I felt that learning French would be a daunting task as I had no background with the language, and I didn’t understand a single word. Nevertheless, when my Rosetta Stone French Level 1 arrived, I was eager to dive in. A month and a half later, with about 20 minutes of practice three times a week, I’ve completed Unit 1. By my calculations, this is 5 percent of the way through the entire course (four units per level, five levels in total). Putting my progress in this perspective definitely helps because it tempers my expectations, and I just…Read More
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The last time I was in Paris, I met a French Nobel laureate. We had a long discussion about how language influences the way we think. One question we pondered was whether English is more rational than French. The Nobel laureate said that languages are closer to animals than to physical phenomena; as animals, they are ruled in part by logic and optimization procedures and in part by history. Our conversation was long and involved. I actually did not understand some of his ideas so I will not try to summarize them. But let me tell you what happened…Read More
When we asked you to tell us what you were wishing for this holiday season, we were blown away by the number of responses we got. Of course, we sent them straight along to Santa Claus. In the videos below, you can see what he had to say about your holiday wishes.
Alex Keith Pearce: ik wil een voetbal, kleding, en nieuwe schoenenRead More
The words for “coffee” in English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish all point to the same thing, and yet their pronunciations differ ever so slightly in each language. These words, called borrowings, all have a common origin, and sometimes it’s easy to figure out the definition of a new word in one language with knowledge of a borrowing in another language.
This phenomenon is fairly common for nouns like place names and people’s names, so, for the few languages I speak—Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and English—I can easily notice those trivial details of diversity. (more…)Read More
Tiptoe. Tiptoe. It’s Christmas Eve, and a merry soul slides happily down the chimney. He relishes the smell of still-warm cookies, baked by tiny hands that very night. Quickly. Quietly. Through the hallway, around the corner, to the kitchen door!
A nose enters the kitchen first. A plump hand reaches out and grabs the note resting atop the cookie plate. Is it addressed to him? No! Alas, the delicious treats are meant for “Dearest Santa,” just like last year. Dejected, humbled Gáttaþefur, the door sniffer, retreats to another part of the house (but ultimately decides to gobble the cookies anyway,…Read More
The Grandfather Frost legend dates back to pagan traditions, wherein the oldest man in the family would lean out the window and ask “the Frost” to keep the family and its future crops safe. He transitioned into Grandfather Frost with the spread of Christianity. The Snow Maiden comes from a popular fairy tale, in which she bears no relation to Grandfather Frost.
It’s only in recent years that the two Russian characters have been linked together for New Year’s celebrations. In the early…Read More
An old woman gazes through a frosted pane on Christmas Eve. She knows it’s time again. With no small effort, she stands. In preparation for the night’s events, she meticulously arranges her shawl, pulls with knotted fingers at her darned socks and ragged skirt. Past transgressions bind her to a strange annual deed: she must travel the globe, passing judgment on the world’s children, giving both gifts and punishments.
Such is the life of poor La Befana, described as a sad, old woman in some Italian traditions, a bold witch or benevolent fairy in others. Sometimes she rides a broomstick,…
Have you ever heard of Papai Noel? He’s a big part of Christmas celebrations in Brazil, where Christmas comes in the summertime. Unlike European Santas, Papai Noel sometimes dresses in a red silk suit, which is more comfortable in sweltering temperatures.
Papai Noel always arrives in style. Since 1996, Rio de Janeiro has displayed the world’s largest floating Christmas tree and light show. Children in Rio crowd into the Maracanã soccer stadium several days before Christmas. Papai Noel, who lives in Greenland according to Brazilian legend, makes a grand entrance. Children look up in the sky and see a helicopter…Read More
We’re excited to announce that our popular and challenging Rosetta World game Prospero is now available for Rosetta Stone Version 4 TOTALe learners of French, Italian, German, English (American), and Spanish (Latin America)!
In this game, players use the grammar and pronunciation skills they’ve developed in Rosetta Course to dig for buried treasure on a desert island. Learners are provided with visual clues that they must first use to construct phrases. Then they speak these phrases into their microphone to be judged by our speech-recognition technology. Each correctly pronounced phrase earns learners gold, and the player with the most gold…Read More
Fire. Horns. Mayhem. Castigation for last year’s misdeeds inflicted by a skulking fiend at midnight. Such chaos doesn’t sound like part of a time-honored Christmas festivity, but it is when Krampus is on the prowl. This menacing devil, popular in the Alpine tradition, actually predates the merry, philanthropic Saint Nicholas, or Santa, with whom many of us around the globe are familiar. Like Santa, Krampus, whose name derives from the old German word for claw, delivers judgment around the holidays. Unlike Santa, however, he finds a particular pleasure in focusing his efforts on the wicked. In fact, in some…Read More