#1 Posted by Olqavtoras (231 posts) -

So I've been thinking about trying to learn japanese for some years now, looking at various ways to do so. Lately I've been thinking about buying a copy of Rosetta Stone, but since it's kinda pricey I want to be sure it's worth it.

Anyone here who has experience with Rosetta Stone? I guess the software is similar for every available language, so I would love the hear some thoughts about it even if it wasn't the japanese version.

Thanks!

#2 Edited by Mechanical_Ape (264 posts) -

I've learned a few languages (fluent in Japanese, partially fluent in Russian, and I know enough French to hold a conversation). I've only played around with Rosetta Stone for about an hour, but personally I don't think it's very good. It seems to be geared towards learning phrases and sentences but it doesn't actually explain how the grammar works or how to build your own sentences. It also doesn't teach you how to read Hiragana or Katakana, which should definitely be the very first thing you learn if you want to learn Japanese. It really feels like a program that was developed for languages similar to English and it falls short when it tries to do languages that are completely different.

I guess it ultimately depends on your goals. If you want to have a conversational level proficiency, I think Rosetta Stone could work. If you want to really understand the language and become fluent, you'll need to go beyond what it teaches you though. I should probably point out that I used the software after I was already fluent, so my experience with it isn't exactly as yours would be.

#3 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

If you want to learn Japanese I would recommend you "Minna no Nihongo". IT is a complete series we use at our University. It maybe a bit pricey but it is really useful to get the whole thing. The grammar book is really helpful and you also a workbook and also a Kanjj book and audio CD for the first "lesson"

#4 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Am I gonna be the only person to recommend just Googling shit?

#5 Edited by CaLe (4039 posts) -

My sister used it for French. She said it's good for learning some common phrases and practicing pronunciation, but not much else because it doesn't go very deep. Sounds like a typical one-stop language course to me. They aren't worth the money.

@video_game_king:

思わず大便楽しそう ∥WC∥ヽ(・∀・`o)。。。 チョイシツレイ…

#6 Edited by nevalis (82 posts) -

I used it a bit for German. I think the concept behind Rosetta Stone is teaching grammar through lots of simple phrases and assuming you'll figure it out, which obviously doesn't explain the nuances of a language and means you'll plateau sooner than later.

It's definitely nice as a supplemental learning tool, but isn't a one-stop shop for becoming fluent in a language.

#7 Posted by CustomOtto (496 posts) -

Rosetta Stone is a good resource when coupled with a language class. Alone, it's not very useful at all. Spend that money on an introductory Japanese course instead (assuming you have the time) and you'll learn a lot more.

#8 Posted by mikey87144 (1811 posts) -

I keep seeing ads for something called the Pimsleur Quick & Simple Language thing. It costs $10 for the first month and $60+ a month for each new lesson. It's not phrase based from what I saw of it.

#9 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

I keep seeing ads for something called the Pimsleur Quick & Simple Language thing.

It works better as an insomnia cure than as a language learning resource.

#10 Edited by Petiew (1354 posts) -

Rosetta Stone is really expensive and I've heard it's especially bad for learning Japanese. You can learn more efficiently from a textbook or from free online sources.

頑張って!

#11 Posted by MB (12911 posts) -

I've heard from others that it is extremely difficult to learn languages using Rosetta Stone that don't share a common alphabet with your native language. I actually looked into the Japanese R/S awhile back and I decided against it because it looked unimaginably difficult...and this is coming from someone who already speaks multiple languages.


Moderator
#12 Posted by Droop (1916 posts) -

If anything I think Rosetta Stone would be a good companion piece for additional Japanese learning. Mechanical_Ape pretty much nailed the answer. It doesn't seem to teach much grammar and definitely nothing about reading. (Speaking from ~2 experience)

#13 Edited by CustomOtto (496 posts) -

@nevalis said:

I used it a bit for German. I think the concept behind Rosetta Stone is teaching grammar through lots of simple phrases and assuming you'll figure it out, which obviously doesn't explain the nuances of a language and means you'll plateau sooner than later.

It's definitely nice as a supplemental learning tool, but isn't a one-stop shop for becoming fluent in a language.

This is pretty accurate, by the way. Rosetta Stone's whole "thing" is that you're supposed to learn a language like a child learns, except you're not actually a child. When you learn a second language it's inevitable that you're going to compare it to your first language, and you're going to make false assumptions because of that. RS makes no effort to clear any of that up. It tells you how something is said but not why, so you don't have the tools to piece together new phrases.

#14 Posted by Mooshu (486 posts) -

Namasensei.

Seriously. Google him.

