Rosetta Stone is still the fastest way to learn a new language

Every language has its quirks. The gendered pronouns in French and Spanish can raise an eyebrow for some, and the verb placement in Japanese can confound English speakers. But when learning any new language, the brain pretty much works the same way: It needs total immersion. Rosetta Stone understands that better than anyone, and that's why they're still the go-to language software after 27 years in the business.

Their secret? In a way, there really isn't one. If you want to really make a new language stick, there aren't any shortcuts - so Rosetta Stone doesn't take any. What it does do is move easily from those fundamental first few words to key phrases with a presentation that makes you want to learn.

That presentation is primarily visual, with very few cues in your native language apart from the menus. You'll start by pairing some words of your chosen language to pictures of them that appear on the screen. As you move through the lessons, Rosetta Stone is great at using context to guide you into similar words, then joining those words into sentences. Before you know it, you'll have the key components to a conversation down pat.

Along the way, you'll get steered in the right direction by Rosetta Stone's TruAccent™ speech recognition tech, which not only corrects you on basic pronunciation but can compare your accent to that of a native speaker. And the newer online version of Rosetta Stone makes full use of its vast user base: You can enhance your language chops by playing games against other learners or get tutoring help if you want to go the extra mile. For travelers who want to do more than just find out where the bathroom is, it's the next best thing to being in the country.

You can pick up lifetime subscriptions to Rosetta Stone in your choice of new languages, all on sale for $199. Take your pick of Spanish, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, or US English,