I’ve been realizing that Spanish is so dang useful here in Southern California.  Plus, as slowly I’ve been getting to experience a little bit of Latino culture (well, mostly their food…), I’ve been wanting to learn their language (so I can order more than tacos and burritos).  So I seized upon the Black Friday/Cyber Monday/whatever-you-call-it opportunity to purchase Rosetta Stone Español for $374 + tax = $406.73 (normally $500+tax).

So this series will be about the Spanish I learn and hilarious adventures that arise from my trying to use it in real life.


Level 1, Unit 1:  Language Basics, Lesson 1

It seems that Rosetta Stone is teaching me Spanish without using English.  Usually, you learn a new language through the language you already know, but Rosetta Stone makes you associate the new language directly to the concepts.

Traditional way:        Spanish word → English translation → Concept/Object
Rosetta Stone way:  Spanish word → Concept/Object

At least so far, when it teaches me a new word, it gives me just enough examples and information so that I can deduce what the new word means.  For example, if in the earlier part of this lesson, I had learned to associate

la mujer with “woman”,
las mujeres with “women”, and
nada with “swim”,

then from the given pictures I can deduce that corre is associated with something like “runs”.  (I say “associate” because Rosetta Stone doesn’t tell me definitions.  I just hope that my brain has made the correct links between the Spanish words and the concepts.)

Rosetta Stone 1.1.1a


After learning some words, I got pretty good at clicking the correct pictures, even though I wasn’t processing the Spanish phrases via English in my brain.  It’s weird to realize that my brain seems to know something before I have a chance to put it into words.  Then I wondered, am I really learning Spanish, or am I learning to associate the phrases to just these specific pictures?  Then perhaps reading my mind, Rosetta Stone began to throw new pictures for old concepts.

Rosetta Stone 1.1.1b

For example, I had learned to associate El niño come with a picture of a white boy eating an apple.  But when Rosetta Stone threw in this Asian boy eating some mysterious plate of food, I knew that El niño come was still referring to this not-white-boy-eating-apple picture.  Of course, Rosetta Stone had taught me to translate El niño come into something related to “the boy eats,” so I would have figured it out with a few seconds of conscious thought, but the subconscious mind could connect the dots faster than I could translate it via English.


Rosetta Stone also checks my pronunciation.  I don’t know how the technology works, but I just tried my best to repeat what I heard and it said whether it was good enough or not.  I had a hard time pronouncing “mujer” and “corre”, but apparently Rosetta Stone has low standards for speech.

Unfortunately, it can’t tell me what I said wrong, so I have no idea why sometimes my 1st pronunciation was wrong but my identical (to me, at least) 2nd pronunciation was correct.

Rosetta Stone 1.1.1c


Anyways, I finished Level 1 Unit 1 Lesson 1 and learned a total of 34 words!  What an accomplishment!  I’m not at a level where I can have a coherent conversation in Spanish, so that hilarious moment will have to wait.  Until then, ¡adiós!

  • hola, adiós
  • una, un
  • niña, niñas, niño, niños
  • la, las, el, los
  • come, comen
  • bebe, beben
  • mujer, mujeres, hombre, hombres
  • corre, corren
  • lee, leen
  • él, ellos, ella, ellas
  • cocina, cocinan
  • nada, nadan
  • escribe, escriben

Simeon Koh