With a wealth of possibilities available today to learn a language, it feels as if the world has truly become smaller. The options are endless, from language schools, to language travel courses, distant learning, and professional software packages to make language learning easier.
One software solution, which has been around since 1992, is Rosetta Stone. I tried Rosetta Stone already in 1998, when my interest in learning Chinese was growing steadily. Although it was quite costly, me being a student at that time, I bought the software package and started exploring. For me, it was the first time using a software solution like this, and also engaging into a self-learning course.
My first impression of Rosetta Stone was great. The software is greatly organized, it is intuitive, clear, and simple. The Rosetta Stone courses are based on how a person naturally learns a language as a child. The course starts with simple words and basic phrases, represented by pictures, becoming more complex as one advances through the course.
Still, one of the major issues I faced during my self-study course was the discipline to continue the course over a longer period. Studying the language using a software solution is fun, but the fun part starts diminishing slowly when the words and phrases become longer. At a certain point, one realizes that learning is just as an integral part of the learning process as fun.
To be honest, I quit using Rosetta Stone already in 1998, due to a lack of motivation, and different priorities. Additionally, using a software solution is great, but various language courses taught me that nothing can replace a real teacher, who can correct you in pronunciation, translation, and grammar. Therefore, I tend to see software packages as an additional bonus on top of traditional learning methods.