Rosetta Stone French Review and Why I’m Adding DuolingoTotal read time: 13 minutes

Have you ever thought about using Rosetta Stone?

Well, today I’m giving my one-month Rosetta Stone French Review and telling you why it’s good, but also why I have decided to supplement Rosetta Stone with Duolingo.

In case you missed it, I am studying French with Rosetta Stone for 90 days.

In fact, I broke down all the lessons of the Entire Rosetta Stone French course and calculated I need to complete 8 lessons per day.

As of today, January 11th, my 30th day using Rosetta Stone, I should be on Unit 7: Lesson 32… however…. I’m only on Unit 6: Lesson 13.

Damn, life does get in the way right? No biggie! I’m not beating myself up about it but I’m definitely trying to catch up so I can complete the entire course within 90 days.

However, today, I am adding Duolingo into the mix! We’re going to talk about that, as well as future plans.

Quick Rosetta Stone French Review

  • 2 Missing Features
  • Use Wifi
  • Offline Downloads are useful
  • Always have headphones

Adding Duolingo

  • What is Duolingo?
  • Why use Duolingo?
  • Duolingo Plan

Learning from Reddit

  • An inspirational post
  • What we do that’s the same.
  • What we do that’s different.
  • What I’m taking away from it.

Speaking French at the bar

A Quick One-Month Rosetta Stone French Review

Okay, in this review I’m going to go over some very specific things.
If you’re wanting a review of the Rosetta Stone in general, then you should check out my one-week Rosetta Stone French review.

However, there are 2 features that I missed that one-week review. And those are:

  1. Writing
  2. Milestones

As much as I love the Rosetta Stone app on iOS, it’s actually Not the same as studying on a computer using a web browser.

The writing and milestones feature are only available on a web browser!

Rosetta Stone French Review Milestone

Rosetta Stone French Milestone

Truly a bummer!

I seriously have no idea why that is! In fact, let’s write to Rosetta Stone about this…

…Okay, email is sent. I’ll update this post if and when I get a reply from them. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that they at least plan to bring these features to the app in the future.


I love it.

It’s a great feature!

You Don’t Know a word through and through if you can’t write it, that is, spell it correctly.

I feel this is especially true for Romance languages like French. A single letter could make the difference between past tense or future tense (as I’ve just learned).

Luckily, I do know that Duolingo provides writing in every lesson 😉
I’ve already enabled the French keyboard on my iPhone in preparation.

Just to clarify, the writing feature is a “lesson” in Rosetta Stone where you have to type a single word or sometimes phrases in order to pass. You must get it exact, with accent marks and all.


Thank you, Rosetta Stone for this truly unique feature. One of which I haven’t seen elsewhere.

The milestones come at the end of every unit.

Rosetta Stone seems to put this together like a little dialogue between you and another character.

It’s quite cool how the pictures involved truly do show it from your point of view, a first-person POV.

You must respond by voice to the character on the screen.
Sometimes you’re asking them a question, tell them hello or goodbye, or some kind of appropriate response. And sometimes you’re just answering their questions.

I found these milestones to be Very Challenging… I like that. I feel that these milestones are just a step below to actually speaking to someone who speaks French.

With that being said.

I don’t know when, or how, but I am determined to make time to get all the writing and milestones done in addition to the lessons I’m behind on!

Use Wifi

Plain and simple, unless you have unlimited 4G/3G on your cell phone, you’re going to want to use wifi or else you’re going to kill your data for the month.

Offline Downloads

Okay, sometimes Starbuck’s wifi isn’t so good. It can take a great while for the lessons to load.

Since we’re all so busy and always complaining about wasting time, I’d behoove to download the lessons.

If you just click the little “offline” button on the bottom right of the Unit you’re on the Rosetta Stone will download the entire unit for you.

So I’ve been downloading 2 units at a time while I’m at home.

Always Have Headphones!

I’ve totally have missed some days because of this.

For myself, a lot of my study time is during my commute to and from work. Convenient for me since I’m stuck on the subway for about an hour.

However, I have a pet peeve of people not using headphones while in public places and so I exemplify and model the behavior I want to see by not playing any sounds without headphones.

