Friday, February 17, 2012

Website of the Day - rosettastone.com

Rosetta Stone is the language learning program I have chosen.  I have signed up for a 1 yr online subscription to learn Italian.

What does this have to do with genealogy?  One of my lines (Peverelle) leads back to Italy where they were known as Peverelli.  I hope to someday visit Italy and do family research there and maybe even meet some distant Peverelli cousins there.  In the meantime, at Ancestry.com and familysearch.org I have access to Italian records, in Italian.  I am hopeful that after having completed the 5 levels of Italian, that I will be able to read the documents at least well enough for my genealogy purposes.

In time, I may even be able to post a few duplicate blog posts in Italian on my Italian ancestors, and even communicate in Italian with distant Italian cousins.  

In the long run, my hope is actually to acquire one ancestral language per year.  So for 2012 the language is Italian, next year it may well be German.

*updates Feb 23, 2012*

My husband has the German one.  We are both on the $20/mth TotalE plans, where you commit to one year of $20/mth and get access to all the levels and special online features.  It seems the languages that are available at this price rotates.  Usually it seems currently the price is $299 for one year.

I really enjoy the online features and the program in general.

From the time you begin, you receive no instruction in your native language.  Thru gradually introducing new pictures you learn the new language.  For example, at first you may see 4 pictures each a different colour, maybe red, blue, yellow and green.  And they are labeled in the language you are learning.  So you can see the words for each.  Now that you know those the next set of pictures maybe is a blue flower, a green house, a yellow ball and a red dress.  Since you know the colour, you now know the words for flower, house, ball, dress.  And it continues, using what you know to teach you the next thing you dont know.

There are different parts to each lesson.  You learn to spell and read and speak in the language.  You will speak into a headset microphone to make sure you are speaking correctly.

Then online, there are games you can play whenever you like.  So far I have only played the single player ones, but you can play with others as well (everyone has a screen name).

Also included is live sessions with a native speaker and a small group, but I havent tried this yet.

As you progress you earn badges.

Over the years I have tried other programs on my computer for language learning, but since trying Rosetta Stone I wouldnt even consider any other method.

I think I read somewhere that Rosetta Stone expects that each level will taken about 40-50 hours to complete.  Italian has 5 levels so thast about 200 hours.  Each level has 4 units, and each unit has lessons.

I am currently on Unit 2 of Level 1.  Examples of what I have learned so far: colours, numbers, on/in/under, names of family members, eating, drinking, where do you live, countries, what is your name/my name is/his name is, clothing, dishes, animals, standing/sitting/running/walking, big/small, man/woman/boy/girl and more.

I always admire my European cousins for their ability to speak/write in English as well as their native language.