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Old 09-02-2010, 02:32 PM   #1

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Question Rosetta Stone

Just wondering if anyone has attempted to learn the language of the country you traveled to?

I'm thinking of doing the Viva Italia tour next year and I'm thinking of getting the Rosetta Stone program to learn some Italian.

Considering the free time in the various cities, I was wondering if anyone felt hindered if they didn't speak the language and/or didn't understand signs?

I doubt that I'd get fluent, but thought it would be a nice gesture to try to converse a bit in the native tongue at least...

Any thoughts would be most appreciated
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Old 09-02-2010, 02:47 PM   #2
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I've been wondering the same thing. I have hopes to do the Knights & Lights tour next year. I've been eyeing the Rosetta Stone: French Edition. I agree that it would be nice to be able to at least attempt to converse in the native language.

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Old 09-02-2010, 03:54 PM   #3
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I agree with Christy. Locals always seem to appreciate it if you at least attempt to communicate with them in their own language.

I know it would have helped me if I'd known Italian when I got lost in Florence...

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Old 09-02-2010, 03:58 PM   #4
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We've used RS in our school to help the kids learn French...

I think it's a great program, but I could see it being a bit boring, honestly for adults. Like the concept is good and condusive to learning, but it's very repetitive (I know it's good for learning languages, but I wish there was more variety). I know the first couple of lessons were simple words/verbs (girl/boy, man/woman, eating, drinking, swimming, walking etc...)

However, the programs are VERY expensive, close to 500$ for the program (a few levels, just one level by itself is close to 200$), so honestly I don't think it's worth it for that much money if it's just you/your family going to use it.
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Old 09-02-2010, 04:27 PM   #5
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I would say that if you are just wanting to purchase the RS to learn a few words to use on your Italy trip - no..not worth it. RS is expensive and to be honest, when travelling to Italy or France for that matter, you really only need to know the basics..hello, goodbye, please, thank-you etc. English is spoken in abundance in most of the major tourist areas...and even if you attempt your "newfound language" 99% of the time, the waiters, shopkeepers, etc. will speak or reply to you in English.

If you truly want to learn Italian, or another language, yes, RS is helpful but will take time and more than one level to achieve any kind of fluency...which as another poster said can be upwards of $500.

I purchased RS when we moved to Mexico, to learn Spanish...the problem with these types of language learning systems is they are very broad - dialects are different as are meanings of words...The type of Spanish I need to function and navigate my city are different than the general terms I was taught on RS. I learned far more by attending a Spanish language school here in our city, learning the Spanish that is spoken here.

Lonely Planet makes a series of pocket-sized language books which are, IMHO, really great and useful for a traveller to a foreign country...all the basics of asking for directions, food, money, etc. geared toward the country you are visiting. Honestly, this would be much more useful to you.

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Old 09-02-2010, 04:47 PM   #6
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We used One Day Italian, $9.99 from Barnes and Noble, advertised as speak Italian in just 50 words. Worth every penny for the 30 or so words we learned, we used maybe 20 of them on the Viva Italy trip, LOL! It was kind of kitschy, but fun leading up to our trip. I put it on our ipods in addition to listening to in the car.

I would not invest in RS, did that in the past and it wasn't worth the money, well unless you are supplementing a higher education language course, then maybe...
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Old 09-02-2010, 05:53 PM   #7

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My husband and I did 16 days in Italy on our own (went to Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Amalfi coast) and only knew a handful of Italian words (carried a pocket size Italian dictionary that was helpful in restaurants).

With the exception of Milan, we found the language barrier to be workable, especially in Florence and Rome where it seemed everyone spoke decent English.

I tried the RS program before going but it bored me to tears.
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Old 09-02-2010, 06:24 PM   #8
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Well, One Day Italian, is funny, at least!
And yes a pocket/purse dictionary is a must. We like the....... one I can not think of, or find, right now........ But it is divided up by eating, drinking, shopping, getting around.....
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Old 09-02-2010, 08:36 PM   #9
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I was going to do RS before our Italy trip as I was able to obtain it for free from work, and I can tell you I got through 2 days....more like 2 hours. It was not what I needed to get around. Instead I bought a 99 cent app for my iphone and it had all the basic travel words, sentences, etc. that you need. Definitely not worth the money since they speak a lot of English in Italy. It is good to know the basics though...they do appreciate it.

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Old 09-02-2010, 09:09 PM   #10
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I homeschool my dd11 and I'm wondering if it's worth it to buy the first lesson of french on RS for a years worth of homeschooling? I know nothing about it and can't seem to find reviews for the homeschooling aspect of it.
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:26 PM   #11

It's not the pace of life than concerns me... it's the sudden stop at the end.
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The price of the program is what Was putting me off at first, but after these responses I think I'm going to check for some iPhone apps and/or language learning podcasts.
That will leave more $$$ for shopping in Italy
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:28 PM   #12
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Learn numbers, polite phrases and simple questions, not complete language course

If you attempt to speak the local language in a major European city to a native, they will probably roll thier eyes, sigh, and speak to you in perfect English!

Europeans do not appreciate your mispronunciation of their beautiful language.

In tourist areas, you will probably hear more English and Japanese rather than Italian.

It is helpful to learn the numbers, simple questions and polite phrases. Europeans do appreciate the effort, but do not want to listen to you struggle with their language.

Tours often isolate you from the locals, limiting contact.

For better interaction with locals, plan your own your tour of Europe ala Rick Steves.

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Old 09-02-2010, 10:38 PM   #13
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Rosetta Stone is a great application and well worth the cost.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:32 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by corky441 View Post
The price of the program is what Was putting me off at first, but after these responses I think I'm going to check for some iPhone apps and/or language learning podcasts.
That will leave more $$$ for shopping in Italy
Another free option is to go to, search french or italian language and sign up for their travel french/italian email newsletter. This site has lots of options for starting to learn either language. is a resource for looking up individual words
in many languages. You can click on the word and hear it pronounced, a fun feature. They also have forums where you can ask about words or phrases and native speakers and other learners may post answers.

In my experience Europeans have often been kind and appreciative of my efforts when I spoke with them, in English or their language. Not everyone in Europe is an impatient eye roller. I've found that people who have trained to work in the travel industry like to practice using their English, which may be a reason they answer you in English.

Learning a few phrases for your trip is a great idea...good luck!
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:42 AM   #15
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We are using it to teach our girls Spanish. IMO, it is a great investment. It is a heck of a lot better than the Spanish classes they have been in within the school system.
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