#15 Posted by Pepsiman (2488 posts) -

I like how this has already basically become the communal thread for JapanGAFGB to come congregate and mingle with one another. I agree with the others in this thread; RS might be okay in the beginning stages for a language that has a bit more in common with English, but I personally wouldn't trust it to be much more effective with Japanese than your average tour guide book, maybe slightly more so because it'd give you phonetic help at least. It's not to say that Japanese isn't doable by self-study in general, but it's definitely a language where getting some more personalized training from either a teacher or tutor will go a long way to helping you overcome a lot of the humps down the road, doubly so if this is your first language you're seriously thinking of diving into. The one really good thing that Rosetta Stone has going for it is that it runs a pretty popular free language exchange site that has both text and audio chat rooms; I found that to be a really good resource for getting me connected with native speakers earlier on when I hadn't lived there yet and just desperately needed to talk with other people who knew what they were doing with the language. That's obviously not really worth fretting about right now in the pre-beginning stages, but it is a nice silver lining nonetheless.

#16 Posted by joshwent (2323 posts) -

Basically, what others have said. Rosetta Stone is great for quickly learning very basic conversational language, but it pretty much stops there. And you'll get a good amount of rudimentary vocab, but not the ability to form it into sentences correctly.

Also, considering Japanese uses 3 alphabets different than our own, you'll probably want to study some of that, and you'll get none of it from Rosetta Stone.

If you just search "learning Japanese" on YouTube, there are tons of folks (many westerners actually living in Japan) that talk about the various ways they learned/taught themselves. You can get a good range of experiences through them and see what might work for you.

One other bit of advice is that immersion is incredibly helpful learning any language, so find an Anime or a show in Japanese that has a ton of episodes, and just start watching it in Japanese with no English subtitles while you're learning. Music in Japanese is good too. You'll be amazed at the things you start to pick up on, and it's also a solid way to check your pronunciation against native speakers.

Good Luck!

#17 Posted by edsone (269 posts) -

@olqavtoras: I don't know about Rosetta Stone but at some point you should consider proper classes, with a Japanese teacher if possible. I usually learn stuff by myself but you do get some bad habits with Japanese. There's a lot of subtlety and nuances ton the language. Also, when you do get around the kanji make sure you write them correctly, drawing them in the right order and all. Don't be lazy, check how to write them even if you are almost sure. Get the basics right even if it takes longer because it helps in the long run. Practise makes it perfect. Also, don't give up, it WILL take a very long time to learn Japanese.

@darji said:

If you want to learn Japanese I would recommend you "Minna no Nihongo". IT is a complete series we use at our University. It maybe a bit pricey but it is really useful to get the whole thing. The grammar book is really helpful and you also a workbook and also a Kanjj book and audio CD for the first "lesson"

most people use Minna no Nihongo I guess :p Maybe because you can also find in a few different languages, not only English.

There're some weird translations but I can't remember one at the moment some some made me laugh pretty hard. Overall I'd recommend Minna no Nihongo.

Now, about the kanji book. In my opinion is kinda disappointing. I don't like it. Thankfully my sensei said I could ignore it (since I already knew them).

#18 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@edsone said:

Also, when you do get around the kanji make sure you write them correctly, drawing them in the right order and all. Don't be lazy, check how to write them even if you are almost sure.

Yes and no? I'd recommend learning kanji in terms of radicals, honestly. Once you figure out how to look at kanji in terms of their components, you can pretty much wing it when it comes to writing them down.

#19 Edited by ShaggE (6625 posts) -

I'm using it now, and I'm not going to bother continuing. I'm sure it's fine for learning simple phrases, but this is no way to learn a language like Japanese.

It's probably great for "simpler" languages, though. Spanish would probably be a breeze.

Online
#20 Edited by edsone (269 posts) -

@video_game_king: I agree about the radicals. they help a lot. However, I do believe you should learn some basic ones first. At least those from jlpt n5. About the stroke order you get the hang of it eventually but there're some tricky ones that you might think you know but you don't when you're a beginner. A very early example would be 左 and 右. The first 2 strokes seem the same at first but they're not. Also, computer fonts might make you write differently like 冷.

Now, if you're feeling very confident after a while it's pretty easy. I did this myself so I can't say too much. Since I'm good at memorizing (pretty much the only thing I can consider myself good at) I can usually learn a kanji and its yomi by seeing them once or a few times. but I did make sure to practise to no end the first 80. Since, bad habits are common I was only at ease when my sensei noticed and asked me to write down a couple of words she said. Thankfully she was satisfied with the result. I thought my classmates were going to kill me when she said I didn't have to do kanji homework anymore haha

Edit: just remembered another simple example: 叫 and 収.The right part of 叫 is pretty much the same as the left part of 収 but they have different number of strokes and are written differently. So much for being seemingly the same! That's another good reason to double check.

