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Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone - Learn Spanish programRosetta Stone V4 TOTALe: Spanish (Latin America) Level 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

Platform:  Windows Vista / 2000 / XP, Mac OS X
Customer rating: 5 star customer rating in learning Spanish
Effectiveness in learning Spanish: 5 star effectiveness in learning Spanish
Media type: CD-Rom
Product includes: USB Headset with microphone
Manufactured by: RosettaStone
Price: $629.10

Manufactures description:
Develop your command of the language. From the simple to the complex, gain the confidence to share your ideas and opinions in Spanish. Develop the conversational skills to plan adventures, care for your health and move abroad. Talk about government, work, movies, family, and more. Be able to fully express your ideas and opinions in Spanish. Includes everything you need to learn Spanish at home and on the go. From the simple to the complex, gain the confidence to share your ideas and opinions in Spanish. Develop the conversational skills to plan adventures, care for your health and move abroad. Talk about government, work, movies, family, and more. Be able to fully express your ideas and opinions in Spanish. Includes everything you need to learn Spanish at home and on the go.

Product features and description:
Rosetta Stone V4 TOTALe Spanish teaches you the Spanish language using natural methods getting you to think in Spanish making learning Spanish incredibly easy. Intuitive methods help you start speaking Spanish words right from the beginning of the course. Learning Spanish with Rosetta Stone is fun as you learn at your own pace. The software keeps track of your progress allowing you to return to sections where you might have difficulty. Rosetta Stone audio companion allows the Spanish learner to take Rosetta Stone anywhere: In the car, in the gym and anywhere on the go.

About RosettaStone:
Rosetta Stone is all about learning languages. They are the number 1 providers of technology-based language learning solutions. The companies teaching methods are based off natural learning, similar to how children learning their native language. Currently Rosetta Stone offers 31 language solutions which are used by educational institutions, armed forces, government agencies and corporations.

Purchase product:
Rosetta Stone V4 TOTALe: Spanish (Latin America) Level 1-5 Set

Rosetta Stone Reviews

Amazing
I own the Latin America Spanish version of this software (Levels 1 - 3) and have used it extensively for the last 6 months. I used it while studying abroad in Costa Rica concurrently as I took an intensive language track consisting of 2 years of college level spanish (4 semesters) condensed to 1 semester.

What I found amazing right off the bat is that the levels of this software match exactly to that of each year of college spanish. For example level 1 covers the exact same material you will learn in 2 semester of university level language. This is great for students as they will know which level to start off on depending on their previous language experience.

Having used Rosetta Stone helped me tremendously in my classes and I could see the dramatic difference as I progressed much faster than the other students in my class. My wife, who was also taking the same language classes, was struggling at first but picked up quickly after using the software. The same went for the other students who soon began 'fighting' over using my laptop before and after class.

The software is extremely easy to use and the approach it takes is so intuitive. It replicates the experience of immersion so well but in such a friendly and un-intimidating fashion. The most wonderful feature of this software is the confidence it gives you in speaking and understanding which helps break the ice in initiating actual conversations, which is hands-down the BEST way to improve your language skills (especially at a bar because your shyness is also inhibited after one or two). After three or four days of using this I went from nervously giving directions to taxi drivers and store clerks to having full-on conversations.

Rosetta Stone basically works by starting you off in a completely immersed environment with zero translation. This sounds intimidating but because it starts with such basic concepts it really is not at all. For example, the first thing you will see is two pictures; one with a person approaching you and another with a person in a car leaving and waving. The native speaker will say to you either 'hola' (hello) or 'adios' (goodbye). You then choose the appropriate picture. If you get it wrong, no problem, it will pop up for you again after a few other basic words and you will remember.

The great part about RS is that it slowly gets more and more advanced and does so in such a simple and logical fashion that you soon are flying through entire sentences with no problem. The voice recognition is amazing (most of the time) and does a FANTASTIC job of helping you with proper pronunciation. Again this starts off very forgiving but as you progress gets more and more demanding. Once in a while the voice recognition gets a little weird but re-running the mic setup wizard (very quick and easy) fixes it in a jiff.

