Rosetta Stone Learning is computer-assisted language learning software and is published by Rosetta Stone Inc. The software offers users lessons on a wide range of languages through immersive learning by incorporating images, sounds and texts. The software is named after an ancient stone slab discovered in Memphis that had inscriptions engraved in three distinct writing systems. Rosetta Stone Inc. released the first version of the Rosetta Stone Learning software in 1992 and has since released four other versions with the most recent “Rosetta Stone Language Learning 5.0.13”, which was released in October 9th, 2014. After the ‘installation, the user can access language lessons that include typing lessons using different writing and pronunciation systems through the Audio Companion. According to the software license agreement, the user obtains a license that allows the software to be used when purchasing the software and can only be used jointly by up to five family members.
Language program at risk
In 2004, Rosetta Stone established the program for endangered languages whose main objective is to revitalize endangered languages. The program operates in such a way that the organizations that contract the Endangered Language Program to develop software are the owners and custodians of the final product and allow the indigenous communities to have control over the language. The endangered language program is based in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Some of the languages that have passed through the program of endangered languages include Navajo, Mohawk, Chitimacha, Inuktitut, Inupiat and Chickasaw. All these languages except Inuktitut are taught at least level 2 with Inupiat who has lessons up to Level 3. However, none of the languages has the function of accompanying audio. Chickasaw’s critically endangered language estimated that 50 native speakers remained in the world and therefore its revitalization through Rosetta Stone’s Endangered Language Program was fundamental to language survival.
Rosetta Stone software has become the preferred language software for many users worldwide. The learning software has received numerous awards since it was released in 1992, including the 2009 Association of Educational Publishers Award, the 2009 CODie Award for Best Learning Solution and the 2009 Creative Child Media of Year Award among others.
Thanks to its simplicity and accuracy, the Rosetta Stone software has been adopted in recent years by the main institutions that have used the software for language lessons. One of these institutions is the United States Army contracting Rosetta Stone to offer American troops lessons in Arabic between December 2007 and September 2011. Lessons were needed for troops deployed in the Middle East and offered them skills necessary to engage in a basic Arab conversation. Other institutions that have used Rosetta Stone software include the United States Marine Corps and the US Air Force. In 2011, Rosetta Stone collaborated with James Madison University to develop an intensive Spanish language program to be used by students of the university, making James Madison University the first university to collaborate with the company. The Spanish language course takes place for 16 weeks and is accessible exclusively online.