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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:08 am    Post subject: Does Rosetta Stone really work? Reply with quote
I'm thinking about picking up the Rosetta Stone software to help me get started on my Japanese. I just wanted to know if anyone knows if it actually works. As you may know, the software is kind of pricy. I would like to know if it works before I lay down that kind of dough.

Thanks in advance for any input. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
based on my experience that sorr of thing doesn't hurt but you have to be really motivated. next to going to japan actual classes are probably best. I always reccommend the $30 'living language' japanese set. that's what I used before going to japan. if nothing else it gave me a better ear for japanese.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'll be writing a review for the SA Blog soon that focuses on the Nintendo DS educational title, "My Japanese Coach". It's surprisingly good, and is perfect for beginners. It's worth buying a DS just for that if you really want to learn.

Just note that like Kitsuno said, there is no substitute for live classes, and especially those taught by native speakers. You'll get the feedback and correction that a 'teach yourself' program, no matter how good, just can't give.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I think you can preview it for free on-line. We used it for a year in our school system, and it struck me as the best language learning software that I had tried. Can't testify to the effectiveness of the method itself, since I had already learned what they were teaching in the sections I tested.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks for all the recs fellas! You rule

I'm signing up for the free Rosetta Stone demo to see if it's worth it. I've checked all the local schools and there's no Japanese classes being offered.

I really wish I would have took it during my undergrad....
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Just wanted to let everyone know I got the "Instant Immersion" Japanese software for Christmas. It's VERY inexpensive, so I'm anxious to see how well it works. I'm sure this will be just a prep for any future classes I'll be taking.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
This sounds good. I'd love to try it. My Nihongo self study program is dame desu.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
I'll be writing a review for the SA Blog soon that focuses on the Nintendo DS educational title, "My Japanese Coach". It's surprisingly good, and is perfect for beginners. It's worth buying a DS just for that if you really want to learn.

Just note that like Kitsuno said, there is no substitute for live classes, and especially those taught by native speakers. You'll get the feedback and correction that a 'teach yourself' program, no matter how good, just can't give.

I picked it up as a good excuse to practice, and I'd have to agree that so far it's surprisingly decent.
However, there are some "taste" issues that I noticed that rubbed me the wrong way, though that may just have to do with the way I initially learned Japanese.
For instance some of the early (or at least early from where I initially placed) vocabulary included words such as "anata" ("you"), which I was taught to be VERY rude and almost taboo, especially in the context of a conversation.
I also noticed some finicky-ness in the character writing recognition, such as only acknowledging one specific way of writing the hiragana "so". But overall the writing recognition/practice is one of the most promising aspects of the title.
I'd also like to add that some of the presentation of new information can be a bit dense and overwhelming. For instance, when it started presenting the rules of verb conjugation it was so confusing I had to skip past it to the lessons just so I could get to the practice. I went in with a pretty firm grasp and overall understanding of Japanese verb conjugation and came out of that lesson more confused that I was to start. I can't imagine what it've done to me if I read the whole thing (either I'd have COMPLETE mastery over conjugation or I'd have had to start from scratch?...). My point being here that I believe some sort of thorough supplementary materials would be highly beneficial if you're coming to this title as your introduction to Japanese.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
That's good to know about "anata" Thanks.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
kendoka girl wrote:
That's good to know about "anata" Thanks.


Well, the thing is, personal pronouns (terms of address in particular) are never simple in a high-context language such as Japanese.

Why, for example, would Matsuhide be instructed that "anata" is very rude and taboo? Because for the most part, with a very few exceptions, a non-Japanese person is not going to be in the kind of relationship were any personal pronoun would be acceptable. Even for Japanese people, the vast majority of people they meet or interact with will be addressed by their name+san, or their job title, or other terms. The use of a personal pronoun generally indicates familiarity or marked status difference. Most non-Japanese will not develop those close relationships, will not have had the opportunity to form them early on in high school, college, or the early days of working for a company. It's for these same reasons that few, if any, Japanese textbooks teach "ore", even though it is very common word.

On the other hand, given this, why would so many textbooks and this DS game include anata, then? Because of all the 2nd person pronouns, it's the safest, the most neutral, the least likely to get you in major trouble if you find yourself in a situation where you just have to use a 2nd person pronoun. If someone stranger's dropped something, "Sumimasen, kore wa anata no desu ka?" is not going to scandalize anyone. Arm a beginner with "watashi/boku", "anata", and "ano hito", and you can send them off into the Great Japanese Unknown confident that they may make a faux pas or sound unnatural, but they're not going to destroy friendships and make enemies. The same can't be said of ore, omae, kimi, etc.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm not totally in agreement with what Matsuhide wrote about "anata" being taboo or very rude. However, it's always best to refer to somebody in the third person when addressing them-- that is if you have a formal relationship with that person-such as when talking to a customer, a superior at work or a teacher. However, if you are relatively casual or informal with the person you are talking to, "anata" is perfectly fine.

Try to stay away from "omae"--that can be considered rude. I also avoid using "kimi" as that can project the wrong tone or intention as well.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
However, if you are relatively casual or informal with the person you are talking to, "anata" is perfectly fine.


