If you have searched for a language app, you’ve likely heard of Rosetta Stone. This famous platform claims to play your way of learning a new language and helps you with real-life communication through an easy and practical method.
Is Rosetta Stone any good for language learners? Is it worth your time, money, and effort? What language can you learn? How effective is this language education app?
You may want to know whether it really works if you use this app to study a foreign language of your choice.
I’ve got all the answers to your questions. From features, how it works, pricing, benefits, drawbacks, and ratings, this article has all to assist you in making the right decision.
Let’s find out everything in this honest 2023 Rosetta Stone review.
I tried to be as detailed as possible. Thus, this review of Rosetta Stone is comprehensive. Use the table of contents to jump directly to the sections that are most interesting to you if you are short on time.
So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
- All About the Rosetta Stone App
- How does it work?
- Pros & Cons of Rosetta Stone
- Advantages of Rosetta Stone
- Disadvantages of Rosetta Stone
- How much does Rosetta Stone cost?
- My Rosetta Stone Review: Below Average 2.0/5
All About the Rosetta Stone App
This Rosetta Stone review will explore everything you need to know about this app.
What is Rosetta Stone?
Rosetta Stone is a prominent language education platform. Yet, it works differently from other language apps. This is because it is based on the company’s self-designed in-house learning process.
Rosetta Stone Inc. developed this computer-based language learning software. It is now part of the IXL Learning family after buying it in 2021.
Rosetta Stone is an American-based company headquartered in Arlington, VA. It also has offices in six countries, besides a few in the USA.
While it is less gamified than Duolingo and Memrise, it still has many parts you need to play to study a new language. It offers a more conventional teaching method and has courses in 25 languages.
In line with expectations, it is available on the Web, iOS, and Android. So you just have to download, create an account, subscribe, and get started.
The History of Rosetta Stone
Allen Stoltzfus founded Rosetta Stone. Because he struggled to learn Russian through traditional means, he got this innovative idea. Then, in the late 1980s, he set out to create a language-learning tool that would be effective.
But due to a lack of modern technology, he finally waited until he founded Rosetta Stone in 1992. This makes it one of the oldest and most well-known names among the language learning platforms.
It has a first-mover advantage and decades of market reputation. And that is why it expanded its user base, content, languages, and revenue. This led to the company becoming massive.
Who is Rosetta Stone For?
Language learning is a thrill ride. It is filled with excitement and a sense of accomplishment waiting at the end.
Despite many language advantages, most people face difficulties when learning a language. And you are not alone if you have the same problem.
Many businesses have developed language applications, software, or SaaS to solve this. It helps with translations, pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and more. One such choice is Rosetta Stone.
This language app teaches vocabulary and grammar. And it does without translating through images, text, audio, and video.
Rosetta Stone is for anyone who wishes to learn a new language through self-study. You gain unfamiliar words, phrases, and sentences. Also, you improve your speaking and listening abilities.
Combining real-life situations and visual games through bite-sized tasks helps to practice and learn. Further, it doesn’t bore you. Instead, it is pretty engaging, fun, relaxed, and flexible.
Whether you are an absolute beginner or have some existing background, Rosetta Stone has something for everyone.
What languages can you learn in Rosetta Stone?
As of today, Rosetta Stone offers courses in 23 languages for those who speak English and 2 for Non-English speakers.
This includes widespread languages like Arabic, French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Hindi. Besides, Dutch, Vietnamese, Farsi (Persian), and Turkish are also available.
Do you want to learn one dialect or variant? If so, you can select between Spanish from Spain or Latin America. Likewise, American and British English or Brazilian Portuguese.
This language-learning platform has many less spoken and rare tongues. E.g., Greek, Hebrew, Irish, Polish, Latin, Swedish, and Tagalog (Filipino).
How does it work?
From the beginning, it only uses your target language to teach a new language. It never teaches in the language you already know or speak.
It never shows you any translation, either. Instead, it guides all in photographs and untranslated audio and text. So you learn how to read, write, speak, and listen, all in a new, i.e., target language except the instructions.
The audio is based on your previous experience with that set of words or questions. So, you should be able to recognize everything, and context also supports your study.
Each unit includes a review of the topic covered in those classes and a ‘milestone’ exercise, a simulated discussion covering the unit’s subject.
