After years of hearing ads and recommendations for Rosetta Stone I finally bought an online subscription to learn Dutch. Even though Jay speaks Dutch I have been struggling to learn more than a couple of phrases and the names of some food or animals. When I saw a deal for Rosetta Stone I thought ‘hey, maybe it’s time to try?!’ So here I am, two weeks into my online subscription and I am still unsure what to think. I am definitely learning more vocabulary and grammar, but the entire program is based on repetition so I’m not sure how comprehensive my knowledge will be once I’ve completed the lessons.
One of the best things about Rosetta Stone is the exposure it gives you. You’ll be given a sentence or a word with a picture and you need to determine what it means. Sometimes it’s something trivial like an apple, but sometimes the word is more complex than that. Rosetta Stone gives you the opportunity to discover the meaning of the word through the use of pictures and context clues in sentences. Best of all, the online subscription version of Rosetta Stone also gives you access to their app so you can practice on-the-go.
Another cool thing about Rosetta Stone is the pronunciation lessons. The Dutch language incorporates several harsh letter combinations and guttural sounds. For me, speaking is the most difficult aspect of learning Dutch. This feature allows me to have a little practice speaking and helps me break down the sounds in some of the more difficult words.
What’s cool about Rosetta Stone is that the incorporate games into learning as well. Once you reach a certain progress point you unlock games to help practice your listening, reading, and understanding of Dutch. I enjoy the BINGO game because it really helps your focus on listening and recognizing Dutch words in sentences that you haven’t heard before in any lessons.
Rosetta Stone is really repetitive. While this does help you understand a word in the initial stages of learning, it is limiting to the growth of your language skills. You may only learn one way to use the words. Maybe different grammar rules apply in different types of sentences. Or maybe you are so ingrained with this one sentence you simply can’t think of any others as an example of when to use the word. I like repetition to an extent, but I think some words are overused in the program.
Another way they incorporate repetition is by often using the same picture to depict different sentences and words. This can be a little confusing because you aren’t always sure what to look for. I think associating the same picture with multiple expressions could hurt my learning in the long run. I may hear a word and remember a certain picture, but maybe I associate the meaning of the word with a different one that was also used for that picture.
Lastly, and this one might just be personal preference, you can’t play the games in the app. If you want to play a fun learning game you can only do it on an actual computer. While this isn’t necessarily an issue I do find it annoying if I want to do a quick learning game to kill time. I think the app is well made but it could be a lot better if they added a games feature and reorganized it a little bit.
It’s still too early to make an decisions about Rosetta Stone. I have learned more vocabulary and grammar in the two weeks that I’ve practiced with it, but I am unsure how comprehensive the program will be for Dutch. I’m eager to see where it takes me and hopeful that I will be at least better at understanding and speaking Dutch once I’ve completed the lessons!