Looking to brush up on a language for long-term learning or for your next trip? From the ubiquitous Rosetta Stone ads splashed on airplane catalog pages to smaller programs focusing on mastering speech from a scholastic level, here are three language-learning programs to consider.
Rosetta Stone (insert language here) – This "Interactive language immersion" tool displays groups of pictures to link pictures with words and phrases. Its pattern of displaying images promises to help users construct words and eventually phrases with repetition. Rosetta Stone’s speech recognition system allows you to recite words for quick feedback on your pronunciation through individual exercise scores and progress tracking. Although it has suffered criticism for its perceived lack of practical phrases, Rosetta Stone provides an excellent alternative from traditional grammar heavy learning tools. If you don't mind the cost ($179 for one level of a language set or up to $500 for all levels), Rosetta is a good place to start.
Pimsleur – Scholastic powerhouse Simon & Schuster relies on a method to teach as few words ads possible off the bat before gradually learning new phrases and sentences. Pimsleur is well priced, as low as $11.95 for its express CDs with one or two lessons to a comprehensive package with 30 lessons and 16 CDs for $345.
Rocket Languages– Rocket Languages offers courses in more than 10 languages (inc. sign language) and uses a more traditional approach with lessons that walks you through conversations using memory puzzles. Grammar and reading are also emphasized. Look to this for a more constructive approach over Rosetta's freestyle approach. Online access to full packages cost as little as $99 with CD packages for $299.