You learn by completing activities in the program that typically begin with logical reasoning in your practice. Plus, most exercises involve visual cues and work to match the correct answer pattern and other mobile-friendly MCQs.
Rosetta Stone also uses a new language to write exercises and explains the essential grammar points. So it focuses on what you need to enrich and take your language skills to the next level.
Rosetta Stone’s main USP and Approach
People who valued immersion learning formed Rosetta Stone.
These entrepreneurs had studied languages in immersive situations while studying overseas. They intended to replicate this as close as possible to those who couldn’t travel.
Rosetta Stone follows a natural way of language learning called Dynamic Immersion. This concept is fascinating and valuable for many new learners.
This method does not use the language you are already familiar with. So, you must rely entirely on verbal cues and visuals to understand. And also to make assumptions, context, and previous lessons in the new language.
People who believe in the “learning a language like a child” philosophy might like this software’s approach and principle. This is how kids and we all learn the first language or mother tongue.
Rosetta Stone has one more unique feature. It uses the TrueAccent voice recognition engine built into the software to analyze word pronunciation.
The speaking component made by the organization adds to its immersive learning ideology. It encourages the user to retain what is already studied under pressure.
Rosetta Stone has many language courses. From Spanish and French to Japanese and Korean to Arabic and Persian. With 25 languages covering most major languages, it has a decent number of courses and studies.
You can learn vocabulary, sentence structure, and introductory phrases using Rosetta Stone’s language program on the website and mobile app.
With practically no written instructions, the app is highly intuitive. You may follow the lessons in order or skip ahead if they’re too simple.
You may also view which classes you have yet to complete and which ones you have finished. And your score for each one from a dashboard.
Rosetta Stone sets itself apart with its feature of live training. Once you have finished a software lesson, you can schedule a 25-minute video conference session with the trainer through “Live Tutoring.”
The trainers are pleasant, patient, and knowledgeable. This language teaching website offers excellent and experienced language instructors.
This software uses the slow learning method to the maximum.
The lessons are simple and stress-free methods, such as recollection and visual hints to help you learn. As a result, the progress is slow, and the challenges increase in making the process organic.
For example, you first learn basic nouns and verbs using deductive logic. Then it gets more challenging as you learn more verb forms and plurals (“he ran,” “she ran,” “they ran”), but it’s never complicated.
The course gives you much freedom regarding how you want to learn the information.
For instance, in each lesson, a core session precedes other modules like speaking, reading, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, listening, and review.
It’s simple to select the activities you want to do at any point. You could even toggle between the tasks. It makes it very easy to suit your speed.
Each language on the Rosetta Stone comes with 12 or 20 units of content. There is a different priority on vocabulary and language skills in each unit. The description is mentioned below:
- Units 1-4: Students build a foundation of basic words and structure through these units. For instance, greetings, introduction, shopping, simple Q&A, beginner listening, reading, and writing skills.
- Units 5-8: Learners can navigate their surroundings by building on the vocabulary and structure learned in units 1-4. It contains speaking without a script, transportation, dining out, interacting, giving directions, writing accurately, work, holiday, etc.
- Units 9-12: These parts build on the language fundamentals and conversational skills they gained in units 1-8. It comprises opinions, interests, events, everyday life, work, health, education, etc.
- Units 13-16: These units let learners grow in language understanding as they build on their success in units 1-12. It covers health, moving abroad, opinion, driving, professions, adventures, holidays, etc.
- Units 17-20: At this level, learners refine their communication skills gained in units 1-16 while growing their command of the language. It focuses on emergencies, government, entertainment, family, community, customs, celebration, opinions, marketplace, etc.
Pros & Cons of Rosetta Stone
Like any language app and software, Rosetta Stone has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Rosetta Stone
Here are some clear benefits associated with this language education program.
1. The design is pleasing and interactive
The software’s user interface is elegant and well-designed. For example, setting up microphones and doing sound checks with or without an external microphone is straight and successful.
Each course is essentially the same, no matter which language you’re studying. The sync between web SaaS and mobile apps, and vice versa, makes everything easy to follow.
The designs are user-friendly and easy to navigate. The dashboard also has all the relevant statistics to understand where you stand and what needs to be done next.
In short, the UI and UX Rosetta Stone are reliable, consistent, relaxed, and predictable.
