I’m Sorry, What Did You Say?

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Dear Makers of Rosetta Stone Language Software,

I seem to have a problem I was hoping you could help me with. I have three beautiful, smart children. I know they are smart because their teachers tell me so, and this assertion is backed up by test grades and report cards. So, I have to assume the shortcoming in our relationship comes from me.

Now, when I was in high school and college I had to take a foreign language. I opted for Latin, given my desire to someday get paid to argue (lawyer) or get paid to fix little kids boo-boos with a kiss and a smile and maybe write them a ’script (doctor). I followed through on neither career choice, by the way.

So, while it makes me feel all smart and stuff that I can conjugate words like abstineô and tell you the root meaning of cerebr, it has very little everyday usefulness.

This is not the first time my lack of language skills has gotten me in trouble. I have been known on more than one occasion to greatly offend some of my Spanish-speaking friends by asking what seemed to be a simple question. While I am certain I said, “May I please borrow your restroom?” in fact, what I actually said is something along the lines of, “My chicken pooped on your grandmother’s toast.”

Yeah. Me? Not so good with the other languages.

I thought I had English down pretty well, though. However, there seems to be an issue with my dialect. Or accent. Or enunciation. Or something.

As I mentioned above, my kids are smart. Really. So, when I say, “Please go brush your teeth,” and they hear “Please go play your Nintendo DS,” I have no choice but to believe it is some failure on my part.

Just this morning …

I said: “Please hurry. We are running late.”
They heard: “Please try to set a world record for slowest walking human. EVER.”

I said: “Get dressed.”
They heard: “Why don’t you sit on your floor, wrapped in a towel, after your shower, and catch up on some reading?”

I said: “I am going to go brush my teeth. Please have all your school stuff by the door, ready to go.”
They heard: “Please, for Pete’s sweet sake, take everything you own out of your back pack and dump it in a pile in the middle of the living room floor so that you can verify the existence of your very favorite pencil because if you don’t have it there is simply no way you can do your schoolwork.”

So, as you can see, there is obviously a language barrier issue here. Maybe it is merely a dialect issue? Maybe it is a whole other language that I can’t possibly expect them to understand? Maybe I actually don’t make any sound at all and they are just doing the best they can trying to understand my nonexistent subtitles?

Either way, I clearly need your help. It is not them. It is me. I know that and have taken the first step to solving my problem. However, I looked all through your website. I found Swahili, Mandarin and even Persian. And while those sound like interesting languages to learn, they are not exactly applicable to my particular situation. At least I don’t think they are. Maybe that is my problem … I am not even sure what language my children understand.

Rosetta Stone, we are a family in crisis. What kind of mother can I be, if we can’t communicate effectively? I beg of you, please let me know exactly what software it is I need to purchase with three easy credit card payments of $39.95 plus shipping and handling? My family’s health, well being, and tooth brushing depends on you.

Thank you so much for your prompt attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Love,
Natalie



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