Unless you’ve opted out of popular culture altogether, you’ve undoubtedly been exposed to the marketing efforts of Rosetta Stone, a computer-based language learning system. Rosetta Stone isn’t cheap – it costs over $500 for all three levels of Chinese, for example – so unless you’ve got cash to burn, or are unusually in need of language learning, it’s likely not something you’re going to pick up for your home computer.
Fortunately you now have another option: the open-minded folks at the University of PEI have opened their fancy new Mac-based language lab to regular everyday Islanders for free when it’s not being used otherwise.
To start, just go to the circulation desk in the Robertson Library and ask them to set up a free Rosetta Stone account for you; they’ll ask you which language you want to study, and you’re free to select as many as you like (we choose Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Latin American Spanish). They’ll give you a username and a password, and you’ll need these to sign in to Rosetta Stone.
Next, just find a time when the language lab is free; unfortunately there isn’t a place on the web for this information yet, so you have to contact the library to find out. You can walk right into the language lab without a need to sign up or check in: it’s at the end of the hallway where the catalog terminals are located and through a metal door with a “language lab” sign on the door.
Once inside you just pick a free computer, sign into the computer itself with the computer’s own username and password that are on a sticky note on the screen, and then start the Rosetta Stone application (it’s the weirdly-shaped blue icon on the dock on the bottom of the screen) and sign in with the username and password you got at the circulation desk.
From there, just follow the instructions.