Travel, work or simple self-improvement are some of the many reasons to learn Russian. Learning another language gives you access to an entirely new culture. Whether through professional means or through travel, it can be nerve-racking to try Russian with a native speaker. To overcome that fear, Rosetta Stone provides sessions with a live native-speaking tutor available at all times. Rosetta Stone is the best-known language software on the market and provides Russian software for corporate, K-12, higher education, home schools and personal learners. That is why our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award goes to Rosetta Stone. The personalized help with live virtual classrooms in conjunction with the live tutor option provides an easy to follow and constructive learning environment, whatever your reason to learn Russian.
The program interface focuses on four flashcards that look similar to ones you may have had in school. There’s no time limit on these flashcards, so you’ll have time to think about your answer. Rosetta Stone is great for visual learners who strongly associate images with the words.
Rosetta Stone begins the first lesson with greetings and goodbyes, as most language software does. This could be frustrating if you only want to learn enough to strike up conversations with native speakers. Instead of “Hi, my name is,” you’ll learn, “The girl is drinking milk” to capture vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure. The first lessons in Rosetta Stone introduce masculine and feminine nouns, pronouns and vocabulary. The flashcard format teaches you to associate patterns on your terms without slogging through grammar-centric, sleep-inducing lessons. The first section of the Russian course focuses on vocabulary and simple verbs like “drink,” (pea-yought) “eat” (eaht) and “run” (be-goaht). You’ll be able to learn the singular and plural forms on your own. After the first section, the lessons maintain the same images, but switch focus from entire words to simple word endings such as “ha,” “hn,” and “voo.” Lessons continue around these flashcards and introduce new verbs and vocabulary as you advance.
Russian is tricky for reading and writing because it uses the Greek-based Cyrillic alphabet. At minimum, you’ll be able to recognize words and some letter sounds, but you won’t get any emphasized Cyrillic reading or writing lessons on this program alone. Rosetta Stone also has little cultural information or context added to the words you learn. While we learned one greeting, the software didn’t tell us that the greeting taught to us was the formal greeting (zdstrass-voy-cha) meant for superiors or elders rather than familiar greeting (privyet) meant for friends.
While lessons revolve around the classic flashcard format, they vary from page to page. A typical lesson introduces new words with stock images below. For example, you will see and hear the Russian word for “woman” (zchen-she-nah) in Cyrillic letters and match it to the image of a woman. The activities switch to emphasize different words and vary between nouns, verbs, word endings and simple vocabulary. Rosetta Stone lessons lack a timer, so the pressure is off and you’ll have plenty of time to stop and think about the answer and make the right connections in your mind.
As you move through the program, you’ll gain a quick sense of achievement with the tones for each answer: happy chimes for correct answers and a buzzer tone for incorrect answers. It seems simple, but these tones are great reinforcement to remember correct and incorrect answers. As you progress, you may find a red X next to the lesson if you scored below 80 percent. This means you haven’t perfected the section. One of the keys to learning a new language is returning to former lessons and refreshing yourself on the material. These make a good bookmark for sections you haven’t perfected yet.
Part of Rosetta Stone’s claim to fame is the software’s immersive format. Throughout the program, you won’t find any written or spoken English. Thankfully, the software stays true to the skill level associated with each disk. So beginners won’t have to translate complex sentences without any buildup. Depending on your skill level, core lessons last about 30 minutes.
One of the coolest features of Rosetta Stone is the live virtual classrooms with a native speaking coach and two other learners. These sessions provide the familiar small-classroom environment that you may have experienced in school. There are many advantages to this feature. The help is focused, personalized from a live person to answer any cultural or grammar questions that the software may not cover. It may be nerve-racking at first to speak to a native Russian speaker with only some Russian experience, but all students in such a small setting are encouraged to relax, ask questions and speak up when the tutor addresses them. To access these lessons, you’ll have to request ahead of schedule, but you can schedule times 24/7.
Rosetta Stone is the only language learning software we found with live chat support on its website. The FAQs section is compartmentalized into different topics in case you have any questions before purchasing. Because this software caters to so many different kinds of learners, you can also find separate help sections for the corporate and business realms from those for education or personal learning.
While you may not be an expert right away, this flashcard-based language software is easy and engaging. If you want to learn Russian, lessons build your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation. You probably won’t be able to write or read Cyrillic like a native, but you’ll be able to recognize crucial words and build on the basics. Access to a live Russian-speaking tutor makes a huge difference and gives you built-in conversation practice and an instant lifeline to any extra questions you have while learning Russian.
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