Rosetta Stone and “Falling out of Favor”: Claims without Empirical Support

Note: The following guest post by Stephen Krashen concerns an article recently reviewed on TBL.

by Stephen Krashen 

I comment on two statements in K. Nielson’s paper, “Self-study with language learning software in the workplace: What happens?” published in Language Learning and Technology, 2011, 15 (3): 110-129.

The first is the claim that Rosetta Stone is based on my work. Nielson cites Saury (1998), who cites promotional literature from Rosetta Stone saying that Rosetta Stone is based on the comprehension approach. I was not aware of this until Nielson’s paper brought it to my attention. I must point out that I have had no connection of any kind with Rosetta Stone. I played no role in developing its approach, nor have I analyzed it. I do not know if it is in reality consistent with my work. I am not responsible for Rosetta Stone’s failures or successes.

The second concerns Nielson’s statement that my work has “fallen out of favor in more recent SLA research” but provides no clear details or any citations. This statement violates a core academic principle of providing empirical support for claims.

I have attempted to respond to every empirical criticism of my positions since the 1970‘s and continue to do so. I have published far too many responses to list here, but the following are some of my responses published in the last decade (see also papers available at

Krashen, S. 2003. Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use: The Taipei Lectures. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Krashen, S. 2004. False claims about literacy development. Educational Leadership 61(6): 18-21.

Krashen, S. 2004. Skyrocketing scores: An urban legend. Educational Leadership 62(4): 37-39.

Krashen, S. 2005 Is In-School Free Reading Good for Children? Why the National Reading Panel Report is (Still) Wrong Phi Delta Kappan 86(6): 444-447.

Krashen, S. 2009. The Comprehension Hypothesis extended. In T. Piske and M. Young-Scholten (Eds.) Input Matters in SLA. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. pp. 81-94.

Krashen, S. 2009. Does intensive reading instruction contribute to reading comprehension? Knowledge Quest 37 (4): 72-74.

Krashen, S. 2010. The Goodman-Smith hypothesis, the input hypothesis, the comprehension hypothesis and the (even stronger) case for free voluntary reading. In P. Anders (Ed.), Defying Convention, Inventing the Future in Literacy Research and Practice: Essays in Tribute to Ken and Yetta Goodman. New York: Routledge.

Krashen, S. 2011. A note on error correction: The effect of removing one outlier in Ryoo (2007). International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 6(1): 5-6.

Krashen, S. 2011. Incidental acquisition of spelling competence: A re-analysis of Pérez Canado (2006). International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching 6(1): 15-24.


Saury, R.E. (1998). Creating a psychological foundation for the evaluation of pre-packaged software in second language learning. Proceedings of ED-MEDIA/ED-TELECOM 98 World Conference on Educational Telecommunications, Freiburg, Germany.  Available through ERIC.




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