Rosetta Stone is language-learning software produced by Rosetta Stone, Ltd. Its title is an allusion to the Rosetta Stone, an artifact inscribed in multiple languages that helped researchers to decipher Ancient Egyptian by comparing it to the Greek inscription.

The Rosetta Stone software utilizes a combination of images, text, and sound, with difficulty levels increasing as the student progresses, in order to teach various vocabulary terms and grammatical functions intuitively, without drills or translation. Their award-winning method is called the Dynamic Immersion method. The goal is to teach languages the way first languages are learned.


Instruction takes the form of a unit of lessons consisting of ten groups (more in some of the later units of Level I) of four images each, with an associated word or sentence both written and spoken aloud by a native speaker of the language, except for those languages that are no longer spoken natively, such as Latin. Lesson topics range from grammatical concepts such as verb tense or mood to specific topics such as colors, hot and cold and associated words or the use of money.Within each lesson there are sets of exercises testing listening, reading, and speaking (for which the computer must have a microphone). For languages using the Latin alphabet, there are also writing exercises. The writing exercises for non-Latin scripts use a substitute, on-screen keyboard. All sets except reading and speaking offer four exercises each; there are two reading exercises and one speaking exercise. They are identified by the software as A, B, C, D and E.The user is offered either text, sound or image (and later, video), to match against four possibilities. With a mark and/or sound chosen by the reader from the preferences menu, the program indicates whether the right or wrong choice was selected. A score from 0 to 100 is kept; it is visible during the exercise in practice mode but not in test mode. The first choice in a group of images nets four points for a correct answer, the second three, the third two and the last one.In all units, the last lesson is a review of the previous lessons, with each predecessor represented by one group of images. There are no formal grammar guides or instructions included with the software. The only documentation is a manual with written versions of the phrases and a word index.


U.S. Military/U.S. Government

The United States Army began offering a free, online version of Rosetta Stone software to its personnel in November 2005. In December 2007 they began offering a special Military version of Arabic ( in order to help troops deploying to the Middle East learn faster the skills needed for conversations and phrases important in a military situation.The United States Air Force also offers a similar version to company grade officers. The U.S. Department of Homeland Securityoffers levels one through three to Special Agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.



Rosetta Stone has won a number of awards from software magazines and associations concerned with language learning such as textbook publishers and homeschooling magazines, amongst them the Gold Awards for Best CD-ROMs Used in School and Best CD-ROM for Language Learning i-Magic Awards in 1996 and the Best Software in Second Language Foreign Language Learning Program annual awards by ComputED magazine in 1994 and 1996.



The latest version is currently version 3. Not all the languages are available in that version and some of them are still in version 2. The version appears on the exterior of retail packages and this information is apparent through their Web site Macworld had reviewed version 3.0 several months earlier. A demonstration is available at Stone version 3 software has a built-in feature to download and install upgrades from the online Web site. Newer versions have featured a larger interface, new functionalities, improved learning experience and better-quality pictures than their predecessors.

The Michel Thomas Method is an original method developed by Michel Thomas for teaching languages. Thomas stated that his students would be conversationally proficient after a few days’ study.

Thomas was hired by Raquel WelchBarbra StreisandEmma ThompsonWoody Allen and by Grace Kelly when she had to learn French rapidly after becoming engaged to Prince Rainier of Monaco. Towards the end of his life he recorded audio versions of his courses that were especially popular in Britain.


With Thomas’s method, the teacher cautions students to avoid making notes and to refrain from making conscious attempts to memorise, promising that the teacher will “be taking full responsibility” for their learning. Thomas stated that keeping the students relaxed and entertained is a central focus of the method.The teacher then introduces short words and phrases in the target language. The students are asked to translate English sentences into the target language, starting with trivially simple sentences and gradually building up to more advanced constructions. When a student gives a correct answer, the teacher repeats the whole sentence with correct pronunciation. When the student’s answer is wrong, the teacher assists the student to understand their mistake and to correct it. The most important words and phrases are reviewed several times during the course.The teaching focuses on modal verb constructions such as “I want to go”, and pronouns, so that students do not need to memorise the many nouns and adjectives of the language. Grammar rules are introduced gradually, and grammatical terminology is avoided. In this way the students are, at an early stage, able to translate a sentence as complex as “I want to know why you don’t have it for me now, because it is very important for me and I need it”.The teacher often exploits the shared linguistic heritage of the two languages to teach new vocabulary.

