Language Versatility Saves Money

booksI have far too many books, my wife argues. Of course, she is wrong; no one owns too many books. I try not to provoke her, though, so I don’t flash my newly acquired darlings as I pull them out of our mailbox. I get most of my books in the mail, as very few bookstores in Norway offer the volumes I desire. I buy new books from new-book Internet shops, and old books—all the way back to Latin volumes from the 1500s—from antiquarian-book websites. To my delight, I discovered I can save a lot of money by having studied foreign languages.

Our local newspaper ran a captivating article on reporters’ tendency to present biased information about Michael Jackson during his infamous trial. He was acquitted, but, the article argues, slanted media reports were detrimental to Jackson’s reputation. I knew I had to get hold of a book mentioned in the piece, so I powered up my computer to search my favourite secondhand-book website.

I was appalled to learn that the book was only available in hard cover, and that the cheapest one offered cost nearly two hundred dollars! The most expensive among these—in mint condition—cost several hundred dollars more than a complete Rosetta Stone course comprising Levels 1–5. (By the way, I have just completed such a course, all five levels, in French.)

What if there happens to be a French version of the book? I thought. If so, then I might get it for less, with the added benefit of learning more French at the same time! Voilà! Indeed, it was printed in French and in softcover too. The entry price for the French version was about fifteen dollars. Perfect. I reached for my credit card and ordered it promptly.

A question naturally arises: Is it possible to understand such a book with a Level 1–5 background?  I say it is. I have to consult a dictionary for many words, but I can readily swallow surprisingly large chunks of text. Another effect is that I more accurately recall what I’ve read since I’ve had to fully focus to extract meaning from the paper.

It does not end there: the other day I boldly purchased a book about a Renaissance painter that is only available in Italian. I love this widening of options. Learning foreign languages is worth it in surprising ways.

  • Andy

    I absolutely agree, Petter! As a Rosetta Stone user currently entering Level 5, I have recently acquired the French edition of the first book in the Harry Potter series. It has been said that this series is an excellent way to help one increase his/her language knowledge because the books progress in complexity with each entry of the series. And I have come to the same discovery: The general context of the sentences themselves becomes immediately understandable without the need to “decode” pieces of the sentence to unmask the meaning. Often new words appear in the flow of an otherwise fully comprehensible sentence, thus allowing the reader to infer their meaning through context.

    Contrary to some misguided opinions, the magic of Rosetta Stone is not in its large offering of vocabulary, but in the ability to comprehend how all these terms fit together to convey meaning. I’m sure I am not alone in wishing to know what other books you’ve found to be ideal to grow one’s language with, once that learner has reached Level 5 of the course.

  • http://whitehindu.blogspot.com CM

    That is brilliant. I never thought of how knowing more languages would allow me to shop around in books!

  • bharat thapa

    So Rosetta stone does works….nice to hear that right now i am using it and i am on level2 of latin american spanish.
    Hope by the end of level5 i’d be proficient enough to understand spanish to some extent. 🙂

    • Rosetta Stone

      Keep it up, Bharat! Have you been able to try a Studio session yet?

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