It sounds somewhere between gay and "I'm a gaijin!" though. I don't think I've ever heard it in conversation beyond my first 6 months in Japan when people spoke real slow and dumbed the Japanese down so I could understand it, or from old ladies or other gaijin. If a Japanese guy called me "anata" I think I'd be stunned, unless it is in common use with Japanese men over the age of say, 40 or so (in which case, throw what I said out the window). Everyone I talk to here is well below that watermark, and no one uses it. If anything they'll use my name, or leave out the pronouns altogether.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
That still is one of the harder things for me to fall into, for some reason--using names instead of 'you'. I.e. Satou-san no uchi wa doko desu ka? rather than Anata no uchi wa doko desu ka?

On the other hand, I really do like the vagueness of just omitting the pronouns altogether--which you can usually do in Japanese conversation much more easily than in English, I find.


-Josh
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I was given a link to this site
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/
by the guy who runs readthekanji.com. It looks like a very good way to learn the essentials of Japanese grammar, as well as hiragana, katakana and kanji.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
I was given a link to this site
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/
by the guy who runs readthekanji.com. It looks like a very good way to learn the essentials of Japanese grammar, as well as hiragana, katakana and kanji.
I had a brief look at the site you mentioned, heron, and I think that'll be a good one for me to try. Thanks! Very Happy So far, I've been going around the house, labelling everything in hiragana, and I can finally read the fact that the sweet bean paste I have in the cupboard is "koshi an."

This site is the one I downloaded some hiragana and katakana lessons, tables and exercises from: http://www.learn-japanese.info/indexw.html They seem to be fairly straightforward, although sometimes the way a certain hiragana is written varies between some of the sites I have been to. I've also saved a 1980 popular magazine that I sometimes try to read the ads and stuff in...not much luck so far with recognition of hiragana only.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
onnamusha wrote:
heron wrote:
I was given a link to this site
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/
by the guy who runs readthekanji.com. It looks like a very good way to learn the essentials of Japanese grammar, as well as hiragana, katakana and kanji.
I had a brief look at the site you mentioned, heron, and I think that'll be a good one for me to try. Thanks! Very Happy So far, I've been going around the house, labelling everything in hiragana, and I can finally read the fact that the sweet bean paste I have in the cupboard is "koshi an."

This site is the one I downloaded some hiragana and katakana lessons, tables and exercises from: http://www.learn-japanese.info/indexw.html They seem to be fairly straightforward, although sometimes the way a certain hiragana is written varies between some of the sites I have been to. I've also saved a 1980 popular magazine that I sometimes try to read the ads and stuff in...not much luck so far with recognition of hiragana only.


I recently picked up a few manuals to help me learn. I've been practicing my hiragana everyday. I have run into the same problem you mentioned regarding different sites showing different hiragana for the same sound. I hope I'm learning the correct version.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
onnamusha wrote:
They seem to be fairly straightforward, although sometimes the way a certain hiragana is written varies between some of the sites I have been to.
What kind of differences?
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Bethetsu wrote:
onnamusha wrote:
They seem to be fairly straightforward, although sometimes the way a certain hiragana is written varies between some of the sites I have been to.
What kind of differences?


I think this might be the small differences one sees in 'sa' さ(second stroke is sometimes broken into two), 'ki' き(third stroke sometimes broken into two), 'ri' り(with the sides being connected sometimes), 'na' な, 'fu' ふ...the same basic character, but different versions of 'completing' certain strokes.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Tatsunoshi wrote:
Bethetsu wrote:
onnamusha wrote:
They seem to be fairly straightforward, although sometimes the way a certain hiragana is written varies between some of the sites I have been to.
What kind of differences?


I think this might be the small differences one sees in 'sa' さ(second stroke is sometimes broken into two), 'ki' き(third stroke sometimes broken into two), 'ri' り(with the sides being connected sometimes), 'na' な, 'fu' ふ...the same basic character, but different versions of 'completing' certain strokes.


These and there are other small ones as well. Are they all correct? If so, I'm going with the ones in my manual because I've been practicing them everyday.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's like the different ways of writing the lower-case letter "a."

vs

Both are still "a," both are "correct."
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
OH! I get it now. Thanks for the clarification. That makes sense.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've never used Rosetta Stone, so I can't be sure how they address this, but the impression I get is that they don't explain grammar rules, and expect you (the learner) to just "get it" through immersion and intuition.

This would never work for me. I'd rather be told the rules than play games trying to figure out what the rules are based solely on a series of pictures and sentences describing them.

The same, really, goes for vocabulary. Show me five pictures of horses and tell me that one is a picture of a horse, one is a picture of a stallion, one is of a mare, one is of a steed, one is of an equine, and I won't have any idea what the difference between those words actually is based solely on the pictures and the context, i.e. the immersion method.

So... if Rosetta Stone goes beyond that and actually explains anything, it could be quite good. If it just relies solely on intuition and the detective work of the learner to figure out what each sentence is referring to, I'd recommend taking a pass.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I found this great review of Rosetta Stone today. It offers a number of cheaper alternatives and some funny photoshopped pictures. This blog has been mentioned a couple times here before.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I got a copy of Rosetta Stone from a buddy of mine and I hate it! I never really use it all anymore. I'm glad I didn't drop a couple hundred bucks on the software.

I have been taking private lessons now with a tutor one on one and that seems to be helping a great deal. I'm also trying to find as much time as possible to study any manuals or dittos that I have. I'm slowly getting better. No thanks to Rosetta Stone.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
That's a very helpful review - leakbrewergator are your lessons on-line? I'm interested to know if anyone has tried LiveMocha or one of the other systems.
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