A book describing the method in detail called “Michel Thomas: The Learning Revolution” by Jonathan Solity is due to be released in January 2008. The method received a US Patent in 2003.

This approach was adapted to tape and CD by recording a course with two students. The listener then attempts to translate the phrase on the tape before the student in the recording does, pausing the tape and rewinding as necessary.

The Pimsleur language learning system is a language acquisition method developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur. The system is centered around four main ideas: Anticipation, Graduated Interval Recall, Core Vocabulary, and Organic Learning.

The Pimsleur method is an audio-based system, in which the listener constructs phrases or repeats from memory out loud along with a recording. The system is made up of 30 minute lessons, which are repeated until 70-80% comprehension is attained, at which point he or she may continue to the next lesson. As the lessons repeat themselves and add new material, the system does not demand complete mastery of the material, since the material is reviewed at varying intervals throughout the course.


  • The student listens to a recording on which a native speaker speaks phrases in both the foreign language and the language used for teaching (usually English).
  • At varying intervals, the student is prompted to repeat a phrase after the speaker finishes it
  • The student is then introduced to a new phrase and the meaning is explained
  • After repeating several times, the student is asked to repeat a previous phrase, but integrating vocabulary from the new one.
  • More new phrases are introduced, while old phrases are prompted at random. The random recall is intended to associate words with meanings.

Pimsleur Learning Principles

Dr. Paul Pimsleur developed his system using four principles he regarded as important to forming memory associations and language recall.


Language courses commonly require a student to repeat after an instructor, which Pimsleur believed was a passive way of learning. Pimsleur developed a “challenge and response” technique, where a student was prompted to translate a phrase into the target language, which was then confirmed. This technique was thought to be a more active way of learning, requiring the student to think before responding. Pimsleur thought that the principle of anticipation reflected real life conversations where a speaker must recall a phrase quickly.

Graduated Interval Recall

Graduated Interval Recall is a method of reviewing learned vocabulary by having students rapidly recall learned material and then gradually reviewing the material at increasing intervals. It is a version of retention through spaced repetition. For example, if a student learns the word deux (French for two), then it is tested every few seconds in the beginning, then every few minutes, then every few hours, and then every few days. The goal of this spaced recall is to help the student to move vocabulary from short-term into long-term memory.

Pimsleur’s 1967 memory schedule was as follows: 5 seconds, 25 seconds, 2 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 5 hours, 1 day, 5 days, 25 days, 4 months, 2 years.

Core Vocabulary

The Pimsleur method focuses on teaching commonly used words in hopes that this will lead to a comprehensive understanding of a “core vocabulary”, but leaving the students breadth of vocabulary somewhat limited. Word-frequency text analyses indicate that a relatively small core vocabulary accounts for the majority of words spoken in a particular language. For example, in English, a set of 2000 words composes about 80% of the total printed words. In other words, an understanding of these 2000 words would lead to approximately an 80% word comprehension rate.

The number of words needed to comprehend varies from language to language. For example, data for Indian languages in the CIIL corpus show the number of words required for 50% coverage varies from 199 words in Hindi to 7,699 in Malayalam, while 80% coverage for those languages is 2,874 and 126,344 respectively.

The Pimsleur method teaches almost no grammar, instead leaving the student to infer the grammar through common patterns and phrases.

Organic Learning

The program uses an audio format because Dr. Pimsleur believed that students of languages would learn better with their ears, as opposed to traditional written formats. Dr. Pimsleur called this “organic learning,” which entails studying grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation simultaneously. Learning by listening is also intended to teach the proper accent, which cannot be learned through written material.


Paul Nation’s comprehensive review of vocabulary learning, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, concluded that Pimsleur’s “memory schedule” has been validated by research subsequent to Pimsleur’s seminal paper. According to Nation’s summary of the research, “effective retention of vocabulary requires a certain amount of repetition over spaced intervals”.

