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

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May 23rd, 2012, 11:13 AM
  #41
Doh
 
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I have used "before you know it" (byki.com)-- I think usually there is some free material, and then more available cheaply (say, $10-20). I like to try to learn a little wherever we are going and usually find it pays off-- whether through greater friendliness and helpfulness from others, or less helplessness.

FYI, for France you might consider getting a glossary or app that covers food items as you could have years of French and still be at sea with many menus (escargo was a great app for us).
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May 23rd, 2012, 11:21 AM
  #42
 
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wow! @ travelgourmet - I disagree that learning basic language to travel is ? impractical? I live overseas and people in every country I have been to are nicer, and sometimes giddily delighted when I manage a few words in their language. Please, Thank You, Yes, No, Left, Right, How Are You, Good Morning, Un Choclat Croissant Sil Vous Plait, are absolutely essential in my humble opinion. I can totally relate to Greg's story of the rude man who wanted water. And why should the seller of water change careers? Because he doesn't feel like being subservient to please a few rude customers? You're having a laugh!
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May 23rd, 2012, 11:47 AM
  #43
 
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I live overseas and people in every country I have been to are nicer, and sometimes giddily delighted when I manage a few words in their language.

I live overseas, too. I don't have any complaints about how nice the people are, even when I speak in English.

And why should the seller of water change careers? Because he doesn't feel like being subservient to please a few rude customers?

Why should he change careers? Because he doesn't seem to enjoy his current one. Getting snippy because a potential customer doesn't speak your language? That isn't about not wanting to be subservient, but rather about being a grump. FWIW, I take the same dim view of American service personnel that complain when foreign tourists don't speak English.

You're having a laugh!

I freely admit that I chuckle at the idea that "learning" a language for a vacation is of much value.
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May 23rd, 2012, 06:47 PM
  #44
 
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"Can one ever learn too much?"

I must have, I keep forgetting the day to day stuff I need to remember. Since the reason can't be old age it must be that the tank is full!
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May 23rd, 2012, 07:25 PM
  #45
 
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I used to try and learn the basics of the local language but whoa ... was I a slow learner. So now the one phrase I perfect in the local language is "Do you speak English or French?"

We (the family) also learn to count to ten and order drinks with no ice. But under pressure I think we screw those up too.
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May 24th, 2012, 09:22 AM
  #46
 
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In a French bakery in Versailles on our first trip to France I tried to ask for a pastry in the local language. The nervous clerk thought I was speaking English, so she answered me in what she thought was English, but I thought was French. The other clerk came to our rescue and she said to the first clerk, "You need to practice your English".
Of course we all had a good laugh and I got my pastry.

The point is that we all need to make some effort, after all we live in a social world and not everyone yet speaks "american".
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May 24th, 2012, 09:59 AM
  #47
 
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Ziggypop good point!
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May 24th, 2012, 12:34 PM
  #48
 
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I've been very happy using a language website/social network called Livemocha. (I found out about it via Groupon). The cost is very reasonable, especially for short term access. You do lessons, and part of each lesson is a writing assignment, and a speaking assignment. You are reviewed either by an expert (you get so many expert reviews depending on the plan you've chosen)or you get reviews from native speakers.

To get more 'points' for expert reviews, I've reviewed things for people taking English classes.

I used it to brush up on my German last year when we went to Switzerland and Germany, and I've used it recently to brush up on my French.

Their videos are very good - I particularly like the fact that the actors are speaking at a real pace, what you'll hear when you're there. You can look at English transcripts or French transcripts.

I never bought Rosetta Stone because of the cost. I used to use the free lessons on the BBC site (don't know if they're still there), but Livemocha has been my favorite alternative of late.

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May 25th, 2012, 12:02 AM
  #49
 
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well it's gotten harder to remember words as I've gotten older for sure Zig, but learning a few phrases is a bit less arrogant than expecting someone in every country in the world will speak some version of English for you. Of course, in the end, that may be what we rely upon, but it shows a slight appreciation for the culture you plan to visit or live with if you learn a few things with the best pronunciation you can muster. If you can't be bothered, that is rather contemptuous.
Locals pick up on that right away, as did the water seller.
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May 25th, 2012, 07:11 AM
  #50
 
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+1 for Live Mocha (also introduced to it via Groupon). I know there are other language sites out there which give feedback on pronunciation - that's the best feature of LM, imo.

I'm with most everyone else in learning a few words/phrases, no matter where I go, no matter for how long. I love languages so I enjoy doing that and consider it part of the planning, which I also love to do.

Somewhat OT, but related. Everyone loves hearing their native language, particularly when it's not expected. A few weeks ago in NYC, I met a friend's new boyfriend for the first time. When it was time to toast, I looked him in the eye and said "Cheers" in Polish (he was born and raised in Poland), which is one of few words I picked up from my father. OMG, his eyes lit up, his whole face lit up. Just that one word made him so happy. Not the same as what we're talking about, I know...
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May 25th, 2012, 12:02 PM
  #51
 
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I remember 5 years ago, when we were in Nice, I went into a Mephisto store (they're SO much cheaper there), and if that saleswoman knew any English, she wasn't letting on. I pointed to the pair of sandals I wanted, told her I wanted the green color, size 36. They fit, I payed, said thank you and goodbye. I don't know if I was happier that I snagged the shoes I wanted or that I managed the whole affair in French!

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May 31st, 2012, 05:31 AM
  #52
 
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I guess the serving guy was more put out by the tourist's grumpy attitude than by the language he was speaking.
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May 31st, 2012, 12:22 PM
  #53
 
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YankyGal, I love toasting with people from other countries in their native language. It always adds a level of conviviality.
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May 31st, 2012, 01:11 PM
  #54
 
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the effort will definitely be appreiciated but it was very frustrating when the person i was talking to would switch over to English. I spent over 9 months learning rudimentary French
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May 31st, 2012, 01:25 PM
  #55
 
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I love toasting with people from other countries in their native language. It always adds a level of conviviality.

Learning "cheers" in multiple languages is trivia, not actual learning. I can do it in at least 10 languages, and I don't even try.
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