Rosetta Stone (software)
In this screenshot of an Arabic lesson in Rosetta Stone v3, two of the photos have a description in Arabic. The student decides which of the remaining two photos matches the Arabic description at the top of the screen.
|Developer(s)||Rosetta Stone Inc.|
|Stable release||4.5.5 / 31 July 2012|
|Platform||Adobe Integrated Runtime, x86|
|Size||250 MB (approx.)
excluding language packs
|Available in||English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Korean, Mandarin, Japanese, Irish, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Greek, Hebrew, Indonesian, Latin, Pashto, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Swahili, Russian, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, Welsh|
|Type||Computer-assisted language learning|
Rosetta Stone is proprietary computer-assisted language learning (CALL) software published by Rosetta Stone Inc. The software uses images, text, sound, and video to teach words and grammar by spaced repetition, without translation. Rosetta Stone calls their approach Dynamic Immersion (a term which they have trademarked).
The software's title and logo allude to the Rosetta Stone, an ancient stone slab on which the Decree of Memphis is inscribed in three languages. The three translations gave Jean-François Champollion the insight he needed to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Dynamic Immersion 
In a Rosetta Stone exercise, the student pairs sound or text to one of several images. The number of images per screen varies.
For example, the software show the student four photographs. A native speaker makes a statement that describes one of the photographs, and the statement is printed on the screen; the student chooses the photograph that the speaker described. In another variation, the student completes a textual description of a photograph.
In writing exercises, the software provides an on-screen keyboard to make it easier to type characters that are not in the Latin alphabet.
Grammar lessons cover grammatical tense and grammatical mood. In grammar lessons, the program firstly shows the learner several examples of a gramatical concept, and in some levels the word or words the learner should focus on are highlighted. Then the learner given a sentence with several options for a word or phrase, and the student chooses the correct option.
If the student has a microphone, the software can attempt to evaluate word pronunciation.
Each lesson concludes with a review of the content in that lesson, and each unit concludes with a milestone, which is a simulated conversation that includes the content of the unit.
The program immediately informs whether the answer is right or wrong. Through the Preferences screen, the student can choose whether a sound is played or not when an answer is clicked. At the bottom of the window, the program shows all the screens for the current lesson. If all answers for that screen are correct, the button for that screen turns green. If some answers are correct, the border of the button turns green, but the screen number itself turns orange. If all answers for a screen are wrong, the button turns orange. This applies to all lessons except review and milestone lessons, which are treated as tests. In those lessons, the buttons for each screen all remain brown. In all lessons there is a button in the bottom-right of the window which can be hovered over to display how many answers are correct, wrong or have not been answered. Each time an answer is clicked, one point is given. At the end of the lesson, the total number of correct, wrong or skipped answers is shown alongside the percentage of correct answers for that lesson. If too many questions were answered incorrectly, the program suggests the learner should retry the lesson.
Software versions 
Language courses also have version numbers. The version number of the language course is distinct from the version numbering scheme of the Rosetta Stone application, and a course is only compatible with specific versions of the application. Version 4 is backward compatible with language courses developed for Version 3, but not older ones.
Version 1 
By the end of 1996, Rosetta Stone Version 1 had a selection of nine level-one language courses (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish) and four level-two courses (English, French, German, Spanish). A CD-ROM product called The Rosetta Stone PowerPac featured introductory versions of seven of the courses.
At this time, Fairfield Language Technologies had already begun development of the Arabic, Esperanto, Hebrew, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Swahili, Thai, and Vietnamese courses. Within a few months, the Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese courses were complete, and development of Latin, Polish, and Welsh courses were underway. The Latin course was the next to be completed, followed by Hebrew. In this fashion, Fairfield introduced new courses to market gradually.
Rosetta Stone Version 1 was developed for Macintosh System 6 and higher, and Windows 3.0 and higher. Later revisions of Version 1 for Macintosh required System 7. The final revision of Version 1 was v1.9.
Version 2 
At Version 2, Fairfield continued to add more language courses, but also marketed more editions of The Rosetta Stone software.
The PowerPac CD-ROM introduced in Version 1 now featured basic lessons in seven languages. One complete level of a language course was now called a Personal Edition of the software.