RS breaks down the language learning into mini-modules that focus on specific task (speaking, listening, reading, writing, vocabulary, etc) and uses repetition with slight modification to teach new concepts; such as learning different language tenses (such as past, present and future, etc). For example, once you have learned the word for swimming (by seeing a person swimming in a pool), the next go round it will change the picture to a wet person drying off in front of a pool and change the word to the past tense for swimming (english - swam). It helps you (at first) to be successful by showing the other pictures with a man, for example, and then saying SHE 'swam'. You can guess the right one by eliminating the men pictures (because it already taught you man and woman). It uses variations of this concept to teach you new ones.

- Ok I just realized how long this review is getting so I'll sum it up (sorry) -

Bottom line THIS SOFTWARE WORKS. In addition to Spanish, I have used German, Mandarin Chinese and Arabic. I tried these to basically compare the effectiveness in learning a language I was not already familiar with. I was so surprised when within an hour or two or was WRITING simple sentences in Arabic and Mandarin, two languages I had zero previous experience with, and have been told are quite difficult. Though my wife looked at me a little funny when I was saying into the mic "The women are drinking coffee" in Arabic after an hour, I was grinning ear-to-ear.

If you are afraid of the price - don't be. The cost is so low in comparison to taking college classes and is quite honestly so much more effective. Unless the choice was between taking an intensive language course in a foreign country and this I would choose Rosetta Stone in ANY other situation. Compared to taking a standard university class (boring, ineffective and WAY too slow) RS is a miracle. You can learn a semester of foreign language in as little as a week or two and have a much better grasp on the language. Even while studying abroad, I was having such a difficult time learning and remembering the advanced tenses of spanish (subjunctive, etc) and it just didn't make sense until I went through them in Rosetta Stone.

I apologize for writing such a LOOOOONG review, but I truly love this software that much. It is absolutely unbelievable and amazing. Before using this I would have never ever consider spending this much money on a piece of software. I'm a college student (read poor) and would sacrifice every luxury for the semester again in a heart beat to make sure I have this software.

* Important Note * While I'm writing this review the price listed for Spanish Levels 1 - 5 is at $599. Even though this is worth every penny at this price - I have noticed that a couple of times this year (for example last fathers day) they have had this on sale for $399. If you can afford to (or can't afford at this price for that matter) maybe wait and see if this sale hits again.

Seriously - if you have ever dreamed of speaking a foreign language and can't afford to live in that country for 6 months to a year while taking language classes... GET ROSETTA STONE!

PS: No I don't work for Rosetta Stone or know anybody who does. Buen suerte!

Learn some spanish, impress your friends!
I rated this program five stars, and that rating is based solely on the quality of the product. Rosetta Stone is really fun, and it's wayyyyyyy more useful than most of the Spanish classes you'll come across. As far as helping you remember words and pronounce them correctly, Rosetta Stone is awesome. I am currently taking a Spanish class at my college, because I figured if I doubled up I'd have the best chance at learning how to speak (and write, ug ug ug) Spanish. The class is a good time, and my professor is a riot, but I must admit that the computer program is more effective. My feeble brain doesn't want to deal with verb tenses and formal and informal usage of words, and all that stuff that makes my attention wander away until I'm gazing out the window and not paying attention at all and writing really long run on sentences that end in ellipses... You see my point. The Stone is also cool because it makes me think of Sesame Street, which makes me feel sort of nostalgic and happy. Clicking on the brightly colored pictures takes me back to simpler times, sigh. And yeah, it is an expensive product, but pay for a college course and a Spanish book and guess what- you end up spending even more money, and maybe you'll get stuck with an unattractive professor who rants, and waves his arms around, and throws pieces of chalk at your head when you are gazing out of the window, and not paying attention. There are cheaper computer programs for learning Spanish, and you guessed it, they totally blow. I ought to know because I wasted upwards of forty-five dollars on such junky products. I would like to know how Rosetta compares to that other popular language program... Pilsner or Plodner or Pimsleur or whatever. Rosetta Stone is also known for having crappy customer service, and apparently if you try to resell one of their programs they will hunt you down like a dog and there will be a public stoning. Sometimes greed is so shameful that it becomes hilarious. This is the case with Rosetta Stone, and I guess that's too bad, but it gives people a chance to one-up the greedy buggers! Share the product with as many people as possible and then it will be as cheap as free! After all, it seems that many folks are just in a tiff because they can't get any money for a used product. For shame, you are being just as greedy. Give your copy of Rosetta Stone to some poor, sick kid who has always wanted to learn a bit of Spanish but never had the means.

