Every time you struggle to say “no onions, please” on a Cancun vacation, you promise yourself you’ll finally learn Spanish. But months go by, and you never do.
Maybe it’s hard to find the time, or perhaps you can’t afford a language course right now. It can also be intimidating to speak in front of people when you can barely form a sentence.
Rosetta Stone eliminates all these concerns and helps you really learn a language, so you have no excuses whatsoever. You can jump in and start studying tonight.
What Is Rosetta Stone and How Does It Work?
Rosetta Stone is a language-learning platform that helps you master a new tongue. Access it using the Rosetta Stone web app or the iOS and Android apps. If you have an Apple Watch, you can even learn on your wrist.
With lessons broken down into manageable bites, you can make time for some learning even on the busiest days. The course is organized into 20 units, covering topics from shopping and travel to arts and academics.
Rosetta Stone uses immersive learning, which means you don’t just get a list of words to memorize. Instead, you figure out the meaning of words and phrases in context—just like you do when visiting a foreign country.
Along with lessons, you have access to games, stories, chats with other learners, a phrasebook with helpful everyday phrases, and even live tutoring for an extra fee.
How Many Languages Are There in Rosetta Stone?
Rosetta Stone gives you 24 language options to choose from:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- English (American)
- English (British)
- Filipino (Tagalog)
- Persian (Farsi)
- Portuguese (Brazil)
- Spanish (Latin America)
- Spanish (Spain)
If you want to learn more than one language at a time, you can do that. However, you’ll need a subscription for each. Once you’ve paid for both languages, you can switch between them in the app settings.
What Happens on Your First Lesson
When you first log into your Rosetta Stone account, you land on Unit 1: Language Basics. The unit is divided into four lessons, and each of them is subdivided into the following sections:
- Core Lesson: 30 minutes. You learn basic words like “man,” “woman,” “eat,” and “drink” by matching them to pictures and repeating them after the speaker.
- Pronunciation: 10 minutes. You repeat syllables and words after the speaker to master the accent.
- Vocabulary: 5 minutes. You get 15-20 new words in various combinations, presented in writing, as audio, and next to a picture.
- Grammar: 10 minutes. You learn various grammar constructions in context, using audio, pictures, and written word.
The mobile app organizes your learning process in a similar way, but it breaks down the Core Lesson into 10-minute chunks. This makes sense, because you’re probably using your phone on the go, and staying put for 30 minutes on a mobile device isn’t always possible.
How Rosetta Stone Helps You Learn
As it’s been in the business since 1992, Rosetta Stone is pretty much the grandfather of language-learning apps. Over the years, it has built up the tech and features that help you get a better grasp on your chosen language.
TruAccent Improves Your Pronunciation
Rosetta Stone comes equipped with TruAccent technology that allows it to recognize your speech and correct you when you mispronounce something. It looks like you can get away with a thick accent, though, at least at the early stages of learning.
Dynamic Immersion Puts You in Real-Life Scenarios
There’s no translation when you’re learning new words, so you have to guess the meaning by looking at various real-life situations on photos, like a boy running or a woman writing. This helps your brain connect the words to objects and actions, rather than words in your own language.
Seek & Speak Helps You Learn Words the Fun Way
The Seek & Speak feature is basically a linguistic scavenger hunt. You find objects from a certain category, like fruits or vegetables, scan them with your camera, and find out what they’re called in the language you’re learning. At the moment, this feature is available only in the iOS app.
Audio Companion Helps You Train Your Ear
When you’re tired of staring at a screen all day, you can give your eyes a break and learn by ear. Rosetta Stone’s mobile app comes with an Audio Companion, where you can listen to audio lessons while doing anything else.
Audio Companion is a good way to put some extra polish on the vocabulary you’ve learned in a regular lesson. It might not work with new words, though, because you won’t know what they mean until you look at the pictures.
Phrasebook Is Your Everyday Cheat Sheet
Phrasebook helps you memorize everyday phrases, like “sorry” and “what time is it?” You hear the native speaker pronounce it, repeat after them, and figure out what the phrase means based on the accompanying photo.
Using Phrasebook when you’re just starting out can be confusing, because not every phrase is immediately clear from the photo. But once you have some basic vocabulary, it’s a good memorization technique.
Rosetta Stone Prices and Getting Started
So how much does Rosetta Stone cost? Depending on the plan you choose, Rosetta Stone costs from $5.99 to $11.99 per month. The best-value option is the 24-month plan, with an upfront payment of $155.76. But if you’re not ready to commit to two years of learning (although that might help you stay on track), you can go with the 3-month subscription that costs $41.97.
You don’t have to shell out for the subscription right away. The free 3-day trial lets you dip your toe in the water and see if Rosetta Stone will work for you. To do that, just hit the Start 3-Day Free Trial button on the Rosetta Stone website.
To sign up for the trial, you do have to subscribe to the newsletter and provide your payment info. Don’t worry, though—if you get charged but decide not to continue, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Rosetta Stone: When Memorized Words Are Not Enough
Learning a foreign language used to be about endless drills. If your teacher was into that method, you probably still have useless chunks of sentences popping up in your head—like “I’m 18 years old” when clearly you’re not.
Rosetta Stone makes you figure out what words mean and how they make up sentences, so you can actually say something, not recite a memorized list. And while the desktop version may look a bit clunky, the tech and methodology under the hood make up for that.
With a fairly low monthly cost and bite-sized lessons, Rosetta Stone is a solid alternative to expensive language courses you never have time for. So give that free trial a go and see if te gusta.
Image Credit: undrey/Depositphotos