#21 Posted by CustomOtto (496 posts) -

@shagge said:

I'm using it now, and I'm not going to bother continuing. I'm sure it's fine for learning simple phrases, but this is no way to learn a language like Japanese.

It's probably great for "simpler" languages, though. Spanish would probably be a breeze.

It is not very good for Spanish.

#22 Posted by GnaTSoL (836 posts) -

I've learned a few languages (fluent in Japanese, partially fluent in Russian, and I know enough French to hold a conversation). I've only played around with Rosetta Stone for about an hour, but personally I don't think it's very good. It seems to be geared towards learning phrases and sentences but it doesn't actually explain how the grammar works or how to build your own sentences. It also doesn't teach you how to read Hiragana or Katakana, which should definitely be the very first thing you learn if you want to learn Japanese. It really feels like a program that was developed for languages similar to English and it falls short when it tries to do languages that are completely different.

I guess it ultimately depends on your goals. If you want to have a conversational level proficiency, I think Rosetta Stone could work. If you want to really understand the language and become fluent, you'll need to go beyond what it teaches you though. I should probably point out that I used the software after I was already fluent, so my experience with it isn't exactly as yours would be.

How did you learn Japanese?

#23 Edited by ShaggE (6625 posts) -

@customotto said:

@shagge said:

I'm using it now, and I'm not going to bother continuing. I'm sure it's fine for learning simple phrases, but this is no way to learn a language like Japanese.

It's probably great for "simpler" languages, though. Spanish would probably be a breeze.

It is not very good for Spanish.

Ouch, really? Man... if it can't do Spanish well, I have to wonder if ANY languages work well with Rosetta. I mean, the concept behind it seems sound enough.

Maybe Ubisoft should do a Rocksmith spinoff called "Talksmith", wherein, instead of songs, you speak along to foreign language books... or something. Maybe not.

Online
#24 Posted by Krullban (1062 posts) -

I don't recommend it. It's pretty bad. I learned Korean by using the internet and just talking with Korean people.

#25 Posted by Mechanical_Ape (264 posts) -

@gnatsol: I started learning Japanese by teaching myself while in high school. I also took two year of it in college since I needed it for my degree but most of my progress came from teaching myself since I was already ahead of the classes by the time I took them. After learning so many languages I've developed a system that works well for me. I think that's very important if you plan on learning a language - try different things and figure out what works best for you since everyone learns in different ways.

#26 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@edsone said:

@olqavtoras: I don't know about Rosetta Stone but at some point you should consider proper classes, with a Japanese teacher if possible. I usually learn stuff by myself but you do get some bad habits with Japanese. There's a lot of subtlety and nuances ton the language. Also, when you do get around the kanji make sure you write them correctly, drawing them in the right order and all. Don't be lazy, check how to write them even if you are almost sure. Get the basics right even if it takes longer because it helps in the long run. Practise makes it perfect. Also, don't give up, it WILL take a very long time to learn Japanese.

@darji said:

If you want to learn Japanese I would recommend you "Minna no Nihongo". IT is a complete series we use at our University. It maybe a bit pricey but it is really useful to get the whole thing. The grammar book is really helpful and you also a workbook and also a Kanjj book and audio CD for the first "lesson"

most people use Minna no Nihongo I guess :p Maybe because you can also find in a few different languages, not only English.

There're some weird translations but I can't remember one at the moment some some made me laugh pretty hard. Overall I'd recommend Minna no Nihongo.

Now, about the kanji book. In my opinion is kinda disappointing. I don't like it. Thankfully my sensei said I could ignore it (since I already knew them).

Yeah the Kanji book is kind of weak. That is why I bought flashcards which also show the stroke order etc. Overall the Minna no Nihongo stuff is pretty great for the beginning

#27 Posted by Giantstalker (1708 posts) -

I tried using Rosetta Stone for learning French once.

Basically, I'm pretty sure now that I'll only ever speak English for the rest of my life.

#28 Posted by ITS_A_SECRET_TO_EVERYBODY (22 posts) -

Absolutely not worth the money. For something that amounts to a flash card drill program using stock photos, they have incredible nerve to charge what they do. They're only a big name in language learning because they got in on the interactive angle relatively early. You're much better off checking out any number of Japanese study apps for iOS or Android.

#29 Posted by Olqavtoras (231 posts) -

Wow, so many answers! Good thing I asked before I bought it, looks like it's not worth it. Thanks duders!