Because many consumers found The Rosetta Stone to be too expensive, Fairfield started a series of "Explorer" editions. An Explorer CD-ROM was a lower-cost excerpt of a Version 2 course. Each edition of the Rosetta Stone Explorer series (Japanese Explorer, Welsh Explorer, etc.) included three units (22 lessons) from Level 1. The company no longer sells Explorer editions.
Then there was Global Traveler, a CD-ROM and electronic translation dictionary package for people requiring some facility in English, French, Italian, German, or Spanish. The lessons on the CD-ROM teach words and phrases for travelers. The electronic translator was programmed with about 60,000 words and 720 phrases.
The Rosetta Stone v2.0.x is backward compatible with some of the later language courses for Version 1; specifically languages courses with a version number of 3.0 or 4.0.x.
The Rosetta Stone v2.1 through v2.2.x are only compatible with v6.x language courses. These versions of the language packs and software engine are neither backward compatible nor forward compatible. Language discs developed for The Rosetta Stone v2.0.x are incompatible with these later revisions of the software.
Version 3 
Rosetta Stone Version 3 is not backward compatible with language courses developed for Rosetta Stone Versions 1 or 2.
Homeschool Edition 
Homeschool Edition introduces additional features that keep track of time spent per lesson, scores achieved on lessons, lesson plans, and instructional objectives. This edition includes a supplemental CD-ROM that has workbooks, quizzes, lesson transcripts, and exams.
Unlike the Personal Edition, the Homeschool Edition application does not recommend reviews. Aside from the minor differences, the homeschool edition is essentially the same as the personal edition—except for the supplemental CD with written exercises and lesson plans. The language discs in both editions are identical and are interchangeable. Some may have 3 discs and some may have 5. Much of the information on the supplemental CD-ROM is available online from Rosetta Stone.
Version 4 TOTALe 
Version 4 is backward compatible with all language courses developed for Version 3.
Rosetta Stone released Version 4 TOTALe on 14 September 2010. TOTALe is a software suite comprising Rosetta Course, Rosetta Studio, Rosetta World, and TOTALe Mobile Companion. Users of the Rosetta Studio software subscribe to a service that videoconferences them with a language coach. Rosetta World is a social gaming service. TOTALe Mobile Companion is a Rosetta Stone mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
With Version 4, Rosetta Stone adds stricter copy protection measures.
Language courses 
As of January 2012[update], there are 32 Rosetta Stone language courses:
|Language||Version||Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5||Audio Companion|
|Arabic (Modern Standard) a||v4||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Spanish (Latin America)||v4||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
- ^c Discontinued languages
Course organization 
Most language courses are divided into three levels. In the retail software packages of Rosetta Stone, each CD-ROM has one level.
All languages, except Latin, use mostly the same set of words and sentences in almost the same order, with mainly the same images. Some of the material is reused from lesson to lesson to invoke long-term retention.
There are four units per language level. Each unit has four core lessons that are about 30 minutes long. The student then moves on to one of the following lesson modes: Pronunciation, Writing, Vocabulary, Grammar, Listening, Reading, Speaking, or Milestone. The Milestone is an exercise in which the student applies what they learned in the unit.
Version 4 includes three to five levels of instruction for each language.
Rosetta Stone v2 
In Rosetta Stone version 2, most lessons have two levels; a few have three.
Level 1 (8 units) 
The first eight units have 84 lessons, plus eight reviews. The lessons reiterate simple vocabulary and grammatical tenses. The lessons conclude with a unit on giving directions.
Units 1-4 have 10 lessons and one review. Units 5-8 have 11 lessons and a review.
Level 2 (11 units) 
The 11 units of Level 2 include a total of 118 lessons. The lessons in the first nine units have a format similar to those in Level 1. The final two units are "Glossary" units devoted to single words pertaining to a particular topic, such as school, nature, or automobiles.
Level 3 
Level 3 expands on Level 2 with longer videos and written passages.
Rosetta Stone v3 / v4 TOTALe 
In Rosetta Stone versions 3 and 4, a language pack has 3-5 levels. The lessons differ by language. Compared with Version 2, Version 3 lessons focus more on conversation and less on grammar rules.
