Review: Rosetta Stone: Learn to Speak and Read New Languages

Quick summary:

  • With the Rosetta Stone app you can learn up to 24 languages.
  • It helps you with your pronunciation, reading, listening, grammar and vocabulary skills with exercises where you pick images, repeat phrases, complete sentences…
  • You need to have an account and must be connected to the internet to access the app (unless you pay to get full access to the app and get the offline mode).
  • Only the first unit out of 20 is free, the rest you would have to get full access to have (minimum £6.83 per month).
  • There is an extended learning option where you can listen/read stories and have an audio companion (again, only the first story/video is free).
  • One problem with the app is that the word recognition in pronunciation exercises is not very accurate, so you may not be saying the word correctly but if it sounds similar to the word you are meant to say it is recognised as correct.
  • I find the app somewhat unappealing to me once you have to pay for most of it and it needs some improvements from my point of view.
  • I would suggest this app if you are willing to pay to learn your new language as it is quite good in general, otherwise, you will not make much use of it.

 

Overview:

Rosetta Stone is a popular app that teaches and helps you learning a variety of languages (up to 24), with the aid of images so that even if you are not familiar with the language, you can easily understand what you are being asked to do.

The app provides support with pronunciation, reading, listening, grammar, vocabulary and general things that you would use in your daily life speaking the language you are learning. The learning method is based around image picking, repeating phrases, recognising phrases or words by sound and text, and completing sentences.

Requirements:

For this particular app, you have to create an account (requires your name, email, password and country). You also need to be connected to the internet to be able to use it; alternatively, you can use the offline mode, however, for this you would have to get full access, meaning that you would have to pay a minimum of £6.83 per month.

Features:

This app has 20 units with lessons adequate for different situations you might encounter in your everyday life (e.g. work, shopping, travel, social life…). The downside to this is that only the first unit is free (which merely teaches you some basics). You would have to pay to unlock the others. Each unit contains 4 lessons, and each lesson has pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and reading exercises.

In the menu bar, there is an extended learning option where you can read, listen and record yourself reading stories or have an audio companion. The audio companion consists of videos where words are said and displayed for you to repeat in your own time (you are not being tested here). However, once again, you only get the first story/video for free.

rosetta stone Screenshot_20180511-203938

How it works:

The basic mechanics of the Rosetta Stone app consist of displaying images for you to understand quickly and easily what you are required to do. For example, it may give you a set of images and ask you to match a piece of text with the correct image. It only moves on to the next exercise if you match them correctly.

In most exercises, the phrases are displayed in text and read for you; however, in certain exercises, the text is not given to you and you only hear the AI, which is good for testing your listening skills.

rosetta stone

Criticism:

There are some aspects about this app that I think are not very helpful for the learner. For example, the word/phrase recognition in pronunciation exercises is not very accurate – when testing this part of the app, I made random sounds and it recognised the ones that sounded similar to the phrases that I was meant to repeat as the correct pronunciation of these, which can be misleading for new learners.

Another example is that you only have 3 tries in pronunciation exercises to do the exercise correctly. I think it would be more beneficial for the learner if the app only proceeded to the next exercise when the user pronounced the words properly.

 

Conclusion:

Rosetta Stone is a good app for learning a new language, in my opinion. It is very interactive and its teaching methods are indeed effective. However, it definitely needs some improvements regarding the imprecision of word recognition. In addition, the fact that most things are only available if you pay, and especially the fact that you have to pay for using the app offline, makes it a bit unappealing to me.

Therefore, if you are willing to pay for it, I would definitely suggest that you try this app out. If you are not, then you won’t find it very useful since most of the app is not for free.

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