Alipé showed me the version for Mandarin, and it looks fun. One task asked him to match a photo to the sentence "This flower is big." Choice A was a tiny clover under a magnifying glass. Choice B was a little girl holding the stem of a two-foot-tall super-daisy. The girl was cute. The flower was cute. Good job, Rosetta Stone.
Anyhow, my reason for learning Italian is to visit Venice for a couple weeks this winter. That desire arose after I, along with every other woman in the United States, read the book Eat, Pray, Love. The "Eat" portion takes place in Italy. It was frivolous reading about the author spending her days eating pasta. Yet now I'm consumed with a desire to learn Italian. Good job, book.
However, I think this is a poor reason for choosing a new language to learn. It would be wiser to use factors like influence in world affairs and socio-literary culture, in which case Italian is not in the top ten.
Or I can learn from Richard Feynman's error, and base my decision on ridiculous reasons:
And since I didn't know yet where I was going to end up in South America, I decided to take Spanish, because the great majority of the countries there speak Spanish.
So when it was time to register for the class, we were standing outside, ready to go into the classroom, when this pneumatic blonde came along. You know how once in a while you get this feeling, WOW? She looked terrific. I said to myself, "Maybe she's going to be in the Spanish class - that'll be great!" But no, she walked into the Portuguese class. So I figured, What the hell - I might as well learn Portuguese.
I started walking right after her when this Anglo -Saxon attitude that I have said, "No, that's not a good reason to decide which language to speak." So I went back and signed up for the Spanish class, to my utter regret.
Some time later I was at a Physics Society meeting in New York, and I found myself sitting next to Jaime Tiomno, from Brazil, and he asked, "What are you going to do next summer?"
"I'm thinking of visiting South America."
"Oh! Why don't you come to Brazil? I'll get a position for you at the Center for Physical Research."
So now I had to convert all that Spanish into Portuguese!