Level 1 (4 units) 
In level one, each unit has a 30-minute lesson and some activities that are five to fifteen minutes long. The units are: Language Basics, Greetings and Introductions, Work and School, and Shopping.
Starting from simple vocabulary such as basic greetings, "boy", "girl", "man", and "woman", moving up through numbers, comparisons, adjectives, nouns, verb conjugation, and telling time. Each unit also contains a ten-minute simulated conversation called a "Milestone".
Level 1 takes up to 24 hours to complete.
Level 2 (4 units) 
Level 2 offers a total of about twenty-four hours designed to teach the user to "navigate your surroundings as you build on the vocabulary and essential language structure in Level 1." More grammar is covered, including past and future tenses, and imperative forms. Topics such as giving directions, writing letters, workplace terms, apologies, discussing emotions, and criticizing art are also covered. As in Level 1, each unit is followed by a ten-minute "Milestone".
The four units in Level 2 are Travel, Past and Future, Friends and Social Life, and Dining and Vacation.
Level 3 (4 units) 
Level 3 offers instruction designed to help "connect with the world around you by building on the language fundamentals and conversational skills you developed in Levels 1 and 2." In addition to expanding upon grammar learned in Levels 1 and 2, Level 3 teaches more in depth vocabulary, including botanical terms, culinary terms, how to express detailed opinions and judgments, and how to discuss politics, religion, and business. As in the first two levels, each unit contains a ten-minute "Milestone" activity in which the user participates in a simulated conversation.
The four units in Level 3 are Home and Health, Life and World, Everyday Things, and Places and Events
Levels 4 and 5 
Levels 4 and 5 teach more complex sentence structures, higher verbal tenses, and more irregular verbs, and introduce more vocabulary.
Most language packs only have three levels. The five-level programs are: American English, British English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese (v4.0 only), Russian, Spanish (Latin America), and Spanish (Spain).
Audio Companion 
On 9 June 2008, Rosetta Stone introduced an addition to their Version 3 product line: Audio Companion, supplemental audio recordings of words and phrases. The student is meant to repeat the spoken words and phrases for practice and memorization. Unlike recordings based on the Pimsleur method, the Audio Companion provides neither narration nor translations. Rosetta Stone distributes the audio supplements on audio CD and as MP3 files. Each Audio Companion supplements one level of the language course, and each disc supplements a specific unit. Complete Version 4 course packages include Audio Companion material for each level.
Endangered Language Program 
Organizations that contract the Endangered Language Program to develop custom software own the sales and distribution rights over their final product, allowing communities control over this language resource and respecting indigenous intellectual property rights. These versions are thus not marketed via the usual outlets such as bookstores or commercial websites.
Based in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the Endangered Language Program began offering a corporate grant program in 2007 to underwrite development costs for awarded communities. Rosetta Stone Ltd. offered the first awards of the grant program to the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana and the Navajo Language Renaissance coalition.
The Endangered Language Program also offers paid internships to graduate and undergraduate students interested in contributing to the work of the program.
|Language||Organization||Version||Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5||Audio Companion|
|Chitimacha||Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana||v2||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Inuktitut||Torngasok Cultural Centre||v2||Yes||No||No||No||No||No|
|Navajo||Navajo Language Renaissance||v2||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Mohawk||Kanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa||v2||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
Reception and efficacy 
Critiques from language experts 
Frequent criticism of the program arises in its lack of sensitivity to the differences between the various languages it comes in and their respective cultures. Early versions of the software presented the same concepts in the same order, using the same images taken mostly in the Washington, D.C. area near the company's headquarters at the time in Harrisonburg, Virginia. In the most recent version, there have been some modifications to the picture set for certain languages or regions.
Another frequent issue was the use of more formal vocabulary than that regularly used by native speakers. MacWorld reviewer Cyrus Farivar noted that the Persian CD he had been using used khodrow for "car", although most native speakers use a French loanword, ma:sheen. The same course did not teach words that would be important to someone learning Persian, such as "bread" and "tea," however it very curiously included the word "elephant" in a basic vocabulary lesson. Perplexed by the question of why the word "elephant" would be taught in a language where it might never be used (there are not many elephants in Iran), Farivar called the Rosetta Stone, Ltd. He was told that the company makes four different picture sets: one for Western languages, another for Asian languages, and two sets unique to each Swahili and Latin. The Persian language CD was using the Western picture set, which explains why the images were not culturally relevant.