Which sucks when you’re trying to learn a language!

I want to constantly be exposed to the sounds of French.

I am not trying to be fluent in Reading without being able to Listen or Speak it! Hell no!

So, yeah, don’t forget your headphones.
Really just preaching to myself here.

Or leave an extra set at work 😉

Adding Duolingo to the Mix

In case you didn’t know, Rosetta Stone’s “thing” is 100% 0% Translation!


I mean they don’t translate French at all.

We are to learn French the “natural” why, as we did as children. So all vocabulary, sentences, grammar, and etc., are all learned via pictures and context clues.

Sometimes it takes me like 2 or 3 days to fully get what a word or a grammar point means.

There are still some things that I don’t quite get even though I know the answer.

I like it, and don’t like it.

It’s quite a cool and satisfying feeling when something suddenly “clicks” in your brain. You just get it. You finally get it! It makes me feel smart and powerful 🙂

But there’s the opposite feeling of…. fuck… I have no idea what’s going on but I’m pretty sure this is the answer… yup… that’s it…. don’t know why though.

So, in fact, this is the main reason why I’m adding Duolingo.

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is another online software program to learn a language, you can also download the app but the online web browser version offers explanations* while the app doesn’t.

In fact, I’ve used Duolingo in the past and I completed the entire Esperanto “tree”. Check out my Youtube Videos.

At the end of the Esperanto tree, I really had a nice firm grasp of the language. I then immediately went to iTalki to solidify what I learned. I also have videos on that 😉

It’s likely as popular, or even more popular, as Rosetta Stone, but with one major difference,

It’s completely free!

Whether or not you should totally just skip Rosetta Stone and just go for Duolingo is debatable and I’ll give my opinion after I complete both.

So why add Duolingo when I am already using Rosetta Stone?

That’s such a good question! I’m glad you asked.

At the beginning of every Duolingo Skill, they introduce the grammar points of that skill.

YES! This is exactly what I want.

My brain has been craving for it!

Sorry to tell y’all, but we are not, or at least I’m not, a child!

I can read grammar explanations and just get it! (sometimes) Without going through the headache of not getting it for days or even weeks on end.

I must say, Rosetta if you were my girlfriend, we probably would’ve broken up by now. I couldn’t handle so much frustration.

That’s not to say that I don’t like Rosetta Stone. I do, I truly do.

But I’ve just come to the conclusion that as a grown adult, there’s no need to completely ignore translations and language explanations.

Using a dictionary is just fine and very useful!

This is especially true when you’re learning a word that can have multiple meanings.

If you just learned the word “head” in Chinese, 头, then maybe you want to say “head of the company” and you translate directly has 头的公司… nope, sorry, doesn’t work that way.

Likewise, a Chinese person may want to translate 飞机头 as “airplane head” but in reality it’s cockpit.

Anyways, my point is, you won’t get those answers without a dictionary, of which Rosetta Stone doesn’t provide.

My Duolingo Plan

There are 78 “skills” in the French Duolingo tree.

Yesterday I completely skill 1: Basics, leaving 77 skills.

From today, there are exactly 60 days until March 11th, which is when my Rosetta Stone subscription runs out.

I will complete both the entire Rosetta Stone French Course as well as the Duolingo French Tree.

So I’ll need to study 1.2 Skills per day in Duolingo.

Some skills are long, some a short, so it’s not an even day every day. Oh well, such is life, can’t count on fairness. I like to embrace change.

Learning from Reddit

I found an Inspirational Reddit Post
In it, an American guy explains his bath to C1 Fluency in French in one year.


This guy was dedicated.

This guy, seemingly, isn’t a polyglot or bilingual (prior to French) and yet he completed something that most people only dream of and he did it in less time a child 😉

Again, reinforcing my belief on why Adults are Better language learners than children. (My online friend and favorite polyglot blogger, Benny Lewis, has an awesome blog post on this here.)

So I say to hell with that old ass belief. Children have enough on their plate. They can’t nearly dedicate and learn as quickly as we can.

When we, grown healthy adults, truly dedicate ourselves to a task – then we will DOMINATE.

Plain & simple.

Anyways, all that was to say that, this Reddit post has truly inspired me to remain vigilant and to study French for 1 year.

