PROS / This software has you interact with other learners and language coaches from around the world. It also includes mobile apps for your smartphone or tablet and comes with a USB headset.
CONS / The lessons do not offer any explanations for grammar rules or vocabulary definitions, and the online features are only free for three months.
VERDICT / Rosetta Stone German: Level 1 is a good language immersion program that helps you think and speak in German from day one.
Rosetta Stone is well known in the language learning business and has helped people learn languages through its interactive lessons and dynamic immersion method for over 20 years. This learn German software offers you lessons in basic German and includes access to the Rosetta Stone TOTALe online community where you can interact with language coaches and fellow students.
Rosetta Stone covers a lot of basics you will need to communicate effectively in German. Right from the first lesson you are taught essential vocabulary and phrases to increase your understanding of the language. The included USB headset allows the program to analyze your speech while you learn, giving you immediate feedback about your pronunciation and intonation. While the core lessons include grammar exercises, they don't explain why you should use “das” instead of “die” when you are referring to certain people or things. It would be helpful to have some explanation at the end of a lesson or even as a side learning activity.
Rosetta Stone German utilizes multiple learning activities and teaching tools to help you learn German. The center of the software is the Rosetta Course. Each Rosetta Course is divided up into units, and each unit contains four core lessons, a few focused activities and a milestone. The core lesson is where you learn and practice the vocabulary and phrases.
In these lessons you are presented with four image panels that you match to the right vocabulary word or phrase. Each lesson has alternating male and female narration for each of the words and phrases, and you can press the audio button at any time to have a phrase repeated. There are various exercises to help ingrain the language into your mind, and we are impressed that Rosetta Stone immerses you into the German language, instead of using English to teach. This approach may seem a bit intimidating, but because Rosetta Stone uses images along with the audio learning, you can easily associate the meanings of words and commit them to memory.
Rosetta Stone German doesn’t require you to memorize lengthy vocabulary lists but relies on varied repetition and focused activities to enhance your retention. While you progress in the lesson you will switch to a different style of activity with the same phrases and words. You start with the core lesson introducing the words, then you are taken to the vocabulary focus where you are required to use the new vocabulary to correctly identify the corresponding images.
Grammar is then reinforced with emphasis on the definite articles – der, die and das. You are given a choice of definite articles in a dropdown menu. After grammar lessons there are reading exercises that are similar to the previous vocabulary focus. The final focus activity is writing. This exercise is effective in helping you commit the spelling of words to memory. Rosetta Stone has incorporated an in-program keyboard so you can enter special German characters.
When you finish a unit, you reach a milestone. This is a practice session that gets you ready for a live interactive session you attend online with a language coach and up to three fellow German language learners. The language coaches are native German speakers, and while they are visible on your screen, they will only hear your voice. So it’s alright to do the live sessions in your pajamas. You can take up to four live sessions a month. They last about 25 minutes and are available at all hours, day or night.
Rosetta Stone German keeps track of your progress with a stamp reward system. The stamps look like postage stamps from different places in Germany. Each stamp represents your passing off a section, like participating in a live session with a coach or playing a learning game with another student online. This is a fun way to track how you are progressing and is more interesting to look at than a pie chart.
This software comes with a three-month subscription to all TOTALe online features such as the live coach sessions, the interactive games and the iPad Rosetta Course function. Unfortunately, you will have to pay an additional fee to keep the extra features of this program beyond the three months, but the Rosetta Course core program is always accessible regardless.
You can install Rosetta Stone German on up to two computers with five unique users on each device. This makes it possible for multiple learners to progress at their own pace. You also get the accompanying audio CD to complement your German studies. These CDs can be played in your car or you can send the audio files to your MP3 player so you can study on the go.
Rosetta Stone has responsive customer service. You can reach representatives by phone or email with any questions or concerns you may have with the program. There is also a 30-day money back trial period on products purchased directly from the company website.
If you need to learn to speak German, and you learn well visually, then Rosetta Stone German: Level 1 is a great choice. You can effectively begin to learn and commit the language to memory by using this software, but it is unfortunate that the online subscription does not last longer. Rosetta Stone is a reputable learn German software program and is worth checking out.