Rosetta Stone Arabic

I finally broke down and purchased the Arabic language module from Rosetta Stone. Anybody out there already have experience with Rosetta Stone language software?

I had long considered taking Arabic in a structured way from an accredited institution, whether brick-and-mortar or at a distance, but two factors have so far conspired against me:

  • My own teaching schedule is very tight, and almost always conflicts with whatever is available.
  • Institutions of learning may as well throw up electrified fences with ground-glass ramparts, if they refuse to keep contact information up to date. Nobody can tell whether our web sites were published last week, last year, or ten years ago, and when you send emails to the contact people on our web sites, those emails drop into our Big Black Hole. (I don’t mean my own school when I say “our” and “we”: I’m talking about a culture-spanning problem.) No schools want my tuition money badly enough to keep their contact information up to date or answer an email, so Rosetta Stone gets it. And I get a six-month money-back return policy, in the bargain.

Let me know if you’ve had any experience with Rosetta Stone. It will be a few days before I dig in, but monkeying around with the thing at the store was more fun than I’ve had with language since I puzzled out my first liver omen.

(Obligatory disclaimer: I don’t work for Rosetta Stone, and they haven’t given me anything in exchange for writing about their software. They did throw in an extra headset-and-mike, which was pretty cool.)

5 Responses

  1. I mention this so often that I probably am suspected of working for them, but I highly recommend the Pimsleur language courses in general, and Arabic is no exception. There are now three levels of courses in colloquial Eastern (Levantine) Arabic. They are completely audio and do the repetition for you, and repetition is a key to learning a language.

    Reading should come later, once you actually can understand the words you are spelling out. That’s how we proceeded with our native languages, and it worked pretty well! 🙂

    That said, I did beta testing once for Rosetta Stone and found the software helpful, particularly since it works to build pictorial associations with words rather than getting you to translate into English. I’d love to know what your experience working with the software is like (I beta tested French, which I knew already, and that made it hard to evaluate the amount of learning achieved).

  2. I’m also curious what other people suggest. I tried the german rosetta stone out for a month last year, although my practicing was intermittent. Unfortunately I haven’t kept up with it, but it was pretty easy learning and doing. I don’t have any recommended habits to share though.

  3. I am in Israel right now finishing up Modern Hebrew level Bet. My wife and I bought Rosetta Stone before we came here, but we didn’t do it consistently. I think I finished lesson two, but I enjoyed the lessons that I had done, and I think it helped with moving from Biblical Hebrew to Modern Hebrew. The vocab that I learned from Rosetta Stone sticks with me better than a lot of what I have learned in class.

    I had two complaints with the program. One is that the pictures are not cultural specific. I think they use the same pictures for all the different language modules. I am a little curious how much they change the presentation from language to language. The second thing I don’t like is that they don’t present the grammar deductively, but that is not the nature of the program, and its just my preference.

    My wife has had more experience with the program, and she has been having problems with the voice recognition part of the program, it isn’t quite as good as it should be.
    I think its like any language system: put the work in and you’ll get good results.

  4. Did you check your local library? Our library in Arlington Heights has lots of different language programs that can be checked out, plus we have an online option called Mango. Also I have heard good things about the online program Byki.

  5. I just bought a three-month unlimited Rosetta Stone program from and have been enjoying its style and the feedback it provides.
    I originally wanted it for Spanish but this setup lets me look around at all of the languages and so I browsed Arabic. It looks and sounds really good to me but I don’t have anybody to practice off of.
    I tried Mango but it was a lot more “traditional” memorization style, which wasn’t what I was looking for.
    I do agree that you have to practice with it and stay consistent, otherwise it’s real easy to forget what you learned before. The software is pretty good at compensating for that, though.

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