Rosetta Stone Review

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Category(ies): Software, Online Learning, Languages
Level: Beginners, Intermediate  and Advanced Learners
Skills Trained:
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Writing
Major Practicing Activities:
  • Read something (word/phrase/sentence), then click on the picture to verify
  • Hear something, then click on the picture to verify
  • Hear something, then click on the word to verify
  • See something, then click on the box associated with the sound to verify
  • Hear something, then type it or put the words in order
  • Record your own voice and receive detailed feedback about your pronunciation
Review :

The upside for Rosetta Stone is that it has good user interface. The software is very easy to navigate. You can leave the activity if it is too easy or too hard for you.

The second upside for Rosetta Stone is that it is very interactive, because you will have to click on the images or type in texts when you are doing your exercise. This will make you stayed engaged during your learning of a new language. Simply listening to some language audio sometime might make you bored.

The downside of Rosetta Stone is that some practice might be too repetitive. So it might not be very fun to do the drills. Good thing is that repetition makes the words/phrases/sentences easier for you to remember.

Below please also find some selected reviews from

Selected Reviews by other Rosetta Stone users on Amazon

Review of Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America)

102 of 103 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent product -works if you take the time, February 21, 2008
By  Valerie Ebberson (Nebraska)

As a 50+ learner I wondered how well I'd retain the information but it's been great. The format makes it fun & appealing while the word/picture association facilitates retention. We have all 3 levels and I'm currently on the last session of Level 1 (after 6 weeks). While it says it's a single user product, you CAN install the Version 3 on two computers; however both installations cannnot be running simultaniously (I called Rosetta Stone about this & we're doing this w/ husbands & my computers). The microphone set-up is great to hear yourself speak & make corrections as needed. Since Rosetta Stone provides no written Spanish (ie book) a good English-Spanish dictionary is helpful or having a free-translation window open on your computer for occasional clarification. Also it helps to look at some free websites that explain general sentence structure and word tense in the Spanish language. If you're consistent in it's use, quiz yourself mentally during daily activities, and proceed at a comfortable pace (too slow & you lose momentum, too fast & you forget) you'll be speaking Spanish in no time. I've learned far more in the past month with this product than I did taking a weekly conversational Spanish class at the local community college.

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars great system, April 14, 2008
By  M. Barnett "married with 2 dogs" (Albuquerque, NM)

I am now on the 3rd and final level of Rosetta Stone's Spanish (Latin America). I have been very impressed with the series. I do also use Pimsleur Spanish CDs in my car to supplement my learning. I'd recommend both to anyone interested in learning any language.


69 of 72 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars a VAST improvement over version 2, July 15, 2008
By  Jane Harper "trauma wonk, photographer"

A few years back I bought Rosetta Stone v.2 (for a different language than Spanish) and found it very difficult to work with. The activities had no real order to them, there was very little guidance for users, the voice recognition function was horrible, and the photographs were all of upper middle class westerners. I saw the reviews of the Spanish versions in which teachers and native speakers complained about the emphasis on progressive tenses ("I am _____ing") instead of the present, which is ubiquitous in Spanish and often used to stand in for both past and future.

I had two years of Spanish in high school (FORTY years ago), but as a health care provider I continue to encounter many Spanish-speaking patients and I'm getting tired of having to use an interpreter, so I decided to dust off the Spanish I used to know and get serious about becoming bilingual. I saw that Rosetta Stone had completely reworked their system and gave it a try.

I'm TREMENDOUSLY impressed with the changes!!

They do still use too much progressive tense (or have so far, I've only worked through the first of the three levels), but the photographs are very culturally diverse and the help files and accompanying documentation are MUCH better than for version 2. I'd also heard that version 2 was a nightmare on a Mac (and I've just switched from Windows), but I'm happy to report that version 3 runs like a dream on my little MacBook.

The new packaging includes a headset that attaches via a USB port, a welcome addition.

On the down side, I haven't been exactly thrilled with the "audio companion" so far; it adds nothing to what is presented in the lessons, but rather merely mimics them. The voice recognition still has trouble; consonants in Spanish tend to be very soft, and I have to pop my P's to get the software to recognize them.

All in all, though, I think it's a very worthwhile investment, and for less than most classroom programs cost.

Now, if they'd only give me some credit to upgrade my version 2 in that other language ....

