I already tried Rosetta Stone, for a short time (so my review could be not exactly the best), also a lot of methods for learning languages. And I get very impressed when I see people talking about it.
Here are my thoughts about Rosetta Stone software:
The learning system is repetitive. (this is the principle of it, but it didn't work for me) Images and words appear so many times in a lesson. It's likely that you will be bored in the middle of it.
The correction system is automatic. You will talk, and the software will analyse your voice and compare with the correct.
Something I find important: you won't have the support and be motived from others.
Also, the cost of Rosetta Stone is VERY high. I think it's not worth, all in all.
So has anyone here used Rosetta Stone to become fluent in French?
Please tell me which version of the software you used.
Well, fluency is a hard thing to get. But it's tangible, of course. Even in 1 year. If you study and have discipline, it's perfectly doable.
Well, about FREE alternatives, there are a lot of sites:
http://www.languagepod101.com Some things are free, but mostly are paid. (you can get a good discount, googling)
http://pt.babbel.com/ Very nice site, clean and intuitive.
http://french.about.com/library/reviews/aatp-toolsb.htm About.com site is very good to give you an idea about any language. Very recommended.
Here are my golden tips for you:
- Create a blog. When you create a blog, search for content to post and think about how to write it, you learn a lot.
- Have a notebook When you handwrite something, you fix it easier than just seeing and typing in the keyboard.
- Talk and write with native speakers. This is very interesting, because only reading a book will never give you fluence. Also, it's fun!
- Buy magazines and books. They are interesting and help you increase your vocabulary. One great is Écoute: http://www.ecoute.de/
- Travel guide and dictionary. Both are very handy for conversations and quick search. After sometime, a monolingue will be better.
But you will ask, where to find native people willing to talk and help you with languages?
I know these two good websites:
You can chat directly from the site, watch lessons, do exercises and have your exercises reviewed by natives. And all for free (there is a premium version for both, but it's not needed).
Also, french have two courses: French 101 (for vocabulary) and Active French (listening and speaking)
Just to give you an idea about how good Livemocha is: I have talked with several people around the years, even met a teacher of french for foreigners, made friends and partners of learning.
And finally, here you can write anything you want (texts or questions), and get a quick answer: