Grammar Acquisition with Rosetta Stone

One of the things we do at Rosetta Stone is help our learners acquire grammar rather than learn about it. What do I mean by this? In our method grammar acquisition happens behind the scene, because patterns take center stage. Every language contains a number of fundamental components that combine in recognizable, consistent patterns, so we leverage these to help you intuitively discover how to correctly combine and construct the language you’re learning. As you pick up on these patterns you’ll start to sense when there are exceptions, and make mental note of those. And one day you’ll do a double take, realizing you’ve been internalizing the grammar all along—without studying rules, and without rote memorization.

Let me illustrate how our method works. Here’s a simple pattern in English:

  • I run. He runs.
  • I eat. He eats.
  • I think. He thinks.

In all likelihood, a learner of English could look at that series and easily fill in the following blank:

  • I swim. He _____.

In our grammar activities we highlight these patterns for you, showing you examples just like those above, but with a wider variety of grammar content. We show you the patterns you might have just started to pick up on in the Core Lesson, and we lead you to make the connections your brain is ready to make.

Since many of us have learned a little Spanish, let’s look at the series of images and sentences below. You’ll begin to get a feel for how our method works. Based on the patterns in the example, you can figure out the difference between la niña and las niñas. And then it’s clear what the difference is between el niño and los niños, and between lee and leen.

la nina lee1

If you know that lee goes with la niña and el niño, and that leen goes with las niñas and los niños, can you determine whether to select bebe or beben in this next example? Of course! We make sure that patterns are clear. We guide you in your acquisition of your new language, gradually introducing more grammar complexity as you learn intuitively.

las ninas beben

Here’s an example from a language you might not know: Russian. In the text circled below, you’ll notice that there is only one difference at the end of the word: вода and воду.

russian example

Since this happens with the word вода, it probably happens with other words as well. Take a look at this next example, and notice again the change from газета to газету. It’s the same kind of pattern.

russian example 2

And I bet if I asked you again to select the correct word in this next example, you could.

russian example 3

We’ve just walked through examples of the natural connections that we help you make as you learn inductively with Rosetta Stone. You don’t need explicit instructions about grammar; you’ll learn it as we help you become fluid and flexible in your new language. As you begin to speak more quickly and comfortably, the grammar of the language you are learning will become second nature to you!

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  • Anja

    I would really like to be able to get support in learning grammer rules spelled out as I have questions. Is this available to Rosetta Stone users? I am doing Rosetta Stone and then cross-referencing with a college 1st year textbook but Rosetta Stone and the textbook are not doing things the same way. Any suggestions? I kinda would like to have an intellectual grasp as well as the intuitive.

  • Agus

    Great article! Now I understand many things (i’m studying Russian)!
    As I study English at university, I realize how difficult is to understand grammar; but I like this method!

  • Aaron Schmitt

    Hi, Anja. Take a look at this previous post ( from Duane Sider, director of learning, to find an explanation about how our method differs from textbooks. We aim to help you discover how language goes together intuitively—without rules or explanations in your native language—so you’re thinking in the language from the beginning. This helps you move straight into communication when you’re ready. Because of this, Rosetta Stone may cover material in different ways than the textbook you’re using, and you might not see an immediate correlation between the two.

  • David Cook

    Naive though the question may be, after completing Level 1 I truly wonder how many people will be alerted to the fact that endings for direct and/or indirect objects exist! I found that I was memorizing without understanding. I’m still trying to figure out why in German sentences can begin with the dative case. Could you help me???


    • Rosetta Stone

      Hi David, the questions you are asking are very common. Because our products to not explicitly lay out grammar rules, you may feel like you’re not learning these rules the “right way.” In reality, you are learning them as a child would, by hearing them correctly over time. Duane Sider, our director of learning, has written a lot of articles for our blog about this very topic. He says, “The best way to develop the right patterns for understanding and speaking a new language is to reawaken the process that worked the first time: load lots of correct and comprehensible sentences from the new language into your head. In order to speak, you can’t just memorize the sentences by rote or snap them together like plastic beads using a grammar book and a dictionary. You need to understand implicitly how the language hangs together. Put simply, you need to learn to think in your new language if you’re going to have any success speaking it.” Search for his blog posts, and you can find a lot of great articles about our approach to learning grammar. Even though you do not have the “full picture” yet, as far as German grammar goes, you ARE doing more than mere memorization. You are solving problems as you go along, and using critical thinking to piece together what you know to be correct. Thanks for your question!

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