Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: Week Six into the Rosetta Stone TOTALe Program


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Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: Week Six into the Rosetta Stone TOTALe Program Listen to this article



When I left off last week, I was near the end of Unit 2, which meant a lot of review work and another upcoming milestone. Would this milestone slay me as the first one had? Would I finally “get” the difference between morado (purple), marrón (brown), gris (gray), conoso (gray) and conosa (gray)?

Before I jump into the end of Unit Two, I wanted to take a look and see if I had earned any more stamps past the “Getting to know you” one I’d earned when I first started and the Animals one I’d earned around the end of Unit One; the answer was evidently not! I am not sure if these are something that you can actively work on, or if they are just a reward as you get through different sections, but I am only holding two lowly stamps.


If there is another way to earn the stamps, I haven’t yet found it, but hopefully I’ll start amassing more of them soon.


One thing that has proven a bit frustrating to me is that you really must have a broadband connection to use all of the TOTALe features like the Duo and Studio Sessions. While there is no doubt that in most areas broadband speeds are readily available, there are still people who have to rely upon dialup or satellite (like me). I’m guessing that users in other countries might run into some of the same issues.

The good news is that I can still play at least two of the games, and since I enjoyed Gambo before, I decided to give it a try again.


Nice! Not only did the bingo card and speaker change, this speaker is a bit harder to follow and she speaks much faster!


No worries though! I did all right. 🙂


Okay, enough distractions – I jumped back into solid review mode, practicing basic greetings and asking for or giving names…


Ah, they threw a little bit of a curve into this: Instead of only having one apartment number in the following scenario, there were two. Okay, so he lives in eight, and she lives in two. The couple on the bottom left live in Rome, and the guys on the right in Moscú.


It had taken me a while to learn that cerca was “near” and lejos was “far”. What Rosetta should have done was embed an animation of Grover from Sesame Street running to and fro, calling out “¡Cerca!”….”¡Lejos!” I would have gotten that connection immediately.


Here are the colors – gris (gray), morado (purple), rosado (pink) marrón (brown), naranja (orange), azul (blue), amarillo (yello), and verde (green). Of these, green may be my favorite color, but orange is my favorite to say – it’s nah-rrang-hah.


This was a fun exercise; instead of obvious answers, I had to choose the question and the answer – all based on what the pictures revealed. So in the first one, I matched “what color is your sweater?” to “your sweater is blue.” On the second one, the question would be “what color is you suit?” “my suit is gray.” On the last it would be “what color is your hair?” “your hair is brown.” Yes, I am finally getting it. 🙂


Which is a good thing, because without going much further, it was time for…the dreaded Milestone. Except, this time I didn’t mind it as much. I was armed with the knowledge of how to pause and how to figure out the right thing to say. Whether or not I understood or said it right was all on me, and I think I did very well.

So here’s how the second milestone goes. Judging by my manly hands rifling through my bag, I’m a man! This is just like an episode of Quantum Leap, but in reverse. Okay…so getting into character, I look through my bag and find…juggling balls! Not only am I a man, but I am a man with skillz!


Ah cool; I caught the eye of the pretty girl traveling with a younger boy. Because I am such a good juggler, she asks for my name. I am Paulo Lima, of course.


And she is quick to make introductions all around, confirming that this is her brother. He tells me that his name is Pei-li. They are from China, and no one has told them not to talk to strangers juggling on the bus.


When asked where I’m from, I point to the patch on my bag, “I’m from Brazil [duh!].”


Since I’m an approachable guy, we chat for a minute. I’m still trying to think of a way to break the ice, so I reach in my bag. In a compartment next to my juggling balls, I keep a bunch of oranges.This is because you never know when you will meet a pretty girl and her kid brother on the bus. I bet if I offer her one, she won’t take it, but her brother sure will.


Yep, I called it. She declines, but when I ask if he’s hungry, Pei-li says yes. I think I heard his tummy growl, too.


They get off at the next stop, and we say our goodbyes. But wait! What is this? She left a book…a reason to chase her down and get her phone number has appeared! Maybe she even left it on purpose!


“[Hey baby], is this your book?”

“It is my book,” she answers with a huge grin.


I really didn’t mean to drop it…but I wanted to see what was inside without being too obvious.


“Is this your family?”

“Yes, this is my family.”


“Where do you live?” I ask.

“We live in a city near Beijing,” she replies.

“Good…then you won’t mind when I suddenly show up there next month!” I say, kicking into stalker mode…


She’s totally buying my nice guy act… “You thirsty?” she asks. “Yes, thank you,” I reply.


Her prior appointments forgotten, we go sit on a park bench and chat while I work on getting her phone number. I give her brother my juggling balls so he’ll let us talk…alone.


I even act impressed when he manages to master an easy juggling move.


The End.


Heh. I really need to quit reading so many suspense novels. 😉

This week I made an effort to use to the Rosetta Stone CDs that I had ripped to iTunes when taking walks. Repeating things after the native speakers really seemed to help my conversational ease, and I think they are helping with my pronunciation, too.

Next, I begin Level One Unit Three.



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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Editor in Chief of Gear Diary, Secular Humanist, techie, foodie, hoarder of Kindle eBooks, lover of live music, and collector of passport stamps.