SCOTTY’S RECIPE FOR *INSTANT* SUCCESS WITH ROSETTA STONE
- Rosetta Stone language package (disks include program, language levels, and “audio companion” mp3 files)
- access to an iTunes library (or comparable music organizer)
- iPod, iPhone, or any other mp3 player
- different colored 3x5 notecards
1) Buy the Rosetta Stone course for the language of your choice.
2) Install the Rosetta Stone software on your computer.
3) Open the Rosetta Stone software, and select “Add or Remove Language” on the home page (under the gear icon). Load as many levels of your language set as you desire (the most popular languages usually have five Levels, but some have less than that).
4) Load all of the mp3 files from your “Audio Companion” disks into your iTunes library.
5) Organize all of the mp3 files in playlists according to Levels, Units & Lessons. For instance, “Chinese 1-4-2” would stand for “Level 1, Unit 4, and Lesson 2.” Each level consists of four Units, and each Unit contains four Lessons. Each lesson will have three to five audio mp3s in each playlist.
6) Create one additional “cumulative” playlist labeled “all lessons so far” or something like that (e.g. “Italian to date” “Spanish - all” etc.) and start by copying the first playlist’s contents (1-1-1) into it.
7) Load your first playlist (1-1-1) into your mp3 player, along with the “cumulative” playlist (which has only 1-1-1 in it at first)
8) START LISTENING TO THE FIRST PLAYLIST. Do this before you even start in on the corresponding lesson on the computer. The goal here is to imitate the way we learn language as a baby. We grow up into our world hearing all of these sounds before we know what they mean. Schedule a small amount of time each day to listen to the audio lessons attentively and closely, ideally once immediately upon awakening and once right before going to sleep. The efficiency of studying your language at these endpoints of your sleep cycle cannot be overstated. Allowing in this way for your unconscious mind to “digest” the material while sleeping produces amazing results!
9) In addition to the focused listening of the audio files, try to find as many opportunities throughout the day to have the lesson mp3s running “in the background” while you are cleaning or exercising or biking around town etc. Feel free to “listen up close” from time to time, but do not worry if you are not consciously paying attention more often than not. This is the time for your brain to subconsciously acquaint itself with the material “in the back of your mind” so to speak, and for your ear to “sink in” to the rhythm and pitch and cadence of all the words and phrases. From time to time, try to repeat back what you hear, to imitate the sounds even though you might not yet know what you are saying.
10) After a day or two of immersing in the audio lesson, sit down at your computer and begin the same lesson of the software course. You will be pleased to see the pictures of all the objects and actors and the things they are doing, now associated with the sounds you have already been hearing up to this point. You don’t have to complete all the lesson in one sitting (each lesson is composed of several sections, including a Core Lesson followed by reviews in pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, writing, speaking, and listening).
11) In between computer sessions, listen to the same audio mp3s as before, and notice how the words and phrases you hear now bring the pictures to mind. This is the beauty of Rosetta Stone: apart from the menu screen up front, there is ZERO English involved in learning your new language. The logical presentation of these world-class, colorful photographs is rather genius in the way by which English is effectively taken out of the picture altogether and relieved of its role as the intermediary or “middle man” that it assumes in traditional language courses. I expect that this might also makes it possible for speakers of any native language to use Rosetta Stone effectively (assuming they can navigate the home page and menus).
12) When you finish all the parts of a lesson, return to the original Core Lesson and race through it one last time in order to jot down all of the new words and important phrases you have learned, both in English and in the new language, each on opposite sides of your 3x5 notecards (preferably color-coded by lesson). Take these with you wherever you go, and whenever you find yourself with “downtime” such as waiting in lines or riding on the bus, use those precious minutes not for checking your Facebook or playing Candy Crush, but by practicing your vocabulary and learning to speak and understand a new language!
13) When you feel well-enough acquainted with the material of the first lesson, add the mp3s of Lesson 1-1-2 (“Level 1, Unit 1, Lesson 2”) into your cumulative playlist. Sync/add both the new playlist and the updated cumulative playlist onto your mp3 player and start familiarizing yourself with the new audio for a day or so before going on to the next lesson on the computer.
14) Continue moving forward in this way, adding subsequent lessons to your mp3 player and updating the burgeoning cumulative playlist by adding in the new audio files as you go along. For your “background listening” throughout the day, alternate between listening to the singular lesson you are currently working on, and the cumulative playlist that will be progressively growing. This will provide a balance hearing the newer material that parallels the computer lesson that you are presently working on, and reviewing the material from lessons past.
15) Always remember “a little bit every day, goes a long long way.” Just as with practicing a musical instrument, even 10-30 minutes on the computer once a day will achieve much more profound results than “cramming” once or twice a week for hours. And there are so many opportunities to “multitask” with the audio reinforcement. I personally enjoy going jogging with both my mp3 player and my colored notecards as a way to burn some calories and get into great aerobic shape while simultaneously reviewing my vocabulary. (Just be sure to take care to watch out for cars, bikes, and pedestrians!) And though it may seem excessive to some, I even sleep with my playlists on shuffle to let my unconscious mind really go to town. If it doesn’t negatively impact your rest, give it a try. It actually helps me fall asleep, especially when my mind would otherwise be full of other distractions. And though sometimes I remain oblivious to these recorded voices while I am sleeping, sometimes the foreign dialogues play into my dreams, and that’s actually kind of fun!
16) Finally, find people to practice with, either in person with friends, co-students, or colleagues, or online with some of the games and coaching and other resources that Rosetta Stone offers free for six months (and with a reasonable monthly fee after that).