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Rosetta Stone program - couple of clarifications requested

rjg 1 | 2  
14 Dec 2008 /  #1
So, I'm midway through lvl 1 - as a brief sidetrack, I've found the program very well designed, they introduce new vocabulary and then revisit it in later modules so that it sticks in your mind, and the whole system of learning through pictures seems pretty effective - and while I'm getting along reasonably well with nouns and verbs individually, given that it doesnt actually offer an English translation, I'm confused as to the exact meaning of some of the sentences I'm learning. For example, "dziewczynka nie prowadzi samochod" - obviously, the photo is a little girl in the passenger seat of a car. But does it translate in terms of a label to the photo, "a young girl, not driving a car", or is it more of a statement "young girls dont drive cars". If the former, what would the latter translate as?

Also, the one thing I've found difficult so far is when you're given two seeming identical pictures, with different forms of the same verb. The three examples are Oni płyną and Oni płwają, both above photos of people swimming; Dzieci biegają and Kobiety biegną, both above photos of young children and women running; and Oni chodzą and Dziewczynki idą, both above photos of people and young girls walking. What are the differences between the two verb forms in these examples?

I think this is at once the biggest advantage and the biggest disadvantage to the RS program. The Immersion method undoubtedly accelerates the pace at which you learn the vocabulary, but I have caught myself fondly remembering my Collins beginners program, where there was always a friendly translator on hand to tell you exactly what you were trying to say.
Vincent 9 | 805   Moderator
14 Dec 2008 /  #2
and while I'm getting along reasonably well with nouns and verbs individually, given that it doesnt actually offer an English translation

If you would like an English translation of this program, then pm me with an email address and I will send you a pdf file. You won't be able to do this though, until you have at least 3 posts. :)
HAL9009 2 | 304  
14 Dec 2008 /  #3
With RS you learn by trial and error......

...but a dictionary can be useful too.
You can download a good free PL-Eng dictionary here:
OP rjg 1 | 2  
14 Dec 2008 /  #4
If you would like an English translation of this program, then pm me with an email address and I will send you a pdf file. You won't be able to do this though, until you have at least 3 posts. :)

That'd be awesome. I guess this is my second...
wrobl - | 8  
14 Dec 2008 /  #5
I am also using the Rosetta Stone, and the exact same issues confused the hell out of me.

The difference between "Oni płyną and On płwają" really threw me to start with, and I ended up having to consult my grammar book, which basically said they are part of a determinate/indeterminate pair of verbs. If I understand it correctly, then it says something like this:

"Oni płyną" is a determinate action, in Rosetta Stone everyone is swimming in the same direction, you know what/when it is happening.

"Oni płwają" is an indeterminate action, in Rosetta Stone everyone is swimming in different directions. It is used to say things "I often go swimming". You can't determine when the swimming action is happening.

You will find similar differences with "idzie/chodzi" and "biegną/biegają".

"Teraz idę do kina" -> I am going to the cinema now. (Determinate action)
"Często chodzę do kina" -> I often go to the cinema. (Indeterminate action)

The Rosetta Stone is great for learning vocabulary, but it is really bad when it comes to the grammar. The later units get worse, I remember in the unit that deals with numbers, anything after the number 5 has a different word ending and uses "is" instead of "are". I later found out, that after the number 5, you use the genitive case and treat it as a single collection of items, e.g.

"Tu są trzy samochody" -> Here are 3 cars (Notice the są (are))
"Tu jest pięć samochodów" -> Here are 5 cars. (Notice the jest (is) and word ending has changing for samochod).

I would highly recommend that you use additional materials along with Rosetta Stone, otherwise, you will get very frustrated. It is is designed/supposed to teach you without having to translate back into English, but Polish grammar is so difficult at times and different that it needs to be explained.

Hope this helps
OP rjg 1 | 2  
14 Dec 2008 /  #6
Yeah, thanks, that helps a great deal. As far as additional materials go, I started with a beginners course by Collins bought from amazon, which I actually found really well structured and laid out, but obviously the rate at which you learn is relatively slow compared to RS. I also have a couple of phrasebooks/dictionaries, what materials do you have that are very strong in terms of teaching the grammatical rules?
wrobl - | 8  
14 Dec 2008 /  #7
I have "Basic Polish: A Grammar and Workbook" by Dana Bielic which is a really good book with plenty of exercises and good explanations.

