The One about Rosetta Stone’s Premium Edition with Live Tutoring

[NOTE: I am using Rosetta Stone Premium Edition with Live Tutoring for Learning Japanese]

Trying out the Rosetta Stone’s Premium Edition with Live Tutoring. I figured why not give it a try with Japanese (note: despite minoring in Japanese in college, I took many steps back as I learned other foreign languages and I don’t use it as regularly) and it would be a good way for me to refresh and also review the product.

I’ve only used Rosetta Stone for French and Spanish (while using Living Language for Italian and others via other software) but I’ve been critical of Rosetta Stone in the past for it’s style of teaching people a foreign language through pictures and not just starting with basic conversation. Each goes through the initial unit 1/lesson 1 training of pictures of man, woman, boy, girl, drinking, swimming, reading, etc. And the training appears to start off the same for every language.

But the farther you go, the more difficult things become.

With the premium edition, instead of having CD/DVD’s to install, everything is now online. You are provided with a headset with mic and and a product activation code. You can learn from your PC/MAC, tablet, smartphone, etc. and you get one year subscription to one of 24 available languages.

I was flying through the first lessons too quickly that I was skipping the basics and started doing the milestones to see if I can bypass those basic areas. And while there are interactive games, it requires you to finish the basic levels. So, I have no choice but to go through those beginner levels to unlock the games, which can get a little tedious.

But what I did like was the ability to switch from standard hiragana and select kanji and for those who need a little help, there is furigana (kanji with small kana above).

The chat section, seems like a section where people post problems of software installation or for troubleshooting rather than discussing the language which is unfortunate. You do get access to the MP3’s for various levels to download and listen to, which is cool.

Overall, the Rosetta Stone style of teaching a foreign language is no doubt a different style of learning a language than what I am accustomed to.

I’m so used to the way I’ve learned a language the way I was taught in college and in the case of Japanese, you start off with basic communications of introductions and with the Japanese politeness levels, these tend to be reinforced in most language courses on Japanese, except Rosetta Stone. There are no explanations of particles and this is what makes it difficult for me to fully give Rosetta Stone five stars.

But I don’t want to say that Rosetta Stone is not useful because it is. You will learn to link certain words to actions, people, animals or things but Japanese is something that requires more than pictures.

In fact, I felt that the Rosetta Stone style of teaching, is best for those who know the basics and to challenge oneself for words that you don’t know, rather than going into Rosetta Stone as a beginner to the language.

So, I do recommend purchasing this book in addition to using Rosetta Stone.  The book is what I used back in college and is still being used academically:

For learning how to write kana, I recommend the following:

Kodansha’s Hiragana Workbook: A Step-by-Step Approach to Basic Japanese Writing
Kodansha’s Katakana Workbook: A Step-by-Step Approach to Basic Japanese Writing

I also recommend apps such as Brak Software, Inc.’s Intro + Intermediate Human Japanese, Tae Kim’s Learning Japanese app, Midori for kanji, Japanese from Renzo for dictionary, Skritter for reading and for conversation with native speakers, I use HelloTalk. And there are also podcasts available as well.

Overall, I look at Rosetta Stone Premium Edition to be an added resource for those who are learning the language but have learned kana and have learned about structure, particles and politeness level. Sure, you’ll fly by the first units in lesson one quicker, but then as things progress, then the more challenging areas is where Rosetta Stone proves to be very useful.

While I have used Rosetta Stone for Spanish and French, Japanese is a little different because you need explanations about certain structure, politeness level, particles, etc. that unfortunately, Rosetta Stone doesn’t get into. Thus, the recommendation of other books, software apps and podcasts.

I did experience a technical glitch where one unit, which required pronunciation via the mic. It would catch the audio for the last word. What I had to do is bypass the speaking parts that required the microphone, pass the unit and then go back to it and then it took the audio. So far, I only saw this glitch once.

While I do prefer having the discs, for some people, the ability to work online and pay a smaller cost may be convenient for others. So, if you are the latter, then I definitely recommend Rosetta Stone Learn Languages: Premium Edition with Live Tutoring.


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Dennis A. Amith