Review of Rosetta Stone French

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceeded this former military linguist's expectations. This is a viable way to learn the basics or brush up on a language., August 21, 2008
By  W. C. Bryant (Columbus, OH USA)

Color me impressed. I came in with relatively high expectations for Rosetta Stone, but I write this review after working with it for a month, and now holding a higher opinion of the product than I did before. I spent over a year at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey as a young Marine learning Korean. All the services were present, and DLI was good for dozens of languages. The approach was structured, and largely immersive, which is to say that my classes were taught by native speakers. There's a huge advantage to that, inasmuch you have instant and intelligent feedback and instruction when you need it. If all you hear and (try to) speak is the language, then it's being drilled into your head consciously and subconsciously. Surrounding yourself with native speakers, either through such an environment, or within the country itself, is going to be (for most) the absolute best way to approach foreign language mastery -- but what to do when that's not an option? Or what to do to prepare before doing so? This.

The software is intuitive, the approach is intelligent. You don't have that native speaker standing in front of you scowling because you're butchering the music of their language in the early going, but you do have the software giving feedback and similarly identifying where you might require a little more attention. The program constructs in the user a solid base of simple vocabulary, establishing a basic understanding of the mechanics of the language on which additional vocabulary and structure may be built. With regard to the interface, the absence of a tutorial (as far as I saw, though I didn't look hard because it was so easy just to start using) was a bit surprising, though it took a very small amount of time to get into the swing of things. The earliest exercises range from matching phrases to their appropriate pictures to out-loud (through a microphone) pronunciation tests to proper spelling and grammar training. The pronunciation recognization ability of the software is pretty sharp -- if you're off, it will tell you, but the program allows the user to improve before moving on to the next test.

Best of all, this is fun. I did enjoy the lessons (I have yet to complete all three levels), and continue to enjoy the process. You always feel like you're making progress, you always have visual cues in regards to where you stand in the process, and it almost becomes a game to try and move through it.

To be fair, I had a few years of French back in intermediate and high school, so I didn't come into this language pack completely unfamiliar. It would be very fun and interesting, I think, to try Rosetta with a language with which I have no familiarity, but that's neither here nor there. The overall point is that this is a fantastic way to start building a basic command of a language, it's fun, it's easy to use, and it's enriching. You're not going to be confused for a native speaker after completing this package, but you will be able to communicate, and that's the biggest and most difficult step towards mastery. The rest is (mostly) use and repetition.

Now I really want the Korean pack to brush up on all that's been lost in the 15+ years since I left DLI. And a new and unfamiliar language as discussed above to branch out a bit. Rosetta has a new and enthusiastic customer and cheerleader.

Review of Rosetta Stone German

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch, September 3, 2008
By  Michael Kear (Enid, Oklahoma)

Rosetta Stone simply has no competition when it comes to teaching languages. There is nothing in comparison to the ease and simplicity that is built into this system. Flawless computer installation, easy to use. The interactive method is without peer. Using the headset and microphone, you are speaking German from lesson one! You are learning German the same way you learned English - conversationally. If you are interested in learning to speak German, this is the only way to go (other than moving to Germany and being adopted by a German family). Worth every penny!


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Language Learning Fun, Really!, September 3, 2008
By  Kesha Dylan (Washington, DC) 

The Rosetta Stone method tries to emulate native speakers by plunging you right into the language, not quite total immersion, but perhaps the next best thing. It accomplishes this with pictures and phrases, without taxing you by making you memorize vocabulary and making you conjugate countless verbs. You sort of assimilate the language by association as you look at a photo, hear a phrase and try to figure it all out. Does that sound difficult? Believe it or not, it's not.

One nice thing about Rosetta Stone is that you can move at your own pace, without worrying about being left behind. However, you have to be careful not to go too long before going back to the program. Like a child learning how to talk, you have to keep at it, but if you do (you can skip a day here and there) you'll find you really do pick up on the language.

I have had prior experience with Rosetta Stone, so there were no surprises for me. In fact it was kind of like starting over with a new friend when I went to the first lesson. If you really want to learn a language and if you dedicate the time to it, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how fast you advance.

