Rosetta Stone acquires the rights to endangered languages

Wendy Smith wsmith at
Thu Jan 20 18:29:35 UTC 2011

no language programs can effect language acquisition or learning (in the 
case of the adult brain we say 'learning,' not acquisition). I have been 
using Pimsleur which I have found to be quite good in providing the 
sounds of the language and some useful conversation. It is still 
repetition and memory, which does not equate SLA. I am now repeating 
these dialogues in my sleep (!) but when I try to speak to a native 
speaker, it all goes out the window. I am counting on immersion--I will 
be in Belarus for 4-5 months as of Monday. (I know of no controlled 
study of any program--but it doesn't mean they haven't been done--I 
would check ACTFL for that information).

On 1/20/2011 10:19 AM, James J. Mischler wrote:
> 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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