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goldminingXpert (28.89)

¡Que Flojo! Rosetta Stone is an insult that should be sold -- or banished!



May 26, 2010 – Comments (11) | RELATED TICKERS: RST

The following is my stock pitch for RST (this is my 4th red thumb of this company, but my first pitch.) I started writing and a full-blown rant/tirade erupted. I re-print it here in its entirety for posterity's sake. This is, I believe, my longest stock pitch ever:

Rosetta's Stone's product is absolutely terrible and horrendously overpriced. I bet that almost none of you who own or like this stock know any 2nd languages. If you do, you didn't learn them with Rosetta Stone (yes, I know there are exceptions, but I speak for the vast majority of you.)

Go to real online places that discuss the study of language learning such as, for example, the forum of Link here: ***

You'll see the reviews of Rosetta Stone are almost universally negative compared to the markedly cheaper alternatives such as Pimsleur and FSI. Rosetta Stone software is a nice toy that could teach your kids a few words that would show up in French or Italian 1 in middle school. You won't be talking to natives -- or even getting A's in class -- from the software.

What's wrong with the software? It tries to teach you words by showing you pictures. Without making it clear what the picture is. Is the boy under the ball, next to the ball, near the ball, or with the ball? And why do I care? I was several months into intensive self-guided Spanish learning before I learned to say "the boy is under the ball" -- why? Because I would NEVER EVER EVER use this sentence in real life.

But with Rosetta Stone, you get to learn it, in any language you choose -- since the sentences they teach you are all the same, no matter what language you want to learn? Swahili, French, or Russian? The boy is still under the ball! And you still won't care!

Besides the fact that this is A) boring, and B) incredibly stupid, it also retards the learning of anyone who actually wishes to learn a foreign language. Why? Well, whoever over at RST thought up their code obviously doesn't understand languages very well. The idea that you can translate complex concepts in all sorts of languages the same way is ridiculous.

For example, there is no word for the English concept "to like" in Spanish. Teaching you that the verb "gustar" is "to like" is wrong. It's fairly close to accurate, but fairly close is still wrong. Rosetta Stone teaches you that you can translate anything you want to say back into English words and syntax and spit out something coherent in another language. Ha! If you don't realize how funny this fallacy is, you either haven't studied foreign languages, or you haven't tested out your new Rosetta Stone-taught language with the locals. *For those of you not introduced to Spanish, ¡Que flojo! does not mean "That loose," as google translate seems to think it does. With Rosetta Stone, you'll quickly realize just how inaccurate straight translation of things without context can be!

Full disclosure: I don't have trades, nor have I ever traded in RST stock. I am fluent in English, in fact, I work for a newspaper. I also am intermediate in Spanish, mostly through self-teaching over the past 6 months doing things that actually involve real study -- not just toying around on a pc -- you know, things like flashcards, reading in Spanish, watching movies and music in Spanish, going to Spanish club etc. No computer is going to do that for you -- especially not Rosetta Stone's software. At best, their expensive software will be a decent complement to the real learning techniques you try to learn a language.

You can only run a company by selling overpriced dreams in a box at airports for so long. While lots of people are suckers, you can't fool everybody forever. Until I start hearing people actually speak after using Rosetta Stone, this stock remains a good short candidate -- quite possibly to zero.

**For a better translation of ¡Que flojo! I offer this picture (the first search result for the phrase, ironically enough) -- which also adequately sums up my feelings on the Rosetta Stone company as a whole:

*** This thread is a good representative of actual opinion of Rosetta Stone not paid for by their marketing department, I quote briefly:

Poster A: I'm currently learning Spainsh and Russian through self study phrase books. I was wondering if Rosetta Stone is rwally worth the money - the complete package being almost £400. Have any of you blokes have expereince with Rosetta Stone? Would you recommend it? Thanks.

Poster B: Short answer: no.

Long answer:







Poster C: Go download a torrent like I did. For free it's worth your money: |-)

Poster D: "Poster C wrote: Go download a torrent like I did. For free it's worth your money: |-)"

But is it worth your time?

Poster E: "I can quite honestly say I HATED IT.


No grammar explanations

Pointless pictures where you could say 100 different things

Low skill level reached by the time you finished it.

Typical phrasebook things such as "The house is red."

Pick up an Assimil course and the "New Penguin's Russian Course" off of Amazon.

For $500 you can have EVERYTHING you could ever need for both of those languages.

-A really good dictionary

-Grammar Guide

-Workbooks etc. I probably have around $250 in materials for ALL of my languages so far, close to 35 books. 9 languages! :D

Use as much native material as you can, and check your local library for free material :)

No sense in spending that much. Rosetta Stone is a complete lie in my opinion."