Donald McRae on the German course 
Writing in 1997, Donald McRae of Brock University said that Rosetta Stone represented "good pedagogy" and that "the authors of the program never lose sight of solid teaching methodology." He described the Version 2 German language course as "very good", but indicated that he had "some reservations".[dead link]
Mark Kaiser on the Russian course 
In a 1997 review of the Version 2 Russian language course, Mark Kaiser, director of the Language Media Center at the University of California, Berkeley, called the program "woefully inadequate for a number of reasons".[dead link]
One of Kaiser's observations was that Rosetta Stone software fails to provide a relevant cultural context. Because the company uses the same stock photographs for all its language courses, they depict people, activities, and manufactured goods that are conspicuously American. (World traveler Brendan Lewis made the same observation in his critique nearly 14 years later.) Kaiser also found that Rosetta Stone Version 2 does not provide a way for students to evaluate their conversation skills, and that some of the words and phrases are too English-based.
"The entire package lacks any pedagogical foundation," he concluded. "Rather, it utilizes the glitz of the multimedia capabilities of the computer, a dearth of quality foreign language software, and clever marketing to create an economically successful product."[dead link]
From the software industry 
- 2011 Adobe MAX Honorable Mention, Disruptive Design
- 2011 South by Southwest Interactive Awards, Educational Resource
- 2010 International CES, Innovation[dead link]
- 2009 Tech Circle Gold Award for Enterprise Software
- 2009 Children's Technology Review Editor's Choice Award
- 2009 CODiE Awards, Best Corporate Learning Solution
- 2008-2009 CODiE Awards, Best Instructional Solution in Other Curriculum Areas
- 2008 EDDIE Awards for Best Corporate Learning Solution and Best Instructional Solution in Other Curriculum Areas
From non-profit organisations 
- 2012 World Affairs Council of Washington, DC Education Award
- 2009 Association of Educational Publishers Award
- 2011 USDLA International Awards, Excellence in Distance Learning
- 2010 USDLA Silver Award, Best Practices in Distance Learning Programming
From magazines 
- 2011 PCMag.com Editors' Choice Award
- 2011 Practical Homeschooling i-Learn Awards, 1st Place in Foreign Language category; Honorable mention in Latin category
- 2010 Practical Homeschooling i-Learn Awards, 1st Place in Foreign Language category; 1st Place in Latin category
- 2009 Creative Child Media of the Year Award for Educational Media
- 2004-2008, Excellence in Education Award for Foreign Language, The Old Schoolhouse
- 2004-2006, Homeschool Stamp of Approval for Foreign Language, Homeschooling Parent magazine
- 2002-2008, 1st Place in Foreign Language Category, Practical Homeschooling Reader Award
Institutional use 
United States Army 
In December 2007, the United States Army offered a special military version of Arabic to help troops deploying to the Middle East learn the language for conversations and phrases important in a military situation. It was available to all US Army personnel, US Military Academy cadets, contracted US Army ROTC Cadets and other special guests with a sponsor.
The United States Army "E-Learning", a SkillPort product, offered the full Version 3 Online, with the exception of only a few languages. The Army E-Learning web site was accessible by most Army members with a valid AKO (Army Knowledge Online) e-mail address or CAC (Common Access Card).
Rosetta Stone's Army contract ended on September 24, 2011.
Other branches of the U.S military also offered Rosetta Stone software. The United States Air Force also offers a similar version to company-grade officers. The United States Marine Corps also offers an online version of all the languages that Rosetta Stone offers through their MarineNet Distance Learning portal.
The U.S. Department of State uses Rosetta Stone (Version 3 as of 2009) as a companion to their in-class and distance learning language programs provided through the Foreign Service Institute. It is free for civil and foreign service employees.
