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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and interactive but I still sort of miss having a grammar book.
Language learning has changed hugely since I was at school - mostly for the better. There is no endless learning pages of grammar or declining verbs. Instead, courses like Rosetta Stone seek to replicate how children learn their native language. This involves lots of pictures and complete immersion in the language (everything here is in French - not a word of English)...
Published 9 months ago by Ripple

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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Learning styles
If you hated learning French at school because it involved declining verbs, learning grammar, etc, then this is the course for you. The Rosetta Stone technique involves immersion learning. Whether this technique works is, I think, a very personal thing and I don't think this system will work for everybody. The course does not include any English language to guide you -...
Published 8 months ago by Marand


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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Learning styles, 5 Dec 2013
By 
Marand (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If you hated learning French at school because it involved declining verbs, learning grammar, etc, then this is the course for you. The Rosetta Stone technique involves immersion learning. Whether this technique works is, I think, a very personal thing and I don't think this system will work for everybody. The course does not include any English language to guide you - everything is in French. The principle is to show you an image accompanied by text and you then have to marry the two up by selecting a multiple choice answer. There is also speech practice and assessment. Once I am up to speed I speak reasonable French - not brilliant by any means and for the first couple of weeks in France I make a lot of mistakes. I had hoped the course would enable me to quickly brush up my skills before each holiday.

The box contains a pack with the installation discs (1 for the application and one for each of the five levels of the course) plus a couple of audio discs. The latter are MP3 compatible and therefore won't always work in a car CD drive or a CD system. They work fine in my computer but I would really like to listen to the CDs on the move. They work in my husband's in-car CD player but not in my car CD system which is a couple of years older (I get a 'CD error' message). My husband, who is an electronics engineer by background, tells me that this is probably because my car system is using MPEG/MPEG2 and hence isn't recognising the MP3 code on the disc.

With regard to installation, whilst this was straightforward it was also an incredibly lengthy process - it took more than 50 minutes to load the software from the six discs. It was so bad it took me back to the days nearly thirty years ago when I trained people on a piece of tax software that came on 11 floppy discs. Surely there must be a better system.

Although I have a reasonable command of French, albeit with long gaps when I don't speak French at all, I started at the beginning of the course. The early stages are very basic and in my view anyone with a modicum of knowledge of French will find the first two units, possibly more, very familiar. There is a mixture of picking the correct picture for a word or phrase and some speech training and vocabulary. I found it difficult at times to know what to do in an exercise - there is a prompt button but some on-screen guidance as to what they want would be preferable and occasionally the instructions in the prompt are opaque. It is difficult to put myself back to a beginner level but I do have concerns with the multiple choice - in effect you typically have a one in four chance of picking the right answer and you may not know why you got it right. I guess this is what they are aiming for i.e. responding naturally rather than thinking about the language but I wonder how much depth these early sessions give for a beginner and how much will be understood and remembered in the absence of explanations & guidance.

I found the pronunciation sections to be annoying and not helpful. I thought other exercises rather strange and couldn't really see why they were structured the way they were. The biggest problem for me though was that I found the lessons to be increasingly dull, and struggled to motivate myself to carry on. I also have my doubts about how much sticks in the mind with this approach - the grammar exercises could be guessed at easily and the absence of any written primer explaining the principles is, for me, a negative.

I have tried several other courses - Hugo, Michel Thomas, TellMeMore to name a few. To be honest the methods that work best for me are Michel Thomas (particularly good for brushing up on the language), and the cheap & cheerful Hugo approach with its book of language exercises backed up by CDs. I guess it is horses for courses. For me at least, the act of writing down something in the language and learning the whys of grammar make it more likely to stick in my head.

The speech recognition process on the Rosetta Stone course seems a lot better than that on the TellMeMore course. I have been told by French speakers that my accent is good but my performance on TellMeMore was pretty dreadful - yet it was possible to get a tick when I'd fumbled over a word. In part I suspect that is down to the headset. The Rosetta Stone headset is streets ahead of the piece of junk that TellMeMore ship with their (more expensive) course although occasionally it missed too and I got approval for something I had really fluffed. The TellMeMore 10 level package is, though, more comprehensive and advanced in my view.