11 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 26, 2010 at 1:30 AM, goldminingXpert (28.89) wrote:

This was more fun with formatting, but CAPS is being temperamental and deleting my post and associated formatting. Apologies for the length, but I had to vent!

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#2) On May 26, 2010 at 1:48 AM, dwot (29.67) wrote:

Well, thanks for the review.  I looked at Rosetta Stone online.

I have no aptitude for second languages, but I do recommend my method of taking spanish -->  Go to a central American country and take Spanish there.  I went for 3 weeks 3 years ago.  The school, accommodations, some traveling and buying my xmas presents only cost me $1500 CAN.  The airfare was another $1000.

You should have some Spanish before doing this.  I had none and I found it way too fast moving.  Most people there had taken at least once course in Spanish and they faired much better then I did.

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#3) On May 26, 2010 at 2:05 AM, goldminingXpert (28.89) wrote:


Couldn't agree more. I learned more from a little over a week in Puerto Rico than I did in a couple years of Spanish in high school. Immersion is the way to go ... and if you can't immerse, at least quasi-immerse ... spanish music, subtitled/dubbed movies, setting your pc to spanish, shopping at home depot ;) ... 

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#4) On May 26, 2010 at 6:00 AM, silverminer (29.70) wrote:

There's an even better way to learn a language than dwot's immersion/school method:

Go to a Latin American country and fall in love.


I picked up more Spanish in the first two weeks of my stay than I had retained from six years of French classes at home. By the end of month #1, when I traveled to the capital and met some students at an immersion school, I was asked if I wanted to teach their classes.

Method #2 .... go and volunteer. I would say I became fluent about six months in. Being passionate about accomplishing something positive for a community, and not having the crutch of English to lean on, is in my opinion a solid formula for accelerated language learning.

My $0.02, worth exactly what I'm charging for it.

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#5) On May 26, 2010 at 1:06 PM, princessshea (< 20) wrote:

Rosetta Stone has horrible customer service and support. I have tried there product to learn french and I felt as if it was just thrown together. no real understanding of the language or translation. My friend turned me on to TELL ME MORE. I love it. it is a little less expensive than Rosetta Stone but the package has alot to offer and fun activities. speech recognition the only down fall of TELL ME MORE is they do not offer a Mac version and there languages are limited. If you call into there office they do have some reduced pricing.

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#6) On May 26, 2010 at 5:21 PM, d1david (28.70) wrote:

I actually like Rosetta, it has helped me with my listening comprehension, and vocabulary and it is easy to use.  Yes it might not be accurate, but it at least I play around with it, whereas the other softwares are too cumbersome for me to dive into.  Its all about simplicity.  

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#7) On May 26, 2010 at 6:00 PM, d1david (28.70) wrote:

By the way, good to see you blogging again.. the market has healed (for now)

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#8) On May 27, 2010 at 12:02 PM, albertlydia (< 20) wrote:

Let's see, Rosetta Stone doesn't work because it uses immersion in a foreign language--no translation.  Then Dwot posts that he couldn't agree more because, "immersion is the way to go".

Meanwhile, RS doubles sales in a year.  hmm....

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#9) On May 29, 2010 at 9:16 PM, cjwamy (< 20) wrote:

I am a strong believer that different people respond best to different learning styles. This could account for the difference of opinion on RST. We homeschool our four children and we love Rosetta Stone. The children can work at their own pace and skill level and seem very motivated to do so. We think that the software nicely complements the lessons they have recieved from a private tutor. I am a software developer at an IT company that also uses Rosetta Stone. From a software perspective I am also impressed with Rosetta Strone. It was easy to install and has and has a sleek user interface.    

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#10) On June 09, 2010 at 12:47 PM, ultraanalyst (< 20) wrote:

I noticed that Rosetta products DO get good review on  Few of their porducts receive lower than a 3.5 out 5 stars and most get at least a 4 out 5 or higher. 

Bottom line:  even if you don't like Rossetta Stone s/w personally, most customers who buy it from Amazon do like it and RST sales are UP.

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#11) On June 09, 2010 at 2:03 PM, goldminingXpert (28.89) wrote:

 Let's see, Rosetta Stone doesn't work because it uses immersion in a foreign language--no translation. Then Dwot posts that he couldn't agree more because, "immersion is the way to go".

Oh dear. That's hilarious. RST does not provide immersion, whatsoever. If you want immersion, either go to the country, or, if you can't manage that, do what I'm doing, which is reading all my news in, listening to all my music in, and watching all my TV and movies in Spanish. 

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