James Madison University 
In April 2011, James Madison University was the first university to partner with Rosetta Stone to offer the Rosetta Stone Version 4 TOTALe as an accredited Conversational Spanish I language learning course. The program teaches Spanish through a series of images that, when clicked on, show the vocabulary word. The student will speak into a microphone and speech recognition software will correct mispronounced words, according to Reilly Brennan, Rosetta Stone's Director of Public Relations. The course is available to adults who want to complete a degree for teaching and non-degree seeking students are eligible to take the class. The Rosetta Stone TOTALe accredited offering is a 16-week, intensive language-learning program. The program is accessed completely online and follows a syllabus approved by Rosetta Stone and James Madison University.
See also 
- "How do I know if my Rosetta Stone Application CD is compatible with my Rosetta Stone Language CD?". Rosetta Stone Success Central. Rosetta Stone Ltd. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Update Instructions: Rosetta Stone Version 3 Latest Application Versions". Rosetta Stone Success Central. Rosetta Stone Ltd. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- "Updated Supplemental Education Materials". Rosetta Stone. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- Nusca, Andrew (3 January 2010). "With TOTALe, Rosetta Stone brings the social web to language software". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Rosetta Stone Expands Its Offerings in French, Italian, German and Spanish (Spain)". Rosetta Stone. November 24, 2009. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- Haworth, Rosemary (31 July 2008). "Rosetta Stone Audio Companion". PC Advisor. IDG. Retrieved 15 January 2013.
- Woodroof, Martha. “Endangered Alaskan Language Goes Digital." National Public Radio. May 23, 2007. (accessed July 6, 2008).
- "Endangered Languages: Move to Save Mohawk Language Through Technology," Language magazine, Vol. 5, no. 9 (May 2006): 20-21.
- Osborn, Don. "Rosetta Stone: Endangered Language Program Announcement]." Kabissa Space for Change in Africa. Jan. 8, 2007. (accessed July 06, 2008).
- Smith, Arthur. "A Language Lost, and Found]." Imagine Louisiana, spring 2008: 44-45.
- Brossy, Chee. "New media for Diné - Navajo Times." Navajo Times. Dec. 6, 2007. (accessed July 06, 2008).
- UICLACS. "Opportunities.” University of Illinois Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. July 2008. (accessed July 06, 2008).
- Shaughnessy, Michael (2003). "CALL, commercialism and culture: inherent software design conflicts and their results". ReCALL 15 (2): 251–268.
- Farivar, Cyrus; January 19, 2006; Foreign-language software provides a comprehensive approach to learning; MacWorld, retrieved July 12, 2006
- McRae, Donald; June 24, 1997; Review: The Rosetta Stone for German; CALL @Chorus; retrieved October 22, 2006.
- Kaiser, Mark; September 25, 1997; Review: The Rosetta Stone for Russian, CALL @Chorus, retrieved October 22, 2006.
- Lewis, Brendan. "Review of Rosetta Stone: Detailed and honest look at latest version (TOTALe)". Fluent in 3 Months. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "2011 Adobe Max Honorable Mentions". Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "SXSW Interactive Awards Categories". Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "2010 Innovations Honorees". Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Tech Awards Circle Winners Represent Best of Tech 2009". Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "Rosetta Stone Wins Multiple Awards for Innovation and Excellence". Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "2008 Codie Awards Winners". Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Global Education Award Presented to Rosetta Stone". Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "2009 DAA Curriculum Winners". Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "USDLA 2011 International Awards Presented for Excellence in Distance Learning for Individuals, Organizations and Companies Honoring Their Outstanding Achievements". Retrieved 11 May 2012.
- "USDLA 2010 International Awards Presented for Excellence in Distance Learning for Individuals, Organizations and Companies Honoring their Outstanding Achievements.". Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "The Best Language-Learning Software". Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Creative Child Media of the Year Award in the Educational Media category". Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Revolutionary Technology Strengthens Military Language Training". Rosetta Stone. December 3, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- "Army e-Learning Overview". U.S. Army. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- "Army Rosetta Stone". U.S. Army. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- Harrison, Christine (September 8, 2006). "Air University offers online language training". U.S. Air Force. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- "Release of the Rosetta Stone Language Learning Software". U.S. Marine Corps. November 21, 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2010.