Mandarin (traditional Chinese: 官話; simplified Chinese: 官话; pinyin: Guānhuà; literally “speech of officials”), or Beifanghua (simplified Chinese: 北方话; traditional Chinese: 北方話; pinyin: Běifānghuà; literally “Northern Dialect(s)”), is a category of related Chinese dialects spoken across most of northern and south-western China. When taken as a separate language, as is often done in academic literature, the Mandarin dialects have more speakers than any other language.

In English, Mandarin can refer to either of two distinct concepts:

  • to Standard Chinese or Standard Mandarin (Putonghua/Guoyu/Huayu/Hanyu), which is based on the particular Mandarin dialect spoken in Beijing. Standard Mandarin functions as the official spoken language of the People’s Republic of China, the official language of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and one of the four official languages of Singapore. ‘Chinese’ — in practice Standard Mandarin — is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.
  • to all of the Mandarin dialects spoken in northern and south-western China. This group of dialects is the focus of this article.

In everyday use, Mandarin refers usually to just Standard Mandarin (Putonghua/Guoyu). In its broader sense, Mandarin is a diverse group of related dialects, some less mutually intelligible than others. It is a grouping defined and used mainly by linguists, and is not commonly used outside of academic circles as a self-description. Instead, when asked to describe the spoken form they are using, Chinese speaking a form of non-Standard Mandarin will describe the variant that they are speaking, for example Sichuan dialect or Northeast China dialect, and consider it distinct from ‘Standard Mandarin’ (putonghua); they may not recognize that it is in fact classified by linguists as a form of ‘Mandarin’ in a broader sense. Nor is there a common ‘Mandarin’ identity based on language; rather, there are strong regional identities centred on individual dialects, because of the wide geographical distribution and cultural diversity of its speakers. Moreover, it is of note that despite its wide use in the Occident, most native Mandarin speakers are reluctant to recognize the term ‘Mandarin’, since the word does not reflect any Chinese origin. Instead, they would rather call the language simply ‘standard Chinese’.

Like all other varieties of Chinese, there is significant dispute as to whether Mandarin is a language or a dialect. See Identification of the varieties of Chinese for more on this issue.

Official Language of: China

Total number of speakers: 870 – 1050 million

For additional information about the Chinese (Mandarin) Language, please click here.

Spanish (español) or Castilian (castellano) is a Latin-derived Romance language that originated in northern Spain, from whence it gradually spread in the Kingdom of Castile, and subsequently evolved into the principal language of government and trade. It was taken to Africa, the Americas and Asia Pacific when the Spanish Empire was established between the 15th and 19th centuries.

Today, Spanish is an official language of Spain, most Latin American countries, and Equatorial Guinea; 21 nations speak it as their primary language. Spanish also is one of six official languages of the United Nations.

Between 322 and 400 million people natively speak Spanish, making it the most spoken Romance language, and possibly the second most-spoken language by native speakers.

Mexico has the world’s largest Spanish-speaking population, and Spanish is the second most-widely spoken language in the United States, and the most popular studied foreign language in U.S. schools and universities. Spanish is among the most popular foreign languages for study in the rest of the nations of the Anglosphere besides the global use of English. The many exotic, Spanish-speaking locales attract many people to the language. Smaller numbers also learn it for potential business and employment ventures, although this is largely confined to the United States. Due to proximity, linguistic similarities, and trade reasons it is also a very popular second language in France, Italy, Portugal, and particularly the southern states of Brazil. It is estimated that the combined total of native and non-native Spanish speakers is approximately 500 million, likely making it the fourth most spoken language by total number of speakers. Global internet usage statistics for 2007 show Spanish as the third most commonly used language on the internet, after English and Chinese.

According to George Weber’s point system, Spanish is the third most influential language in the world (after English and French).

Official Language of: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela, and large portions of the populations of Andorra, Belize, Gibraltar, Trinidad and Tobago,Jamaica, and the United States.

Total number of speakers: 400 – 500 million

For additional information about the Spanish Language, please click here.

English is a West Germanic language originating in England and is the first language for most people in the Anglophone Caribbean, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States (sometimes referred to as the Anglosphere). It is used extensively as a second language and as an official language throughout the world, especially in Commonwealth countries and in many international organisations.

