¡Que Flojo! Rosetta Stone is an insult that should be sold -- or banished!
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 how-to-learn-any-language.com. Link here: how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/default.asp ***
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: http://www.humor12.com/que-flojo-399c.html
*** http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=20381&PN=3 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.
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
-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."