I also have "Colloquial Polish, The Complete Course for Beginners", which seems to work really well with the above book as you can work on the same topics at the same time, e.g. You cover the accusative case to start with in both books and they really complement each other well.

I found the rate of learning very slow when just using the books alone, hence why I purchased RS, which teaches you words relatively quickly. I am about half way through both books at the moment, and I intend to get the 'Intermediate Grammar' book once I have finished.

Also, having a Polish girlfriend to practice with really helps :).
tonykenny 18 | 131  
15 Dec 2008 /  #8
I don't like Rosetta Stone much. It has been useful for helping me remember some lexis but all verbs are given in 3rd person singular, sometimes plural. Therefore, at least the version I have, isn't much good for really learning the language.

There is also BYKI (Before You Know It) which seems very good for learning words, but so far the only real way to learn the language has been to go out and speak it.

Getting over the nerves has been the hardest part for that!
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
15 Dec 2008 /  #9
I agree, getting stuck in in amongst native speakers is how I learned. Maybe I'm a bad example, lol
tonykenny 18 | 131  
15 Dec 2008 /  #10
Nope, far from a bad example. I read the first part of a book called "The Third Ear" and this guy became advanced in Chinese in a matter of a few months by doing just that. Afterall, as he says, we come into this world with an empty mind and learn our native tongue just by experiencing and copying. He even goes as far as to say that schooling is maybe the worst way to learn a language.

So, practice, practice, practice is what I shall have to do, with somehow trying to remember words with self study to speed up the process. I'm not yet at the level where watching movies is anything more than the perfect way to become very frustrated with not understanding.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
15 Dec 2008 /  #11
Rote learning is fine if those subjects to it have absolute concentration but the human mind is not infallible and attention wavers.

The Japanese, for example, rote learn. However, a combination of perfectionism and shyness hinders them, making them reticent and ineffectual at times.

There are numerous factors involved, as ever.
tonykenny 18 | 131  
15 Dec 2008 /  #12
The best way, for me, would be to be in a village somewhere with no English speakers, no computer, nothing English whatsoever, only Polish. Just 3 months of this if I was speaking all day, every day and I'm sure I'd be advanced.

I'm in 2 minds as to if I would benefit from having a dictionary or not. I think not.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
15 Dec 2008 /  #13
Total immersion, yeah. I was in a city in Japan but it was in the countryside in the Prefecture which has the lowest population density. I learned a lot through necessity.
Bondi 4 | 142  
15 Dec 2008 /  #14
The only serious drawback of this kind of immersion is that when you are in civilisation, you need to write and read. Just see how many people can speak and understand English, but can’t read it. And lots of them think they can speak it, but they know no grammar, thus speak and articulate in a horrible way.

Everyone has to take the time to sit down and learn grammar -- unless you are alright with some Pidgin Polish... :)
tonykenny 18 | 131  
15 Dec 2008 /  #15
I hear what you are saying, but grammar is no good without vocab. Therefore, I would continue my learning with grammar and such after the total emmersion. Just as we do as native speakers, we learn to speak our language then go to school to learn to write it and speak it properly.

My professional opinion as a language teacher is that it's better to have many words and dogy grammar than to have perfect grammar and not enough words to put in place.

Imagine going to a restaurant and asking, "Please would you be so kind as to bring me a adsflasdklfue".
When another person says "Please, sausages".
The later will get what they want, the former will get nothing.

It's swings an roundabouts really, it's all important, but at my low level, having the words is my pain priority because only then can I really make any use of the grammar. And returning to the first reason for joining this thread, my opinion of Rosetta Stone is that it's not much good for learning anything other than 3rd person, unless they have totally rewritten it since the version I have. I didn't even learn the word "I", or "I would like", or "please" or "thank you". Nonetheless, it has been very useful for building lexis, not least because the pictures were so damned hard to figure out they have been permanently etched into my memory!

good luck all!


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