Modern English is sometimes described as the first global lingua franca. English is the dominant international language in communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy. The influence of the British Empire is the primary reason for the initial spread of the language far beyond the British Isles. Since World War II, the growing economic and cultural influence of the United States has significantly accelerated the adoption of English.

A working knowledge of English is required in certain fields, professions, and occupations. As a result, over a billion people speak English at least at a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). English is one of six official languages of the United Nations.

Official Language of: Most countries in the world

Total number of speakers: 0.5 – 1.8 billion

For additional information about the English Language, please click here.

Arabic (الْعَرَبيّة al-ʿarabiyyah or just عَرَبيْ ʿarabī) is the largest living member of the Semitic language family in terms of speakers. Classified as Central Semitic, it is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic, and has its roots in a Proto-Semitic common ancestor. Modern Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage with 27 sub-languages in ISO 639-3. These varieties are spoken throughout the Arab world, and Standard Arabic is widely studied and known throughout the Islamic world.

Modern Standard Arabic derives from Classical Arabic, the only surviving member of the Old North Arabian dialect group, attested epigraphically since the 6th century, which has been a literary language and the liturgical language of Islam since the 7th century.

Arabic has lent many words to other languages of the Islamic world, as Latin has contributed to most European languages. And in turn, it has also borrowed from those languages, as well as Persian and Sanskrit from early contacts with their affiliated regions. During the Middle Ages, Arabic was a major vehicle of culture, especially in science, mathematics and philosophy, with the result that many European languages have also borrowed numerous words from it, especially Spanish and Portuguese due to both the proximity of European and Arab civilization and 700 years of caliphate government in the Iberian peninsula

Official Language of: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara, Yemen by a majority; it is also the liturgical language of Islam.

Total number of speakers: 186 – 422 million

For additional information about the Japanese Language, please click here.

Russian (русский язык, transliteration: russkiy yazyk, Russian) is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia, the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages, and the largest native language in Europe. Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of three (or, according to some authorities, four) living members of the East Slavic languages, the others being Belarusian and Ukrainian (and possibly Rusyn, often considered a dialect of Ukrainian).

Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards. Today Russian is widely used outside Russia. Over a quarter of the world’s scientific literature is published in Russian. It is also applied as a means of coding and storage of universal knowledge — 60–70% of all world information is published in English and Russian languages. Russian also is a necessary accessory of world communications systems (broadcasts, air- and space communication, etc). Due to the status of the Soviet Union as a superpower, Russian had great political importance in the 20th century. Hence, the language is one of the official languages of the United Nations.

Russian distinguishes between consonant phonemes with palatal secondary articulation and those without, the so-called soft and hard sounds. This distinction is found between pairs of almost all consonants and is one of the most distinguishing features of the language. Another important aspect is the reduction of unstressed vowels, which is not entirely unlike that of English. Stress in Russian is neither indicated orthographically, nor governed by phonological rules.

Official Language of: Abkhazia (Georgia), Belarus, Crimea (de facto; Ukraine), Gagauzia (Moldova), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, South Ossetia (Georgia), Transnistria (Moldova)

Total number of speakers: 255 million

For additional information about the Japanese Language, please click here.

The German language (Deutsch) is a West Germanic language and one of the world’s major languages. German is closely related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. Around the world, German is spoken by ~100 million native speakers and also ~80 million non-native speakers, and Standard German is widely taught in schools and universities in Europe.

Official Language of: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and in some border areas, Belgium and Italy as a minority language.

Total Number of Speakers: 170 million</p

For additional information about the German Language, please click here

French (français) is today spoken by about 350 million people around the world as either a native or a second language, with significant populations in 54 countries.

French is a descendant of the Latin of the Roman Empire, as are languages such as Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Catalan and Romanian. Its development was also influenced by the native Celtic languages of Roman Gaul and by the Germanic language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders.

It is an official language in 31 countries, most of which form what is called in French La Francophonie, the community of French-speaking nations. It is an official language of all United Nations agencies and a large number of international organizations.

Official Language of: Africa, Europe, Americas, Pacific, isolated regions of Asia

Total number of speakers: 365 – 500 million

For additional information about the French Language, please click here