Review of Rosetta Stone Italian

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Next best thing to being there, September 4, 2008
By  Rebecca Haden (Fayetteville, AR)

I knew no Italian before working with this program, and I found that I was easily able to follow it. It's efficient, enjoyable, and practical.
Initially, I questioned whether I would actually remember the new things I was learning. It seemed as though getting the right answers -- which I did -- had more to do with problem-solving skills than with actually learning the language. However, I found that I was able to build on what I had learned,and the program has review designed into it.
This really is painless language learning.
I had worked through the French language as well, to brush up on and improve my language skills, and I found that installing a second language with the Rosetta Stone software was easy and convenient, though Italian did require a lengthy "update" session which kept it from being fast. I was also able to put it on my laptop, so I could take it along with me and practice while traveling.
The other concern I'd had was that the two language programs might be identical apart from the language itself --the same pictures, the same sequence, etc. -- and thus confusing. This was not the case.
I strongly recommend the series.


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning naturally rather than by translation, August 27, 2008
By  S.E. Poza (Rimersburg, PA)

The basic Rosetta Stone method teaches you through pairing pictures with words and phrases. Teaching this way is done to discourage learning a foreign language by translating from the learner's native language. This method not only simulates the way we learned our own language as children, but it also prevents the student from speaking slowly because he or she is first crafting the sentence or words in his or her native tongue then translating to the foreign language.

Each level contains 4 lessons based on a theme (basics, shopping, greetings, etc.) with 4 units in each lesson. The first unit is always the shortest because each subsequent lesson contains a review of preceding lessons. So, while you may feel overwhelmed at first during the "core" portion of the unit, you will practice enough to master the content by the end of the lesson. The reviews are well-placed and very good at reinforcing your memory of the material, but for quick learners, they can be skipped.

Each user can customize the lesson content to include whatever type of practice he or she wants. For instance, you can do pronunciation practice or choose not to use the headset (included with the software) and do any speaking out loud. That means you can study anywhere any time by customizing the study session based on how much privacy you have.

This method is enjoyable and you can set goals easily and experience measurable progress. Because of the way the lessons and units are broken up, it's easy to remain motivated despite not having an actual teacher pushing you. That being said, the software is no substitute for a lesson or real world practice. It is, however, an excellent way to be grounded in a lot of basics such that you are ready for basic communication in a foreign country.

There are a few down sides to the software though depending on your learning style. Some people want more of an explanation of the grammatical patterns. You are expected to grasp the concept being practiced through patterns and pictures. If you can't grasp it for some reason, you'll need to consult an outside source for an explanation. Also, all of the Rosetta Stone language series use the same pictures so you will not see culture-specific photos. This doesn't bother me, but some people may find it distracting. Finally, I have found that sometimes the photo used doesn't match the phrase properly in a few rare cases. For instance, the phrase you practice might be "they're holding a book", but the picture is of someone with a newspaper.

As a final side note, I use Rosetta Stone on a 3-year old Mac Mini and, while it generally runs fine, sometimes there are errors which require me to quit the program and re-load. If you repair permissions, this happens less frequently. Also, screen loads can sometimes be a bit lazy. If your machine is as slow and anemic as mine, you may want to keep this in mind before making a purchase.

Review of Rosetta Stone English

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Great language program , June 18, 2008
By  Louis Russell Simonet (Kissimmee, Florida)

I bought Rosetta stone for my wife and kids. They're learning english, and even my 9 year-old daughter feels comfortable using it. The program has a few bugs or glitches, but nothing that prevents you from progressing. It's worth the price I paid. I recommend Rosetta Stone for anybody, regardless of age, that truelly wants to learn a new language. The immersion technique is great and complete.


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars It has been working for me, May 8, 2008
By  Romain étudie (Chicago, IL)

Well, it may seems ridiculous, but if you can understand what you read right now, it's because Rosetta Stone has been working for me. My mother tongue is french.

The level 1 wasn't really needed but it was get to refresh my old scholar knowledge. At the end of level 3, you'll know enough things to take the
next steps by yourself and get fluent.
I used it almost as a "crash course", something like 20 hours a week. That was really needed for my work and, probably, my survival in the U.S. It was less terrible than I expected to spend that much time learning english.

the software lack some references and you end up learning stuff you don't exactly understand at first. But the Internet is full of references available for free. The difference with Rosetta Stone (compared to free stuff) is surely the immersion and a carefully built/tested pedagogy. It's kind of suprising to understand what this piece of software is doing to you. It's hard to describe the feeling but I always feel like my brain is manipulated and this software is pushing thing into it, without me realizing it or making some conscious and important effort to memorize these words and verbs.

