I have seen some students learning French using Rosetta Stone. It’s a great tool, but I think the cost is not worth it.
It really can help you learn to speak French, although at some point you will have to learn the amazingly complicated French grammar (France and China have 2 common points, the greatness of their culinary traditions, and the difficulty of their language).
I think it’s exactly what you need for a cycling trip, and it might be the best option if you don’t want to take courses. But you should consider asking at your local college or university (or elsewhere) for a cheap or free access to Rosetta stone (a lot of universities have free access to one or more languages per student on Rosetta Stone).
An alternative, somewhat more traditionnal but very efficient method is Assimil. I’m not sure but I think some older versions are free.
And, by the Powers! ye might want t’ choose another path, me bucko, but i’ll leave ye alone on thar course…arrrr
I really like Pimsleur, a series of audio-only lessons which you can generally find for free at your library. Another option (more similar to Rosetta Stone vocab drills) is Memrise.
I already tried Rosetta Stone, for a short time (so my review could be not exactly the best), also a lot of methods for learning languages. And I get very impressed when I see people talking about it.
Here are my thoughts about Rosetta Stone software:
The learning system is repetitive. (this is the principle of it, but it didn’t work for me) Images and words appear so many times in a lesson. It’s likely that you will be bored in the middle of it.
The correction system is automatic. You will talk, and the software will analyse your voice and compare with the correct.
Something I find important: you won’t have the support and be motived from others.
Also, the cost of Rosetta Stone is VERY high. I think it’s not worth, all in all.
So has anyone here used Rosetta Stone to become fluent in French?
Please tell me which version of the software you used.
Well, fluency is a hard thing to get. But it’s tangible, of course. Even in 1 year. If you study and have discipline, it’s perfectly doable.
Well, about FREE alternatives, there are a lot of sites:
http://www.languagepod101.com Some things are free, but mostly are paid. (you can get a good discount, googling)
http://pt.babbel.com/ Very nice site, clean and intuitive.
http://french.about.com/library/reviews/aatp-toolsb.htm About.com site is very good to give you an idea about any language. Very recommended.
Here are my golden tips for you:
- Create a blog. When you create a blog, search for content to post and think about how to write it, you learn a lot.
- Have a notebook When you handwrite something, you fix it easier than just seeing and typing in the keyboard.
- Talk and write with native speakers. This is very interesting, because only reading a book will never give you fluence. Also, it’s fun!
- Buy magazines and books. They are interesting and help you increase your vocabulary. One great is Écoute: http://www.ecoute.de/
- Travel guide and dictionary. Both are very handy for conversations and quick search. After sometime, a monolingue will be better.
But you will ask, where to find native people willing to talk and help you with languages?
I know these two good websites:
You can chat directly from the site, watch lessons, do exercises and have your exercises reviewed by natives. And all for free (there is a premium version for both, but it’s not needed).
Also, french have two courses: French 101 (for vocabulary) and Active French (listening and speaking)
Just to give you an idea about how good Livemocha is: I have talked with several people around the years, even met a teacher of french for foreigners, made friends and partners of learning.
And finally, here you can write anything you want (texts or questions), and get a quick answer:
I think that it is definitely worth it as long as you are motivated. Rosetta Stone will teach you to speak French with less of an accent as long as you try real hard to imitate the speakers. I took French for five years in high school and I can definitely say that listening to other English speakers talking in French made me pronounce words incorrectly. In addition, Rosetta Stone will track your status to help you stay motivated.
The downside of Rosetta Stone is that it does get boring after a while with all of the repetition. After doing French I wanted to try Spanish too but I got sick of repeating lessons.
In the end I would say that Rosetta Stone is good for laying the groundwork and for your speaking but that you should do two other things as well:
- Study French grammar using workbooks that you get at Amazon or a bookstore.
- Once you are advanced enough with Rosetta Stone then try reading french articles online, reading French books, or listening to French music that actually interests you. I read Harry Potter in French because I knew that I already liked reading it in English.
There are many answers to this question. The problem with most “deeply-immersive” or “self-taught” language-software like this is that it generally has issues with teaching grammar. Rosetta Stone has one huge other problem: cost.