I'm reading Spanish!
I've been working through this program with my girlfriend. We do it on Saturdays and Sundays. My big screen is hooked up to my pc so we can do it from the couch and we spend 2 hours at a stretch on the couch. This helps with the ability to concentrate for long stretches. But this works very well. Rosetta Stone is fantastic. We've purchased all 3 levels of the Arabic package also. Do it! You'll be glad you did.

This set is worth the money, if you can afford it...
Rosetta Stone is a great product, especially for those who have had formal spanish education - it can help you go from knowing the rules to speaking fluently. However, for folks who know nothing of spanish - it is a poor choice to start out using by itself. In conjunction with formal spanish class or text book, it is a great program. I would suggest buying a spanish work book like the Schaum series to use in conjunction with this program if you have no knowledge of spanish. The homeschool version has very little excercises and drills. You still have to supplement your children's class with another spanish source. Even if you printed up the worksheets and test, I think it is woeful inadequate to teach conjugation or the irregular verbs well. Or consider a didactic program like Fluenz. Once you have mastered Fluenz (which is as boring as sitting in a class), you can switch to RS or a fun program like Bueno Entonces. If you have a choice between buying RS personal edition vs. RS homeschool edition, the homeschool edition gives you more bang for your bucks. You can chose to print up the included worksheets, tests, and quizzes from the extra material enclosed. The set is identical, except the installation disc is different. Once installed, the homeschool edition works just like the personal edition, except it tracks your progress.

Beware of pirated softwares. They are packed, boxed, and look identical to the real RS. The only thing different is their price and they will not run without installation of a "crack". Trying to update these programs will cause your software to lock up. They do not match the "going rate" [...]. The going rate is the contracted rate which ALL authorized retailers must sell at. If you find advertisement on Amazon.com or Ebay for an "authentic" rosetta stone set for hundreds of dollars less than the "going rate", you are buying pirated softwares. Pirated softwares can be downloaded for free (at a risk for a fine or lawsuit), purchased directly from China, or downloaded from "OEM softwares" sites for less than $50. But you get what you pay for, just don't pay $200 or $300 for pirated softwares. They can not be installed without a "crack", and can not ever be updated. Many folks have be scammed, and they blame it on Amazon.com. No, it is the dealers on Amazon.com that are illegitimate. Look at their ratings before you buy.

TIPS FOR USING ROSETTA STONE SPANISH:

1. For beginners, who know squat about spanish, curl up with a beginning grammar book and do it along with RS level 1. You should repeat each word, and each sentence as the native speaker say them. This is a must for the imprinting process. It is not enough to click on the right answer and score 100%. It is much more important to repeat, repeat, and repeat. RS works because by the time you finish level I, you would have repeated each noun, adjective, and verbs at least 60 times. Especially if you chose NOT to do all the required reviews. While if you took a college class - you cram before each quiz and test - then pass with an A, yet know nothing of pronunciation and the word will disappear quickly from your mind. The hard-wiring only takes place with repeated exposure. Beginners must do level I at least twice, or to do repeated written drills in grammar workbooks to be FULLY familiar with the infinitive form of the -ar, -er, and -ir verbs. Only once you can recognize a verb by its native form, can you advance to level II. Level II will introduce you to the past tense, and a few command forms. Without knowing the original stem of the verb - getting into the past and subjunctive of level II and III will totally mess you up. Scoring 100% doesn't mean squat in your learning process with RS. Make sure you focus on the accents of the endings. Hablo - means I speak (without accent on o), or he/she spoke (with the accent on o), Hable means I spoke (with accent on e), and also means !Speak! - a command, or may be someone speaks (subjunctive) when used without the accent on e. Speaking spanish is like singing a song, and the same sentence has a different meaning depending on how you sing it. Spanish is a very screwy language with multiple meaning for the same words (ve - means see, and also means go, a command), past tense (preterit) rules are funky - and if you don't have the basics down, you will get lost later. So a good grammar book or formal spanish course is very important beyond RS level I. Don't expect learning spanish to be as easy as the commercials tell you. A child will also have alot of adults telling them how to use their verbs!! You will need a book to be your parent.