2. The immersion method is effective
Speaking and thinking in your language are critical to language learning.
Most of us fear making errors in front of those who are already fluent. This can come across as inept in the language. Making such mistakes is the best way to learn the correct usage, but many would still be hesitant.
Rosetta Stone’s feature does an incredible job of breaking individuals out of that tendency. Hence, the immersive strategy helps language students.
The self-developed language learning method allows you to study and keep the information and vocabulary better. This results from being forced to learn it with no additional terms.
It heavily focuses on images and texts for understanding contextual grammar, and associative memory is heightened. This makes the learning process more efficient.
It centers more on informal learning. So it becomes easier for you to frame a discussion and talk rather than focusing on the structure or grammar and relying more on the speech pattern.
While it isn’t the same as conversing with a native speaker, it tries to encourage you to retain and recreate precise sentence structures and terms. This improves your ability to take part in a genuine discussion.
3. Flexible and convienent
It offers flexibility regarding which aspect of the language you want to prioritize.
It also gives the option to choose the type of vocabulary (work, food, hobby, travel, etc.). As an effect, it is a superb option for those intending to learn the language for specific purposes.
Rosetta Stone provides a section with extra information and games. You can play some of these alone. In contrast, others need you to collaborate with another student or a native speaker.
Like other widely used language apps, this app allows users to practice most conveniently. You can learn anywhere and anytime at your fingertip, from the lessons you left to wherever you want.
Disadvantages of Rosetta Stone
There are some logical incentives linked with the Rosetta Stone method. Still, it has many drawbacks you should consider before diving deep into them.
Here are 4 evident shortcomings.
1. Not a replacement for traditional classes
Rosetta Stone is great for learning vocabulary, gender, plurals, and basic verb conjugations. Still, it’s not so splendid for learning sophisticated grammar, subtlety, or cultural context.
The immersion method has some noticeable benefits. But most new learners find it extremely hard to understand and gain context since they are oblivious to the language at their starting stage.
TruAccent Speech Recognition makes you recall and measures your pronunciation. While technology is improving, it is nowhere close to the human voice, accent, and style. Getting feedback from an actual person is much better.
Of course, when you see or hear something, it’s much easier to recognize and identify it. But repeating it with a time limit takes a lot of training.
2. Rosetta Stone is not for advanced learners
They geared the content and course structure toward newbies. This is despite the intent to cover lessons for intermediate and above levels.
They paid much attention to the basics, like vocabulary and repetitions based on memory. So, it is not suitable for intermediate or advanced learners. Yet, adding more content beyond elementary can improve it.
It’s unthinkable to achieve fluency, let alone advanced levels. You won’t get anywhere near B2 or C1 if you use apps like Rosetta Stone. Even B1 or A2 looks difficult.
Almost all online language apps have this weakness, so it’s not notably negative for this app.
The levels 1 to 5 aren’t like A1 to B2 of the CEFR-based German Goethe, French DELF, Italian CILS, Portuguese CAPLE, and Spanish DELE tests.
The quality of the units, modules, and lessons varies and is not up to the mark. It is indeed not like the CEFR levels. Ultimately, you may only know some essential words, everyday phrases, and sentences.
3. Lack of cultural context and honorifics
The software loses out in a cultural context. It seems not to believe the variety of cultures across the languages it teaches and seems a little monotonous.
If you study languages comprising honorifics like Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese. Then, it leaves much to be desired.
That is because it does not differentiate between the need for a formal and informal way of speaking in oriental languages.
It also uses the same pattern across all languages. It makes it redundant for those learning multiple languages.
4. Repetitive, Outdated, and Boring
Unlike modern language apps focusing on variation, engagement, and lively games, Rosetta Stone looks dull. Instead, the learners should get rewards, points, and bonuses that keep them hooked on the app.
There is no placement test. So irrespective of your background, you start from scratch or randomly jumble the topics you want.
Lessons are sometimes repetitive. The formats and questions all look similar, and there are hardly any variations. It’s déjà vu all over the place.
This makes the learning experience boring soon. And that affects our motivation and makes us negative to continue studying and memorizing.
5. It is expensive
With outdated and not-so-effective apps like this, the high price tag is not worth it. Rosetta Stone is pricy in the market as a language learning software.
They may have invested a lot in research and state-of-the-art technology in their defense. But when the results aren’t great, the cost is not justified.
In recent times, their subscription cost has declined. Yet, it is still on the higher side and not worth it.
How much does Rosetta Stone cost?
Rosetta Stone used to solely sell boxed software that you had to install on your computer via CDs. Even today, you can buy their products on CDs (or a box with a certificate for a digital download).
They also sell a bonus pack bundle of a single language for Spanish, French, German, and Latin at $209 roughly on Amazon, etc.
Their current focus is selling online subscriptions for a few months, 1-year, or a lifetime. Their online subscriptions are for much lower rates. Besides, they developed a mobile app that offers subscriptions.
As of the time of writing this Rosetta Stone review, the following plans are available:
- 3-Months: $35.97 at $11.99 monthly for 1 language.
- 12-Months: $95.88 at $7.99/month for 1 language.
- Lifetime Subscription for $179 (All 25 languages)
The quarterly and yearly plan is pretty expensive for just 1 language. It costs $35.97 for a quarter and $95.88 for a yearly plan.
The Rosetta Stone Unlimited Lifetime Access is affordable. You can avail of unlimited lifetime access for $179, and you can access all 25 languages.
They offer a free three-day trial you can opt for before purchasing the full software. Then, once you buy it and are still not satisfied, you can ask for a refund under the 30-day money-back guarantee.
Is it worth it?
So now that you’ve got all the details about the program’s cost, how it works, and my opinion, let’s discuss my final verdict. For studying a new language, should you use Rosetta Stone?
Rosetta Stone can be a useful language-learning app that is time-tested, well-rounded, and technically capable. It suits beginners who need a basis for their language learning with primary vocabulary and grammar.
While the immersion approach is fantastic, it may take some trial and error to figure out where to begin if you’ve never studied a language. And if you have a background, there is no placement test either.
They designed most lessons for novice learners, which is fine. But if your goal is actual fluency and advanced level, explore alternative sorts of education.
For example, live offline or online classes through a teacher, podcasts, apps, books, audio lessons like the Pimsleur method, etc. In the best case, Rosetta Stone can be a supplement or a tool to lay a basic foundation.
Most users have negative and positive perspectives to attribute to their wisdom and experience.
The popular opinion is that the holistic approach to learning that Rosetta Stone follows, while helpful, is not for everyone. And this might not be the best way to start your journey to language learning.
If it gets some innovation in its content and method. This is other than changes in cultural outlooks and catering to each language’s needs, like tone or speech pattern. It can do so much better as a language teaching app.
In a nutshell, Rosetta Stone provides more basic knowledge by delving into simpler grammar, words, conversations, and conjugations. It also evaluates your speaking abilities thanks to voice recognition and a live instructor option.
But, it may not be the best fit for your learning style (if you have one).
It is worth a shot if you have the resources and patience to use it as a trial-and-error option. But keep the expectations low!
My Rosetta Stone Review: Below Average 2.0/5
There was a time when Rosetta Stone used to have a significant market share and popularity in the digital language learning market.
They had the first-move head start, funding, and all required to make it successful. But, despite that, it failed to match the need for time. It looks the same as what they were 10-15 years back.
The absence of innovation and progress is a big disappointment. Also, the lack of placement tests, advanced lessons, more variations, and modern and new lessons is a big letdown!
Instead, the company’s primary focus is more on sales and marketing, which is not bad. But the priority should be to make the platform ideal for new-age language learners of 2023.
Rosetta Stone Review
Rosetta Stone is one of the oldest language learning platforms. It is worth the money if you need to learn and practice the basics of one of the 25 languages. But it has more misses than hits. For example, lack of innovation, repetitive, outdated, no placement test, and varying qualities. Weighing everything, I’m giving a rating of 2/5, i.e., “Below Average.”
In the quest to review language apps, this is my 8th review after Memrise, Duolingo, HelloTalk, Busuu, Pimsleur, Babbel, and LingoPie.
What are your thoughts on my review of Rosetta Stone? Share your views and experience in the comment below!
Hi Vikash, thank you for this detailed article, I will also read other articles on language learning apps, can you make a list, as per your ratings, of which language app is good for learning a language from the basics to the professional level, it would be helpful for us.
Sure, I will consider writing about it. But the problem is all apps differ and serves a different purpose. So, there is no one particular app that suits everyone 🙂