Overall, this course may be good for complete beginners but I thought it was dull & boring. I would recommend trying it on the Rosetta Stone website before purchasing to see if it suits your learning style as otherwise you could make an expensive mistake.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and interactive but I still sort of miss having a grammar book., 25 Nov 2013
By 
Ripple (uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Language learning has changed hugely since I was at school - mostly for the better. There is no endless learning pages of grammar or declining verbs. Instead, courses like Rosetta Stone seek to replicate how children learn their native language. This involves lots of pictures and complete immersion in the language (everything here is in French - not a word of English). Since total immersion in a language is the only time I have ever been able to grasp a language, this seemed a good place to pick up my rusty French. If you go to the Rosetta Stone web site, you can follow a couple of examples of the concept but beware: inevitably these are the basic lessons and therefore quite easy and fun. The start of the course is similarly easy and fun. But while this is perhaps more interactive than some other courses, it doesn't totally address the issue of a sudden cliff in terms of learning. I've experienced this with other language courses (Pimsleur, Berlitz) where you think you are making huge progress and then suddenly in one lesson you feel that it's all moved up a gear and you are completely at sea again. Same here.

To start with though it's straightforward and fun. You hear a phrase and see some pictures and you have to "guess" which one is correct. Then once you have grasped some familiar words by repetition, they appear in different situations so you get to mix familiar with new. It's pretty effective. Inevitably as it goes on you start to make more intelligent "guesses". It depends on how you learn best but while I was delighted not to be faced with reams of grammar books, I sort of missed being able to see some of the, say, verb endings in print though.

The course aims to meet the needs of whatever style is your dominant learning style (ie visual, audio or active). The best bit of the course for me is the pronunciation approach. All audio courses will have you repeat phrases but a CD player cannot tell yo when you are correct. Here you repeat into a web cam or microphone on your PC and you do get feedback. I have no idea how it would cope if you had a very strong regional accent but it seemed to do the trick for me and is certainly a great idea and not something I have seen a lot of other courses try. It does make it more like a language lesson face to face.

Of course that's another limitation though - you do need to be tied to your computer. Other language courses I have played in the car on long journeys - not always ideal in terms of concentration but the flexibility is nice. On the up side though it does allow you to take advantage of on line support etc.

For me, it's a step in a positive direction. However, while it emphasizes the learning like a child aspect, what no course can replicate is the feedback loop of human interaction. Yes, Rosetta Stone goes further down this route than most with the pronunciation system but when you want to ask "why is it?" like you would in a class, it's not so great. I may be old fashioned, but I would really like a basic text book to work from too with standard verb endings etc. At some point it seems to have been decided that technology supplants books, when in fact it is most effective when used in combination for me. This would be a criticism of all such courses though Rosetta Stone is one of the better ones. "Mange tout, Rodney" as Del-Boy might say.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for some learners, but won't suit others, 4 Dec 2013
By 
Ian Shine (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having previously studied Russian using Oxford Take Off in Russian (Paperback with CDs) and Polish using numerous books, but primarily Polish in 4 Weeks: An Intensive Course in Basic Polish (Book + CD-ROM) when at the beginner stage, I was intrigued to see what all the fuss - and the price-tag - is about with Rosetta Stone. The Polish and Russian books I mentioned cost about 10% of the price of Rosetta Stone.
I guess the major selling point for Rosetta Stone is the microphone, enabling you to get feedback on pronunciation. This is very useful as a beginner, and if you are not in the relevant country when learning the language. However, I am not sure it really is worth the massive hike in price.
Everyone learns differently, and I've always found it useful to mix up speaking and listening with reading and writing. Unfortunately, Rosetta Stone offers very little in the way of reading and writing practice. This perhaps isn't so critical at the very early stages of learning a language (I speak as a former teacher of English as a foreign language), but I think as you develop, it is absolutely crucial, so I wonder if (I haven't completed this Rosetta course yet) this method will only be able to take you so far.
The Rosetta approach of flashcards with pictures on is not hugely dissimilar to the (partially) free Byki website. The approach does work, but I think you need to think about your approach as a learner in order to decided whether Rosetta is right for you. If you want to focus on speaking and pronunciation, and to quickly get a handle on the basics, I think Rosetta would suit you. If you are looking to learn a language very thoroughly over time, covering reading and writing skills too, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Language Course, 28 Nov 2013
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I tried the Rosetta Stone French Part 1 course last year and I was impressed with it so I was really keen to try out the entire course. It is certainly not the cheapest on the market, but many state schools rate it sufficiently highly that they are prepared to allocate part of their budgets to purchasing expensive software licences. Many professionals rate this as the best course around.