I have been introduced to Rosetta Stone by their other website. It's a language exchange network [...]. It's not for beginner but it's a really good complement when it comes to applying and improving what you've learned.

I didn't bought the CD-ROM, I took the online sucscription. I'm more an online kind of person and it's more convenient because I'm changing my computer quite often, switching from one O.S. to another. At least I don't need to install, reinstall and activate it all the time and the online version keep my progress correctly.

Review of Rosetta Stone Portuguese (Brazil)


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource, May 27, 2008
By  David E. Mitchell (Charleston, WV USA)

I spent some time in Brazil last year with a missionary friend and plan to return regularly in the future, but determined to know some Portuguese next time I go. I have studied three other languages in the usual formal, structured methods in class settings. My wife has never studied a language before. We both find the Rosetta Stone program enjoyable and productive (her word for it is "fun"). When I speak with my friend, who incidentally grew up in Brazil and speaks like a Brazilian, he has been amazed at how well I am progressing and how accurately I speak. My only suggestion would be for one using this program to purchase a good Portuguese/English dictionary as there will be a few times when you may be stymied by the absence of English explanation--but those times will be few. We have also found the book Portuguese for Dummies to be very helpful as an added resource. I will soon complete level two and feel confident that I would be quite able to function on my own in Brazil next time and not be dependent on my friends to do all my talking for me!......David Mitchell

Review of Rosetta Stone Indonesian

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective and Fun, Cheaper than Lessons, April 17, 2008
By  S. Kelly "Make no little plans, they have no ... (Northbrook, IL)

I enjoyed using Rosetta Stone. You can use it for a few minutes or hours. It really did help me pick up the language.


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars For serious student, not casual traveler, April 6, 2008
By  SekarSequoia (N. California, USA)

Quick and easy language learning methodology for the serious student; reliable and thorough software; can be addictive. More effective if used in conjunction with something else such as the LearningIndonesian podcast (free!) or a good pocket dictionary (Tuttle) to clear up the occasional confusion (there is no translation or grammar instruction) before it gets frustrating. Plenty of material in Level One to keep you busy for awhile. This is not the right product for people looking to quickly pick up some language skills to enhance their vacation/travel activities.

Review of Rosetta Stone Vietnamese

4.0 out of 5 stars good for beginners, August 31, 2008
By  T. Le (CT) 

Rosetta stone is good for beginners. Starts off with basic words and pictures. Hopefully by the end there will be some phrases and sentences to use in everyday conversation. I already know some words so it's not too hard for me but my kids who are young already picked up some words.


4.0 out of 5 stars I loved it, April 8, 2008
By  Samuel Carver

I work with a lot of vietnamese people at my job. That is why I got this product and it has helped communicate better with them. It is a great and very helpful product. I love the way it teaches and makes learning the language easier.


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good for remembering the words, February 24, 2008
By  Phil (Montréal, Québec Canada)

I have been using this software for a while and it is my favourite tool to learn vietnamese. It really takes a lot longer than I would of thought, but this software really drills the words into your head in such a way that you remember a lot of it. Also, you read and hear the words so often that you just end up knowing them by heart, remembering how to say them, read them, etc. Unlike the flash cards systems though you don't get too bored out of your ming using it. I think it still makes sense to take an actual language class where you can practice conversation, but I really recommend this product. My kids use it sometimes for fun and it's pretty amazing how they walk around the house repeading the sentenses they learned in the sofware after, it does not seem that age is really a factor for using this. The only thing that does not work well in my experience is the voice recognition portion, it just doesn't do very well on my laptop because it does not recognise the sentences often, even though I know I didn't say it that bad. I tried it on desktop and I did not get better results, so I think this feature needs improvements; I just stopped using it. I would also like to be able to type the words using my keyboard in the writing part, instead of clicking on words. Regardless of this though I think the method is so nice that I give it 5 stars.


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Rosetta Stone - Vietnamese, December 11, 2007
By  J. Powers (California) 

Rosetta Stone language products are one of the most effective ways of learning
a language on your own. I really treasure my Vietnamese software. I'm getting long
in the tooth so learning a new language, especially a tonal one, is a real challenge.
Being able to hear the words over and over and practice sounding them out in the
privacy of my home makes learning this language much more feasible.
I'm saving to buy the Mandarin software next.