I too will take the DALF test (this is the test for proficiency in the French language) here at Beijing Language and Culture University on November 11th, 2018.

Unfortunately, I can’t register for it until September 4th. However, both dates are already booked on my calendar.

What He and I do Similarly

  • Pimsleur
  • Duolingo
  • Anki Cards
  • Italki Lessons

I’ve always been a fan of Pimsleur. It’s an audio program where it teaches your words, phrases, and goes over typical dialogue you will use if you were to travel to the country of your target language.

I love that they don’t slow down the speech.

They keep it at native speed.
However, they do break down the words slowly when you’re first learning them.

Duolingo, well, we already talked about that.

Anki is a program that uses a spaced repetition system (SRS) to help you learn new vocabulary. It’s an amazing program.

You can either make the cards yourself OR you can download any of the hundreds or thousands of flashcard decks from the community.

It’s all free!

In his post he used all these materials for his first 2.5 months: Pimsleur, Michel Thomas, Duolingo, Lingvist, BBC Learn French, French in Action, and Assimil.

However, he then said “I wasn’t fluent! Not even close. These apps promising fluency might have helped get excited about the language but didn’t really do much more than that.”

This can be discouraging to some people. Investing this much time into these apps, free or not, and still only be at an A1 maybe A2 level in the end.

That just goes to show.

There is no replacement for a private tutor. For speaking the language as much as possible with a real human being.

Which brings us to italki.

I may have mentioned italki once or twice before. It’s only The Best website/platform for seeking out private tutoring in practically Any language ever.

What He Did Differently

Besides the numerous amounts of websites and apps he used, he did have a tremendous amount of dedication.

There were a couple of things he said that really stuck out to me. And those were:

“started reading French books… attending a bi-weekly french meetup… I kept a big google doc with all the words/sentences I came across…and [I] would make [Anki] cards… 5 [italki] tutoring sessions a week…”

  • I almost never read any books in any of the languages I’ve studied.
  • Never been to any language meet up.
  • Keeping a google doc any kind of doc of tracking the new words and then make Anki cards is a true sign of dedication, good study habits, and just plain smart.
  • 5 tutoring sessions a week is insanely awesome! Can get expensive but damn that’s gotta be worth it.

What Am I Taking Away From It?

So far I have decided that after March 11th, which is after I complete both Rosetta Stone French and Duolingo French I will use these:

  • Italki
  • FF Anki Cards
  • FF Pronunciation Course
  • Yabla Scribe
  • Grammar Book
  • TV5 Monde
  • Kid Books

Italki is the holy grail, it’s truly the greatest language learning resource out there, this is why I’m constantly linking to it.

However, it’s where most of our money will be spent.

I plan to start with just 2 lessons per week with a private tutor

Fluent Forever is a book by Gabriel Wyner, who has a website of the same name (website and blog came well before the book).

Gabriel himself is a self-taught (minus the private tutoring sessions) polyglot of at least 5 languages. You may want to check out his recent Kickstarter.

Fluent Forever is a great book. I’ve read it and you see it here recommended on the sidebar of this website. It’s a fantastic book and he teaches a language study method that’s for the long-haul. For those who truly want to become Fluent in a language to be able to work, study, and pass tests but as well as chat with others of course.

His Anki method of flash cards is amazing. Get this book. You won’t regret it.

Speaking French at the Bar

Okay, real quick before I finish this blog post.

I was tested by my German friend, who’s French is quite good, at the bar when I told him I was studying French.

Man… I desperately needed that.

Again, it just reinforces the need for Real Human Interaction.

I’m sorry Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, Anki, and etc.

There is no replacement for practicing and studying a language with a real human being.


This Rosetta Stone French Review summarizes my feelings, so far, on using it to study French, or any language for that matter.

Supplementing Rosetta stone with a dictionary, book, duolingo, or just a private tutor is necessary in my opinion.

Finding someone who’s reached the goal that you want to reach and take what you can from them is quite a good strategy for success.

~Have a good weekend!

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in me receiving a commission if you choose to purchase a product. All opinions are my own. I don’t receive payment for product placements or positive reviews.

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