2. For folks with prior spanish like at least a good 1st year spanish course - starting at level II will review your past tense and future tense. Repeat each sentence and words as said by the speaker - even if it is not required for the lesson. This imprints the grammar and structure in your brain. Level III will review some subjuntive, some conditional, and some advanced tenses. Level IV and V will do more of the same as level III, with more complex sentence structures, indirect and direct pronoun usage, and alot more subjunctive and contrast and comparison of the preterit and the english equivalent of past progressive tenses. Level III, IV, and V is the equivalent of a good second year college spanish class. A good spanish verb tense book is handy (I use "teach yourself spanish verbs" - a concise to the point verb book), or a program called Lexibase express - a free dictionary that came free with a cheap Spanish CD on amazon - which let me look up a conjugated verb to find its infinitive form.)

3. For folks with advanced spanish and just need a review - going through level 3 through 5 will give you a quick brush up on spanish without having to review boring grammar texts. There are enough irregular verbs drilled to make you speak fairly fluently. I see a spanish speaking patients about once a week, and they note that my spanish is fine. One could do one or two of these levels before a trip, and it will refresh your brain very quickly. Something that reading a book, watching spanish TV, or watching spanish dubbed films can not do. RS really does make your brain work.

4. Tips for all users: Before you let the program jump to the next exercise, click on the "answer" button on the left lower hand corner. This will allow you to reread all the sentences, analyze the spelling, grammar, and endings of adjectives and nouns. This will also allow you to practice more pronunciation CORRECTLY before moving on. It is too tempting for children to simply earn a proud "100%" and move on thinking he/she is best in the class. It is better to repeat and review each lessons carefully, than to move on with a "perfect" score. There are alot of straight A highschool and college students who can not speak Spanish because they equate a 4.0 with having learned a language. Yes, you can minimize RS so you can go on the internet. There are several free spanish conjugation sites that allows you to reverse lookup a conjugated form of a verb (which are not found in most dictionaries) to its original infinitive form. This is helpful if you can not recognize a verb (look up "ve" in your dictionary to test if it is adequate - it should stem from 2 different verbs - ir and ver). Learning to speak a language takes alot of work, and that means about 4 times the effort one will need to earn an A in a college class. You can go through RS once and earn a perfect 100% without speaking much spanish, but if you repeat every word that RS said, you will learn 10 times as much without getting that perfect 100%.

5. Tips on using RS in noisy environment: like the TV, dishwasher, and the barking dog. Use a headset with microphone - this will pick up your voice better than the laptop built in mic. Built in mic are fine for quiet environment - barely - as some RS voice files are not very good, and you might not be able to activate the "correct" green sign with it. If you are using the newer 3.4.5 RS engine, make sure you set up the microphone in a NOISY environment, so that it will self set itself to a "gentler" voice recognition mode to make up for the dirty noise in the background. If you set up RS in a quiet environment, and the noise kicks in - the voice recognition will be too sensitive and will not let you move on. Earlier RS engines have manual voice recognition setting, and you set it for low sensitivity for noisy environment and high for quiet area (expert vs beginner - beginner for noisy, and expert for quiet).

6. Voice recognition will not work well in a noisy environment with the older RS engines and weak computer processor speed or an overutilized processor. The older engines will not run voice recognition well if default computer maintenance activities are running in the back ground (click ctrl alt delete to see how much processor power is being utitilized and what maintenace programs are running). If your antivirus, anti-spyware, windows update, spyware update, and all other mundane maintenance and upgrade activities are running - RS will not run well. Therefore, a desktop computer with low processing power can run well when no background activity is going on, but even a fast high speed computer with tonnes of RAM might not do well at all - if you just turned it on - and it default to automatic update (windows update, adobe update, viral scan update, and viral scanning) - you might not have enough processing power to run voice recognition. You might have to leave your computer running for at least 1 hour to finish its tasks (windows upgrade, etc) before doing RS. Or if you are computer literate enough, hit CTRL ALT DeL all at once, and shut down noisy background programs. That is why folks who brings their laptop out only once a week can not use RS. Once they turn it on, the default program settings will all kick in at once - and you think you've got a virus on it. You will have to go into the power setting of your laptop, set it on high power, no hibernation, etc and treat it as constantly on desktop. Leave it running for a few hours - then do your RS. RS will run best on a computer that is left on all the time at maximum power consumtion, with no background activities going on (schedule all the maintenance activity (viral scanning and updates) when you are asleep). For some reason, the newer engines (v3.4.5) seems to be more resistance to problem with processor overutilization.

