Rosetta Stone acquires the rights to endangered languages

James J. Mischler mischlerj at
Thu Jan 20 18:19:39 UTC 2011

Wendy and all,

I wonder if *any* program has been found, via controlled research study, to aid in the learning of a language.  Wendy said that there are programs that are better than Rosetta Stone; what are they? Is there any data to support the view that the program(s) did in fact aid learning?

Jim Mischler
Assistant Professor
Language & Communication
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Natchitoches, LA

-----Original Message-----
From: funknet-bounces at [mailto:funknet-bounces at] On Behalf Of Wendy Smith
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2011 12:07 PM
To: Keith Johnson
Cc: funknet at
Subject: Re: [FUNKNET] Rosetta Stone acquires the rights to endangered languages

This is amazing. I tried to use Rosetta Stone to get started in Russian, 
and it was hopeless. They say that their materials are based on child 
acquisition theory and research--therefore direct immersion with no 
direct instruction. As someone who has studied SLA, I found this to be 
patently ridiculous. Adult second language learners do not learn in the 
same way as first language acquirers. In addition, the core of the 
materials are made up of isolated useless sentences such as "the women 
are cooking" and "the boys are not reading." My brother-in-law, who 
works in the biotech industry (in other words, no linguistics training 
or knowledge) insisted to me that if you just do the program, you will 
learn Russian. However, a month after he returned from his trip to Saint 
Petersburg he could not remember the words for "where" or "when." It is 
virtually impossible to "acquire" (as RS states) a language in your car 
or at your computer, but there are other programs that help introduction 
to the language way better than Rosetta Stone.

On 1/20/2011 8:50 AM, Keith Johnson wrote:
> Hi Funksters,
> My subject heading is intentionally provocative, but this article 
> raises a couple of
> issues.  Is it a good thing for Rosetta Stone to have an endangered 
> languages
> unit?
> Keith Johnson

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