Review of Rosetta Stone Chinese (Mandarin)

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Wall and Rosetta Stone: World Wonders, September 5, 2008
By  Leah M. Brown (Anchorage, Alaska USA)

I have wanted to learn Chinese ever since I visited Beijing two years ago but thought the complexities of the language would make learning it forever out of my reach. Besides, it's not like there are a lot of Chinese Language instructors at local universities.

I took Japanese at my local university last year and did not learn nearly as much as I did using the Japanese Rosetta Stone.

So, when I saw they had the Chinese version, I decided to give it a try.

Here's what I love about this program:

1. What I really love about this Rosetta Stone is that you can wear headphones, listen to a word or phrase, and then repeat back what you heard. If you say it wrong, the program corrects you and has you say it again. We did not do that in my university was all rote memorization and listening to our professor yammer on and on.

2. Rosetta Stone costs about the same as a university course, but allows you access to the "instructor" after you have completed the lessons. You can refresh your memory whenever you want.

3. Rosetta Stone is so easy to use, you literally plug and play.

4. The program tracks completed lessons.

5. Rosetta Stone has impressive photographs that help cement the word/phrase in your head.

6. The lessons are brief. My university class lasted 2 hours. By the end of the period, my head was swimming with unfamiliar words. I like that the lessons on Rosetta Stone are only 30 minutes long.

7. Rosetta Stone is so convenient. You can learn Chinese from the comfort of your home, before work, after dinner, in between your favorite tv shows. (You can even order sweet and sour chicken from your favorite Chinese restaurant and eat it while practicing with no worries about the smell annoying your classmates. How cool is that?)


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Its fun, it works because it's multidimensional, August 31, 2008
By  Dave Millman "davemill" (San Jose, CA USA)

This is not like French class in high school! No grammar, syntax, or conjugation!

I really want to say, I'm very excited by this product. I've always been intrigued by the possibility of learning Chinese, but each time I looked into the options, I quickly gave up. The other books and tapes I've looked at are difficult and "flat", as in uni-dimensional. You either repeat what's on the tape ad nauseum, or read what's in the book ad nauseum, you get the idea.

The Rosetta Stone Chinese program is very different. It's multi-dimensional in the sense that it gives you several ways to learn. You can use the computer-based tools to speak and get instantaneous feedback. You can use the Audio Companion CDs in your car (actually, on my iPod!) to practice while driving or whatever. Within the computer based tools are several ways to learn, including a cool Milestones test that inserts you into a real life situation where you have to speak the right answer. I was actually intimidated to try this for a few hours, because I didn't want to screw up, but eventually I tried it, screwed up, and learned more by doing so.

I really like the Rosetta method of presenting you with visual images and spoken language for you to repeat, then visual "puzzles" for you to deduce the correct response. This is very natural once you get into it. It took me a while to get the "rhythm" and patterns of the language, but this method in particular helped me over that hump. That's the main reason for my 5 star rating. I couldn't get that from a "flat" book or tape series.

This set includes everything, including the computer headset and microphone, so you just drop it all in and go. It worked flawlessly on my vintage 2006 Windows XP laptop.

Important: You are going to have to set aside time to learn Chinese with this or any other system. Five minutes here and there won't work. The program is broken up into lots of modules, so it is easy to focus on a small amount of related material at once, but FOCUS is the issue: I recommend 30-90 minutes at a time with no distractions (audio or visual!).

The downside: I don't think I'm going to become fluent reading or writing Chinese from this system. I didn't expect to be able to read written Chinese, so I did not reduce my review for this limitation. Perhaps others will have more luck, because the features are there to help you read two kinds of Chinese writing, but I don't think that part is going to make me literate. I can recognize some Chinese characters at this point, but there are thousands you have to know to be literate.

By the way, if you want to get a taste of the Rosetta Stone method, go to their web site where they have an online sample of the watch-listen-try system (for Turkish!). The online sample does not include the instant feedback on your spoken words included in this package, or the Milestones or other features. It just grades your point-click responses, which will give you a taste. Plus, there's a Michael Phelps testimonial video about the Chinese program (recorded before he won all the medals in Beijing!)

A Software Note
 a software note, December 27, 2007
By  bukhtan (Chicago, Illinois, USA)

This product is sold as licensed software. Users will NOT be able to load it onto more than one computer... It is a "single-user" product.

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