7. You might gain more by not doing the "review exercises". But rather, simply repeat the whole level again. I would rather go through a level twice, than to waste time doing the "recommended reviews". Since you get repeated emphasis on the writing exercises, which are not required in the reviews.

8. Accept the corrupt sound files, and lesson files. There will be a few sound files that are corrupted, and you just click on the move forward arrow, and skip the file. There is one chapter of a level that you can simply never complete because of a corrupt record file. Just ignore it and move on. You don't need a "perfect" report card to learn Spanish. Reinstalling RS might or might not fix it (likely not) - and will cause you to lose all your records.

MY REVIEWS OF THE 5 LEVELS:

I had left reviews for levels 1, 2 and 3 sets, and I will clip and paste it for the combo set 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Here is my review for levels 1, 2, and 3:

"Having had 2 years of college Spanish, and having been in an immersion program in Ecuador for 10 weeks and Guatemala for 4 weeks - the value of this software is tremendous. As a stand alone course with out any other Spanish training, I would find it mentally challenging to master. But to complement a high school or college class, it is very good.

My complaint is that running on my AMD64 computer with XP and 1GB RAM, it is a little slow. On my ASUS eee little laptop with 1GB RAM, it runs at the same rate, perhaps a little slower. It is even slower when your antivirus is scanning, or if your windows or antivirus is updating in the background. This might not be a problem if your computer has maximum RAM and a faster processor. I've read and seen problems with people trying to install RS on Vista, and especially Vista or Windows 7 with 64 bit OS. Apparently you might have to tweak it and set it to run on 32 bit simulation, which requires a bit of technical support.

V4 TOTALe is a big improvement over V2, with less emphasis on the present progressive tense (He is walking) and more emphasis on the present, future, and past tense. The future and past tense are introduced earlier, and is very helpful in the early language development. Advanced tenses and sentence structure is barely touched on Level 3. You will find more of these in Level 4 and 5.

I wish there was a little more of a pause at the end of some lessons for you to review the spelling, the sentence structures, vocabulary, and grammar. Instead, the answer are flashed quickly, and the next question is presented. You can freeze the action and make the sentences show, by clicking on the left lower corner for the "answers", but this would have to be done before you finish the lesson - and it will jump to the next frame.

I know that to be a true "immersion" program, a dictionary was not allowed. But a few words are hard to comprehend, even with repeated exposure. You can minimize the program on windows to go on the net to look up a word on many free spanish conjugation websites. Having a spanish dictionary nearby AND a spanish verb book (try "teach yourself spanish verbs", it is smaller than "501 spanish verbs") is very helpful to look up conjugated verb forms that can not be found in many small dictionaries. The university of chicago dictionary is great - at least in the past - and cheap. But 98% of the vocaburaries are easily comprehended from the photos (except for the conjugated verbs where a knowledge of spanish grammar is necessary).

Of the language programs I have used in the past, this has been the best. But again, it is best to use this program in conjunction with a formal Spanish course. Or after you have mastered some basic Spanish instruction."

Now, here is my review of level 4 and 5 - which I gave only a 3 star to. But for the combined package, I would still give the combined group a 4 star.

Levels 4 & 5 set: They seem to have inserted "improvements" in the newer levels 4 and 5. Weird color coding that does not make sense. Trying to match the gender of the noun to the gender of the adjective. Rather than to keep it simple, they color code the endings and stems DIFFERENT colors. Then they even color coded the verb - of the SAME color as the ending of the adjective. All in the same exercise. Was the programmer on drug?? Rather than in Bueno Entonces (a very cute program made for iphones, ipods and pcs), where the color signify something (verb, noun, feminine, masculine), apparently, in copying this, Rosetta Stone can not figure what color to use. So they mix them all up. If they simply kept the same color, and use it for both the ending of the adjective and the nouns - it would be easy to follow. If they want to make it even more useful, use pink for fem, and blue for masc. But to screw it up and mix coloring in of the verbs - what the heck are they trying to teach??

