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 (http://www.rosettastone.com/global/press/news-20071203-rs) 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 rosettastone.com.Rosetta 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.