The incredible benefits of learning another language go beyond ordering from a menu in the local language (though that’s undeniably awesome). Preparing for a trip abroad by incorporating a minimum grasp of basic travel phrases and polite phrases including hello, thank you, please, good-bye, good morning and good night is always a good idea — but delving seriously into a foreign language can give you a deeper understanding of a culture, along with an awareness and appreciation for how language and culture intersect. It’s also a wonderful adventure in its own right that families can share while marking off the days before heading to the airport.
While multiple options exist for language learning that include books, audio courses and private teachers, one of the most versatile options is an online course such as Rosetta Stone that’s time-flexible and can fit into busy family schedules. We spoke with Andrea Riggs, senior director of communications, Rosetta Stone Inc., to find out how to make the most of learning a new language.
WhereverFamily.com: Learning words and phrases to prepare for a trip abroad has many advantages, and helps travelers to more fully immerse into a different culture. For traveling families of various ages, do you think it’s better to try learning as a group, or individually?
ANDREA RIGGS: Ultimately, the best way to learn a language is to surround yourself with it, and learning as a group is a great way to do that because it increases your ability to practice out loud. One fun and interactive way to learn is with our Seek and Speak feature, which allows users to point their phone’s camera at an object in specific categories and instantly receive a translation in their language of choice. It’s perfect as a group exercise to see who can find and translate objects the fastest.
Rosetta Stone also has a Phrasebook feature, great for traveling families. Phrasebook includes everyday phrases useful in common situations, such as meeting people, dining out and staying in a hotel. It’s the perfect on-the-go tool since it offers quick access to the essentials, and is available both online and off.
WhereverFamily.com: What are your top tips for getting the most out of Rosetta Stone?
AR: One of the best ways to the get the most out of Rosetta Stone and language learning in general is to make it part of your daily routine. We know finding time to sit down and learn a language is often one of the biggest barriers for people, which is why we recently introduced Your Plan, which enables users to schedule their own practice times and reminders, and it’s popular. Also, be patient and don’t be too hard on yourself — everyone struggles at first. Enjoy the challenge and know it’s well worth the reward!
WhereverFamily.com: Is it ever too late to master another language?
AR: Rosetta Stone is used by people of all ages, and we firmly believe it is never too late to learn a new language. The most important factor in language learning is ensuring you make time to practice, practice, practice!
WhereverFamily.com: What additional language or languages have you personally learned, and what were your own challenges?
AR: I’ve personally learned both Spanish and French with Rosetta Stone. The biggest challenge for me was French pronunciation, which did not come easily to me! The Rosetta Stone speech recognition engine is fine-tuned so you can’t get away with shortcuts to proper pronunciation, which can be really frustrating but it’s so awesome when you finally get it right! I’ve learned to try to make the journey of learning a new language just as fun and enjoyable as arriving at fluency.
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