Next really stupid exercise is "fill in the blank". Would have been a good exercise if the few blanks were to drill on conjugation, adjective endings, or proper use of pronouns, right? No, no. Some drunken idiots decided that they are going to make you fill in ALL the words in the sentence. They give you like only 3 words in a sentence consisting of about 10 words, and you have to guess what the heck is each one of ALL these words. IMPOSSIBLE, and totally illogical. What idiots dream of these crazy torturous unproductive exercises?

Then they came up with new mix and match options, this time with matching the phrases with the picture. It is not necessary, as it does not improve the thinking process. And I can see how one user rating the product could not figure how to decode the prompts. It was not necessary. What worked in levels 1, 2, and 3 can work here to.

Poor lesson plannings and editing are seen throughout both level 4 and 5. A beginner exercise was inserted into Level 5 with drills on the meaning of pronouns (yo, tu, usted, nosotros, etc) which really belonged in level 1. The highlighting were rather useless, and the lessons is laughable as the focus was on subjunctive tense, yet a kindergarden level drill was heavily emphasized. Poor editing causing wrong captions to be inserted into photos (first person photo with third person caption) in at least 2 lessons. Repetition of the same poorly planned exercise throughtout the whole lesson (where a user is prompted to repeat simple sentences (salud, or gracias) where the rest of the "meat" of the lessons are not drilled. The same poorly planned exercise is then repeated throughout the entire level.

Level 4 and 5 are still useful despite idiotic "improvements". There are more complex sentence structure, more use of the command forms and the subjunctive. Actually, subjunctive tense is heavily drilled in level 5. More frequent use of the preterit and the future is noted. Levels 3, 4, and 5 is a perfect complement to second year college spanish. Whereas levels 1 and 2 are perfect complement to first year college spanish.

Rating it as a 3 is my way of telling RS that in improving a product, you can make it worse. You have got a good product ... don't screw it up!! Listen to the users and correct these mistakes, and you will absolutely have a 5 star product.

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Software keywords: Learn Spanish, Speak Spanish
Software objective: Learn Spanish
Description: Instant Immersion uses natural image association techniques to help you learn Spanish as easily as you learned your first language. With Instant Immersion Spanish, you will have more fun, save loads of money and reach your goals faster. Whether you are learning Spanish for school, work or your next vacation, Instant Immersion Spanish is fun and effective exercises, interactive activities and challenging quizzes will help you achieve language fluency in less time than other language systems.
Visual Link Spanish
Learn Spanish effectiveness rating:
Software keywords: Learn Spanish, Best Spanish software, learn to speak Spanish
Software objective: Gets you speaking Spanish fast.
Description: With Visual Link Spanish you will learn how to speak Spanish really fast. This is one of the best Spanish programs on the market. Most Spanish courses teach a lot of vocabulary and grammar rules but when you're done, you can't actually speak Spanish. Visual Link Spanish teaches you how to build sentences, ask and answer questions, and truly communicate in Spanish.
SpeakComputer
Learn Spanish effectiveness rating:
Software keywords: Learn Spanish, Spanish software help
Software objective: The software can help you learn Spanish faster. The software reads any text aloud using natural sounding voices.
Description: Text to Speech software to help you learn Spanish. Using natural sounding TTS voices, your computer will read text aloud. Read more...



RosettaStone
Discover Spanish
Tell Me More Spanish
Visual Link Spanish
Transparent Languages
Berlitz Spanish
Kids Spanish
Euro Talk Spanish
Homeschool Spanish
JumpStart Spanish
Fluenz Spanish
Spanish for dummies
Spanish made easy
Pimsleur
Learn Spanish in you car
Spanish Dictionary
Medical Spanish
Spanish for Law Enforcement
Spanish Grammar
Spanish verbs
Innovative Language Spanish
Mango Passport Spanish
Learn Spanish
Spanish Words
Spanish Culture
Spanish Conversation
Spanish History
Spain
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