Rosetta Stone Japanese review

When people think of language learning, Rosetta Stone usually comes into mind.  You can’t even walk through most malls without passing a Rosetta Stone kiosk.  The yellow Rosetta Stone sign is everywhere at airports as well.  Although it is expensive, most serious learners will consider using Rosetta Stone as their language learning program.

What is Rosetta Stone?

Rosetta Stone is a language learning program that uses a unique teaching style that they call “immersion.”  Immersion language learning is typically done by visiting a country and immersing yourself in their language and culture by being around people speaking the language 24/7.  Rosetta Stone attempts to emulate this technique by showing you pictures and doing guess work as to what they mean by repetition.  For example, they show you a picture of a girl and they say, in Rosetta Stone Japanese, “onnanoko.”  Then, on the next slide, they will show you a picture of a boy and a girl then say “onnanoko” and expect you to click the picture of the girl.  They do this for every aspect of the language.

Sounds super awesome, right?

Wrong.  It may seem like a great learning method, but it truly does not work with Japanese.  Of course, if you spent tons of time you could get it, but it truly is not the most efficient way of learning.

Why doesn’t Rosetta Stone Japanese work?

Rosetta Stone markets their product by telling you to act like a baby when it comes to language learning.  This would work if you were an actual baby in Japan, which you are (most likely?) not.  Babies spend every second of their day immersed in their language which forces them to understand it.  I’m just going to throw this out there and assume you are not planning on spending every minute of every day using Rosetta Stone Japanese :)

With Rosetta Stone Japanese, I found myself stumped on what they were trying to tell me what some of the pictures meant, which is something they obviously didn’t count on when making it.

Why Japanese is the worst of the Rosetta Stone products

Another thing I found was that Rosetta Stone uses (practically) the same “template,” if you will, for all their languages.  This means that whether you are learning Spanish or Russian, you’re going to be going through the same exact slides and pictures of people.  The only difference is that they replace the captions for the appropriate language.

The problem with this is that Japanese is a much harder language to grasp for English users than, let’s say, Spanish would be.  Also, the Japanese language has much more rules to their learning, such as having “counters” that are attached to numbers when referring to different types of objects.

Why you should NOT just try Rosetta Stone Japanese

Just for Rosetta Stone LEVEL ONE, you are going to have to pay a hefty $200!  The complete set is about $475.  The price is not nearly worth what you get out of it.

What Rosetta Stone Japanese is good for

Rosetta Stone Japanese is great for familiarizing yourself with the language and getting pronunciation down.  I enjoy using Rosetta Stone Japanese every now and then, it is just not ideal for your only source of learning.

Rating: 6/10

It’s pretty good, just inefficient and much too costly.

What are alternatives to Rosetta Stone Japanese?

I’ll be making a post very soon about specific alternatives to Rosetta Stone Japanese, but for now, a simple recommendation I can make is to get Genki I by The Japan Times.

If you’re going to get Genki, please use the link below, as it supports the site!

Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese 1 (English and Japanese Edition)

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, pleaseee bookmark V10 Japan and come visit us again! :) -Travis V10

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  • MF

    I have heard the Chinese one is bad too. My friend who returned it said there was a lot of vocabulary in the lessons that would be totally useless for most people, like “elephant” and “soccer ball.”

  • http://nihonamor.wordpress.com/ Lvsanchez115

    I completely agree… Rosetta is a nightmare. And for those who are absolutely set on purchasing it, there is a free version of this same format at Livemocha, which is how I know that I would NEVER buy Rosetta. Blech.

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