What’s a Word’s Worth?

Oh, wondrous power of words, by simple faith licensed to take the meaning that we love! –William Wordsworth, The Prelude: Book Seventh: Residence in London

totale screenshot1To make your language-learning experience as efficient and effective as possible—in Rosetta Stone and beyond—we carefully select the words you learn in each of our programs. The total number varies from one language to the next because each language uses words differently to build structures and express meaning.  So how do we go about it?

When building a specific language program, here’s what we keep in mind when we choose which words to teach:

  • a word’s usefulness as a building block for acquiring language structures;
  • its relevance to common situations;
  • and how natural it is to use in everyday speech.

This means that we choose just the right words—and the right number of words—to help you develop your language skills, especially your communication skills. In English levels 1-5, for example, you use just over 2,500 unique words to develop your command of the language, and you’ll encounter each of those words repeatedly in multiple contexts and activities. Just think of the practice you get with every word. Imagine the range of new language structures you master and how comfortable you become using those words in conversations.

It’s our commitment and a point of pride that we actually teach you the words we use; we don’t drench you in a flood of words and call it teaching. So, in Rosetta Stone programs you won’t memorize long vocabulary lists. You will, however, develop the essential skill of learning new words in context—inside Rosetta Stone and when you’re away from it—and you’ll acquire the confidence to use those words on the spot in everyday conversations. How easily you retain the words you learn, and how well you can use them in conversations, demonstrates the true value of our language-learning solutions.

You could think of it this way: language-learning programs are a lot like recipes. A recipe packed with ingredients doesn’t ensure a great meal; great meals depend on the quality (not quantity) of the ingredients and the ingenuity of the recipe. At Rosetta Stone, our “recipes”—the sequences of language and images—lead you to discover the meaning of new language on your own, and to use that new language every day. Bon appétit!

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Duane Sider

Duane Sider, director of learning for Rosetta Stone Ltd., is passionate about changing the way the world views language learning. In his role, Duane has introduced Rosetta Stone® solutions and the joy of the language-learning journey to a variety of audiences through numerous speaking engagements worldwide. Additionally, Duane has authored a number of articles and papers on immersion methodology in second-language acquisition. Duane joined the company’s international operations in 1997, became director of learning in 2003, directing domestic and international training programs, and assumed his current responsibilities in 2008. Prior to joining Rosetta Stone he taught literature, philosophy and aesthetics at the university level for 14 years. Throughout his career, Duane has traveled, performed and taught extensively throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, promoting international communication and advocating new technologies in education. Duane holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Messiah College and a Master of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Virginia. He has written two plays, a collection of poetry and manages a theater company in Virginia.
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