Rosetta Stone—A Convenient Way to Learn a Language


My last name is Giannetti. Because of that, many people, including one memorable moment with a customs official in an airport, think that I should be able to speak Italian. Sure, I can speak food, but I can’t speak actual Italian.

So when I kept seeing the commercials for Rosetta Stone over and over again on TV, that it was used by government agencies such as the NSA and the CIA to train their agents, that seemed like a pretty good option. I would have taken Italian in college, but I don’t learn languages the way everybody else seems to. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn Italian one-on-one with, as one person in the commercials put it, my “own private tutor sitting there, teaching [me] the language.” Not to mention, I wanted to see if I could actually learn a language by using this computer program.

I went online to see how this business worked. The Rosetta Stone website has a really nice, short demo that mimics how the program works in several of the 31 languages it offers the program in. After completing both the Italian and French 8-step demos, I decided that this program might actually work for me.

The Italian set comes in five levels, all fairly expensive, so I got Level 1 to start. So far I’ve learned terms for people (like la donna, i bambini, etc.), a small selection of food and colors, and verbs like to swim, to eat, and to cook. It’s advisable to complete each section before moving on to the next. If you take time off—weeks or months—you can do a brush up tutorial to get back in the groove. But it’s advisable to avoid so much time between lessons.

Rosetta Stone is popular because it can fit into a busy person’s schedule. Rather than rushing off to a class or meeting with a one-on-one tutor at a designated time, it’s possible to fit in a language lesson whenever there’s time. Then there’s the cost. While Levels 1 through 5 cost more than $600, individual programs cost much less. The Level 1 Italian I purchased cost around $200. Language classes may cost a lot more and will not give the individual attention afforded by Rosetta Stone.

It really is a well done program, and the experience isn’t boring or annoying. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to learn a new language, be it French, Mandarin, Hebrew, Pashto, Swahili…

Even Italian for this Italian who is expected to speak, you guessed it, Italian.

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