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Mon, Apr. 13th, 2009, 08:21 pm
stateofwonder: teach-yourself systems

Has anyone tried the Rosetta Stone system to learn Kiswahili, or any other language? Was it worth the outrageous price? Alternatively, what other teach-yourself language systems have you found helpful in learning Kiswahili?

Tue, Apr. 14th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)

Rosetta Stone is all about language immersion...and that's a great thing. It's how I feel you can really get a language to become a part of your everyday life. However, there is little to no cultural immersion, and without the cultural context a lot of the stuff you learn loses meaning...also the pictures are sometimes vague and you are not sure exactly what the words are relating to.

It depends on what you're trying to use the program for. As a general basis, it's average at best. I find it's flaws outweigh it's pluses. If you have a public library you can check to see if they have any to loan. (They might not have kiswahili but you can check out any of the languages) All the pictures they use are the same...it's only the text that changes.

(I apologize for all the horrible grammar/spelling mistakes...it's an ungodly hour here...-_-;)

Hope it helps! Good luck!

Tue, Apr. 14th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)

Thanks for the response! And for the library suggestion, I'll definitely check that out (I don't know why I never think of the library.. my mom's even a librarian!). I lived in Kenya for some time, so I have a good idea of cultural context, but I'm not sure if the program would be really helpful for me or not, especially because they only have level 1 and I already have a some basics.

It sounds like it probably wouldn't be worth it, I'll still see if I can loan it out though.

Tue, Apr. 14th, 2009 05:18 am (UTC)

I'm to the intermediate level. FSI has the best course, if you actually want to be fluent. There are so many resources online offered for free (or you can burn a lot the audio to make portable) I posted it for another individual who asked here:


There are several full online courses offered by universities for free use (on purpose). I found that mixing it up helps: games, books music, movies (a lot on youtube), different courses because they cover different info at different points so it stays fresh and fun.

Tue, Apr. 14th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)

Thank you so much!

Tue, Apr. 14th, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)

If you are interested in studying on your own, i'd recommend reading "how to learn any language" by barry farber. He has a lot of useful tips and tricks that I've used when studying Swahili (and other languages) both in class and by myself.

Tue, Apr. 14th, 2009 10:44 am (UTC)

Rosetta Stone is great for learning the basic vocabulary and it's fun too. You also learn how to compose simple sentences real fast and since the input is visual and auditory, everything is memorable short- as well as long-term.

For looking up words, I used the dictionary over at the kamusi project: http://www.kamusiproject.org/

I think they also offer lessons, but I didn't try them out.

Sun, May. 17th, 2009 08:36 am (UTC)

I use the kamusi from kamusiprojekt too, esp when I found a word and hove no idea what the "root" of this word might be. This online kamusi slice the word in all its parts, al suf-in-post-fixe for time person or relation.

Its great

I try to learn kiswahili in an evening class, but I not very pleased with it. We learn lots of grammer but dont really spoke. Now I am in the middle of the second semester and we slightly started. But we are so filled with grammer that we can think of simple sentences.