I found the software very easy to install - install is via DVD and you then put in your unique code. There is also a download option. The combination of French words and pictures to accompany them, without anything at all in English means that one is thinking in French fairly much from the word go. Pronunciation, reading, writing and vocabulary are all covered and I initially revisited the Part 1 course which I had already covered. When I did that course I found that I had been making various errors in pronunciation and happily this time round much of what I had learned had stuck! I was soon onto the next part and learning new vocabulary.

One element which is certainly true is that the Rosetta Stone course really makes it fun to learn. I found myself progressing through the course much faster than I had expected and really wanting to keep going onto the next segment. The scoring system is an incentive and you find yourself really getting a kick out by hitting 100% in any section.

There are some aspects that would be purchasers should be aware of however. This course comes with a 3 month access to the online aspects which include live tutorials with French native speakers, and various community activities with games etc to improve your skills. You have to commence your inclusive three months within six months of purchase. Should you wish to extend this beyond the inclusive three months you can extend it but there is a quarterly charge. Rosetta Stone Customer Services (Tel 0800 005 1220) were unable to tell me how much it costs per quarter to extend this feature and say that it changes all the time and that you are only going to find out when your inclusive three months are up. I find this a little strange and the least satisfactory aspect of this package.

If you are serious about learning French using Rosetta Stone, then it is much more cost effective to buy this full course rather than starting with Part 1 and taking it from there. The Part 1 course is almost half the cost of the entire Part 1-5 course and there is no upgrade system so if you want to go on to purchase the entire course, you will not be automatically given credit for what you have already paid out. However, I do understand from RS that if you ring up and talk nicely to customer services they may be able to do something. This is, of course, not guaranteed.

As a final point, what you are purchasing is a personal license from Rosetta Stone, and you cannot legally sell this on - hence you are not legally going to be able to recover some of the cost on the second hand market when you have completed the course and given that this is quite a big upfront investment, this is a point worth noting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete novice starting this, 9 May 2014
I have always wanted to learn a language, I studied a little German in secondary school and that finished 12 years ago I can barely remember anything. I knew one or two simple French words but when listening to French conversation on TV shows (I have never been to France or met any French people) it all sounded like mumbling!

I found this software a little tricky at first as there are no English instructions, you soon realise there is no need for them, you simply click the pictures to match the words or vice-versa and they get progressively more difficult forming sentences, yet not too difficult for you to be out of your depth. You will be surprised how well you'll remember the words and phrases between uses of the software.

With each unit there is a writing assessment. You cannot progress to the next unit if you are failing miserably, you must retry.. This was by far the most frustrating aspect because I couldn't seem to get passed the writing section ... then VOILA! I discovered in the settings you can adjust the keyboard so the computer doesn't penalise you for not using capitals, apostrophes or the little symbols on top of letters. This made all the difference as I was back in the flow and no longer getting frustrated.

The beauty of the software is that it eases you in, for example in each new section with new words and phrases, there will be one obvious answer, and it gets a little more challenging as the unit progresses

I have been using this for about two months on and off and I have just finished Level 1. Here are some of the things I am now able to do:

I can watch a French language show and pick out many phrases
I can have a basic conversation
I can tell people about myself, my family, my work
order a meal,
Say what I like and don't like,
talk about where I'm from and where I am going/ plan to go
talk about what other people are doing, where they are going, what they like and dislike
Talk about colours, numbers, animals, seasons,
basic feelings such as hungry, thirsty, hot, cold
various rooms and what people do in them e.g bedroom-sleep, kitchen-cook
Talk about clothes, sizes
Ask questions formally and informally.

