I just started using Rosetta Stone to supplement my self directed Japanese language study. Today I completed Lesson 1 of unit 1 from the course Japanese 1.
Rosetta Stone was much more than I expected. It creates a good balance between each of the necessary language skills: speaking, reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar.
My personal favorite sections are speaking. Rosetta Stone utilizes the built in microphone in my macbook and uses voice detection and audio analysis to gauge the correctness of your pronunciation. The feature is spot on and it really helps because spoken Japanese is my weakest language area.
The vocabulary was a good selection of basic words and phrases. Hello (こんにちは), goodbye (さようなら), girl(女の子), boy(男の子), man(男の人), woman(女の人). Also with phrases like “the boys are reading books” (男の子たちは本を読んでいます).
There were two instances where I continually had difficulties pronouncing words. the “hito” in “otokonohito” (おとこのひと – man) and the word “ryouri” (りょうり – to cook) used to trip me up quite a bit. Through pronunciation practice I have a much better handle.
It is also worth mentioning the ability to learn characters in kanji with furigana (kanji with small hiragana above to show pronunciation). It surprises me but I am starting to understand pairings of kana as words in themselves rather than translating them into romaji in my mind. Eventually I will see the kana for 男の子 and know that it means boy.
On to lesson two!