technique
Speech recognition software for improved pronunciation
Very easy to use
   
   
  CONS
   
Not MP3 compatible
Lack of cultural information
Limited teaching tools
Limited speaking practice
Does not include dictionary or other word tools
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