This is much more than I could ever have imagined when I started this on the first day, and I have only finished level 1. I have a long way to go, and feel I need to practice my verbal skills with somebody and this has given me the confidence to join a night class which I think will enhance my learning.

This is so expensive, The software was given to me by a friend and I hear the language packs are free on the internet (not sure if legal or not!) but this is certainly a worthy investment. I am now motivated to go back and learn German once I have finished level 3, and perhaps another language after... I am confident to say by the end of 2014 I will be able to have basic conversations in 2 other languages!! I also plan to travel a lot in 2015 :)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a reason Rosetta Stone is so popular, 12 Nov 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
If your school French lessons put you off learning it forever, you might want to give the Rosetta Stone technique a go. It builds confidence right from the start, so when you finally go on holiday to France you won't feel so intimated by practising your skills in real life. You learn in the same way you learnt English (or whatever your first language is), i.e. by listening and figuring it out. It certainly beats sitting down with stacks of verb tables or text books. It's such an engaging way to learn that you'll rattle through it - it doesn't feel like a chore. Having said that my husband found it frustrating and felt that he was making very slow progress and hitting lots of plateaus. He also found it annoying that there was no English at all, but that is the point of it. He also found that the programme didn't always understand his accent and was telling him that he was getting it wrong even though he was right (or so he tells me!). Overall I think it's a clever way of learning, but it's not without flaws.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good, 30 Dec 2013
By 
Alexa (East Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've never used Rosetta Stone before but have recently really wanted to try learning French and this seemed like the perfect thing to use. The course arrived and it was really easy to install - it came with all the disks as well as a headset so everything you need is in the box. the only bits no included are things like the online bits and the chance to speak to native French speakers (some Rosetta Stone courses offer this but this isn't one of them).

The whole course is in French. It's a combination of picture and French words so there is no opportunity to translate what you're learning into English as you go. For me this is perfect as it feels as close to immersion as you can get without actually going to France. However, it does mean you don't get to look a different versions of words and phrases written down. There is lots of speaking and listening but naturally not so much reading and writing, so it really depends on how you like to learn.

I haven't finished the course yet but I already feel my French is improving. I'm not fluent by any stretch of the imagination but I can make myself understood and understand others (at the moment) and I feel it's a great way to get all these basics so when I do go to France I'll be able to grasp everything much quicker than I would have done without the course.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A pricey product but high quality., 28 Dec 2013
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've used Rosetta Stone software before so was more than happy to order this course. Like other RS products this isn't cheap but offers a quality product.

It offers a number of learning methods so you won't get bored as quickly as you might do with other more basic packages. It monitors your learning success and provides incentives to keep you motivated. Also, because it is all in French, you are very much immersed in the language. Always the best way to learn. The word recognition software is reasonably good but it is no substitute for feedback from a native speaker.

There are numerous language products available now. I've tried Michael Thomas and have found that a good system (probably my favourite). But this is a very close second. I certainly would be happy to recommend it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rip-off, 21 July 2014
This review is from: Rosetta Stone French Complete Course PC [Download] (Software Download)
This is a rip-off. It might be useful for infants, but only those adults who find being treated as an infant might benefit from this course. There are far better and considerably cheaper alternatives for learning French, eg Michel Thomas and BBC CD's.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value language tool, 5 Dec 2013
By 
B. Roche "somethingisrotten" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Easy to install on the PC and genuinely immersive in terms of the experience, this complete French course is brilliant. It took me a while to get used to not having English prompts - this was initially quite frustrating - but the beauty here is that you get the benefit of full immersion in the language without the gut-wrenching fear associated with being dumped in a rural village in France without a phrase book! I have yet to try my burgeoning repertoire out on French soil, but the thought of crossing the channel and being somehow separated from my polyglot wife fills me with less fear.
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