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Is Rosetta Stone worth the cost for upcoming trip to France?

Is Rosetta Stone worth the cost for upcoming trip to France?

Old May 21st, 2012, 07:53 AM
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Is Rosetta Stone worth the cost for upcoming trip to France?

I am planning a trip to France for May of 2013. I took Spanish in high school and college, and brushed up on Italian basics before a few trips to Italy. French is totally foreign to me and I would like to study enough to make some effort to communicate in the time I am there. Does anyone have any recommendations on Rosetta Stone vs another foreign language learning tool? It seems expensive but if it's worth the cost and interesting, I'll invest in it.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 08:22 AM
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Rosetta Stone is decent software. I wouldn't spend money to learn a language for a trip to France, but the software is decent.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 08:26 AM
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I can't imagine it could ever be worth it just for a tourist who is going to be in France for a short time, given it costs hundreds of dollars, as far as I know. If you plan to be in France for a long time and really want to get more out of it, I think you should take a real language class such as at a community college and study for a year. You won't be able to really communicate if you don't study a language seriously for a long time. And you won't be able to really communicate in one year no matter what, but I guess that depends what you mean by that term (to me, it means actually having a conversation). If you are going to major cities, the people you encounter, especially in hotels and restaurants, will know English most likely.

So I'd suggest either taking a class if you really want to learn French. If this is just something to do as a one-off for that vacation, just buy a phrasebook or get whatever you can get free at your library (my libary has Pimsleur but no Rosetta Stone).

If you know Spanish, French cannot be totally foreign, as a lot of the language has similarities in grammatical structurew and words.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 08:32 AM
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It has taken me years to learn enough Spanish and German to be able to function in those countries. I doubt that a year on Rosetta Stone will be enough to really help, but hey--it couldn't hurt.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 09:05 AM
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I agree with others about not investing in Rosetta Stone in that I have been trying to learn French off and on since I was in high school many years ago and am still not fluent but I can get along with my French over there. Our local library has the Pimsleur cds that one can borrow, and I would look into something like that. I really like Pimsleur.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 09:14 AM
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I agree with grandmere. We took a trip to France for seven weeks about 3 years ago and I wanted to brush up on my "travelers" French. I'd only had French 2 years in high school. So I got the Pimsleur CDs at my local library and it helped a lot.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Hi IN,

How fluent do you feel you need to be?

Will you be carrying on conversations about the local soccer team or asking where the toilet is?

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Old May 21st, 2012, 09:35 AM
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Dropping $200+ and the time investment needed seems a bit much.

There are other techniques for learning as much as you need to of another language for travel. Check out deconstructing language on www.fourhourblog.com for some tips that could be useful.

I've traveled to various countries with no knowledge of the language and never had a problem communicating nor suffered resentment from others due to my ignorance.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 09:47 AM
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Even a year of assiduous study with Rosetta Stone or anything else isn't going to get you close to fluency, but you can certainly make strides and feel more confident. I probably wouldn't invest in something that expensive when there are no-cost online alternatives, though, like BBC.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Ok, you've convinced me that there are cheaper alternatives to learn basic "travel" communication in France! Just want to work on basic skills. Will use basic travel cd from barnes and nobles rather than $159 Rosetta Stone. Thanks
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Old May 21st, 2012, 10:58 AM
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@italynovice, I invested in Rosetta Stone for my previous trip to France, but I have always wanted to learn french and never had an opportunity to take formal classes other than a year of basic French in college.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:04 AM
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Ira. I always try to learn how to say where is the toilet in every country that I visit.
It is one of THE important phrases!
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:13 AM
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Sher, the trouble with asking for the toilet in the native language can be problematic: the natives will ANSWER you in the native language, often at a very rapid speed and you may not catch what they are saying or any colloquial phrases they may use.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Was it interesting in terms of teaching style?
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:27 AM
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Sher, the trouble with asking for the toilet in the native language can be problematic: the natives will ANSWER you in the native language, often at a very rapid speed and you may not catch what they are saying or any colloquial phrases they may use.

Ding! Short of a real, dedicated effort to develop some fluency, I fail to see much need to learn anything more than "excuse me", "thank you", and "do you speak English".
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:31 AM
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Sometimes they take pity on you and point for directions.
I find them to try to be helpful even if your language skills are terrible, which mine are I am afraid.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:33 AM
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In my opinion is not the type of software that will help but whether or not you will be able to use the language. As with most new things learning comes by doing.
I took an immersion class in French one year that was really intense. classmates and I dedicated to calling each other and conversing in french. for a while I was actually getting pretty decent but now since I have not used the language in years, I've lost whatever I may have picked up.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 11:36 AM
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Like grandmere, I use the Pimsleur cds from the library. Free is good. For a tourist, they are good enough and I like how when a new word is introduced, the pronunciation is broken down. I also like how the lessons are short enough at about 1/2 hour each to fit into my commute.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:09 PM
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If you enter Rosetta Stone vs. Pimsleur into search engines, you will find several discourses of people what area each is good at. I am in Pimsleur camp for the same reason many noted that it gives good sense of how to construct phrases and far more convenient than the Rosetta Stone, because you don't need a computer. As other mentioned, I used library's Pimsleur collection to minimize the expenses.

Whether it "worth" depends on a context. If you define "worth" to mean this trip only, your return from your study would be limited. If you use this as a springboard to further your study in French or other languages, this gives you an incentive to go over the initial hurdle and you get more leverage towards your life long learning process.

One does not require fluency to benefit from speaking the language, and therefore I feel it is irrelevant for casual visitors. I had a priceless experience in a town in French Alps. I wanted to pickup some sandwiches in town to for the train trip. As I walked to the sandwich counter, a hurried American man walked up to the counter ahead of me and blurted out "Do you have water?" in English. The vendor, who probably understood what he was after but understandably put off by his abrupt behavior, answered "Combien de bouteilles?" The American got exasperated and said "Do you have small water?" To which the vendor repeated his question in French.
- "Three bottles, how much?",
= "Quatre-cinquante"
- grumble, grumble, trying to guess how much, hands him 5€
As the American left the counter, the vendor stared at the man with disgust and turned around with smile when I walked up and said "Bonjour monsieur."
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Old May 21st, 2012, 12:27 PM
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As the American left the counter, the vendor stared at the man with disgust and turned around with smile when I walked up and said "Bonjour monsieur."

I'd suggest the vendor find a profession that doesn't involve customer service.

I mean, you didn't recount that story as a reason to learn a language, did you? To prevent getting the stink eye from some snippy shopkeeper? Most people, most places, generally seek to help people out. Given the plethora of opportunities to deal with such people, it seems much easier to simply move on to the next vendor.
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