Learning to Speak Irish with Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone, the makers of self-guided language learning software, sent the Irish Fireside a copy of their Irish language product to test out.
Since a lot of our readers are interested in the Irish language, we asked Tony Keegan from www.glenculloocottage.com to give it a try. Tony has used other Rosetta Stone products and Irish language resources, so we thought he could provide some excellent insight.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the Rosetta Stone Irish program, but there are a few things that keep it short of perfection. I’ll start with the cons, so I can finish up on a positive note:
Out of the box, I had trouble with installation on my Apple computer. I think Apple users in particular expect the installation process to be more intuitive, as most Apple-based products nearly install themselves. Unfortunately, the screenshots on the Rosetta Stone instruction sheet did not resemble the screens I saw during installation, so they were little help.
I eventually got it installed, but after finishing a few lessons and taking a break, the software required a re-install in order to continue. This, I found frustrating, and ultimately, I installed it on my PC.
Even on the PC it took a bit to maneuver, but perhaps it was just me. Once I had it installed on my PC, things ran smoothly.
In general, Irish is not a phonetic language, so it is a difficult language to learn. I found the Rosetta Stone lessons more difficult from the start (I have completed several levels of the Rosetta Stone Spanish and Swahili programs).
The lessons seemed to move at a faster pace than my previous experiences with Rosetta Stone. It seemed as though it jumped from basic naming to simple sentences at lightning speed. If poor performance is any indication of difficulty, I got a lot more lessons wrong a lot more often than I did with the other language versions.
This may have simply been my perception. I’m not sure if the interface or presentation style has actually changed from Rosetta Stone’s previous software versions (this was my first time using Version 3 of their software). Ultimately, learning Irish proved to require more time and revisiting of lessons for me than Spanish and Swahili.
Great interface, pictures and sound quality.
I appreciate that Rosetta Stone teaches as a child would learn, so they tend to present a word and then a short sentence that you hopefully understand by the context. I think as I moved through the lessons (despite my wrong answers) I began to get a feel for things and was doing better. It was fun, and that was the most important thing.
I have bought a few different Irish language programs and texts in the past, and they were painful at best. So even though this was challenging, I at least felt I was getting somewhere.
Overall, I think it is the best Irish Language interactive product out there and the Audio CD’s are nice complement as well.
More info at www.rosettastone.com
Good news, Rosetta Stone is giving away one copy of their Irish language software to a lucky Irish Fireside reader. Post a comment about this review and your desire to learn Irish, and you’ll be added to the drawing. Winner will be chosen on Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009, so get your comments in now.