Alrighty, here is my Rosetta Stone review! Granted, I am just one week into my “Learning French Online in 90 Days with Rosetta Stone French” challenge but I’m ready to give you my initial thoughts, and breakdown on how I’m doing on this language journey.
Remember that I am only using Rosetta Stone French and no other “language learning” materials. I have, however, been supplementing my studying with some fun by watching American TV Shows and Movies dubbed into French with English subtitles.
So far I’ve watched:
- Despicable Me 3
- Men In Black 3
- Taken 2
- This Is The End
- Game of Thrones: season 1 episodes 1,2, & 3
Rosetta Stone Review
- French Study Schedule and Routine
- Rosetta Stone’s French Course Breakdown
- Rosetta Stone’s Supplemental Features
Benefits of Rosetta Stone:
- Daily Listening with Feedback
- Speaking Practice with Correction
- Learning on the Go made Easy
- Price and Value
I’ve been pretty good at studying at least twice a day. A typical day for me involves me waking up, doing 10 minutes of Headspace meditation, and then studying French using the Rosetta Stone app on my iPhone for about an hour or two. Both of which I’m doing while never leaving my bed.
I make it a point to not look at any of my phone’s notifications before meditating and studying. That is to say, I’m not replying to emails or even looking at the emails’ subject line nor replying or looking at social media until AFTER I finish my meditation and studying.
Rosetta Stone actually has a very nice system lined up to study French.
First, it breaks French down into 20 Units. Each unit is given a theme – Unit 1: Language Basics, Unit 2: Greetings and Introductions, Unit 3: Work and School, and so on until Unit 20: Family and Community.
Next, each unit is broken up into 36 Lessons. The lessons also have themes but they are reoccurring. For example, Unit 1 Lesson 1: Core Lesson, Lesson 2: Pronunciation, Lesson 3: Vocabulary and they continue like this and also include Speaking, Writing & Reading, Grammar, Reading, Vocabulary, and Review.
Finally, each lesson is broken into Steps. The number of Steps varies by lesson. I’ve come to think of a Step as an “action”. It’s something you do within that lesson. Which may include listening to a new word and repeating it, matching the word to the picture, completing the spelling of a word, answering a question, etc. The number of Steps per lesson varies greatly from very few, 20 steps, to many, 140+ steps.
In addition to the actual French course, Rosetta Stone offers their “Extended Learning” section which includes: Phrasebook, Stories, and Audio Companion.
- Audio Companion
The Phrasebook, as you can probably guess just from its name, is where you can “hear a native speaker pronounce common phrases and then practice saying them yourself.”
Think of this as like your little “Lonely Planet Phrasebook”. The great thing is that the audio is built in, you can download the phrases so you can listen when offline, and it has a record function to test your speaking ability.
Again, these are broken into different themes i.e. Meeting People, Dining Out, Shopping, etc.
This definitely my favorite feature of the Extended Learning section! This is something I haven’t experienced anywhere else out there, if you know of another app or resource please let me know.
This feature provides short stories, poems, and dialogues in French and allows you to listen to a native speaker read these stories, at native speed, and then you can record your voice to try to match the speaker. It’s quite ingenious! Albeit, the speech recognition software isn’t perfect. There are times where I say a word but the software didn’t pick it up. Then again, maybe it is my poor 1-week beginner pronunciation? I’ll have to give another review of this “problem” once my French is better.
I really appreciate this feature because this is really great practice to speak hundreds of sentences, not just single words. This is a great way to improve the flow of your sentence to sound more like a native speaker.
Take English for example. When we say:
“This is a bird.”
Are we really saying “this-is-a-bird” with each and every word and sound being articulated? I highly doubt it. In most cases we speak it more like:
Where ‘this’, ‘is’, and ‘a’ all come together into one compound phrase.
The same goes for our target language. Learning how to flow words and sentences together similar to a native speaker will do wonders for our own speaking and listening ability, as well as improve the chances of actually being understood.
Kudos Rosetta Stone, Kudos.
Last, but certainly not least, comes the audio companion.
This is your “standard” listen and repeat audio tracks. You hit play and off the app goes saying a word or a phrase and giving you time to repeat. It doesn’t test your pronunciation but I do find this feature to be very useful when commuting.
The rewind/fast forward button is more like a back/forward skip button. It’s better than your typical music player. Instead of just making the track go forward in time quicker or go back in time, it actually skips to the next word or goes back to the previous word. Sure, this may seem like a “duh Phillip, what did you expect?” type of moment, but trust me, it’s a hell lot better than downloading some audio onto iTunes.
It even works with your screen locked. 🙂
Now let’s move onto the “meat” of today’s post and I want to describe the benefits that I’ve found so far in using Rosetta Stone to Learn French. Remember, this is my first true week ever of both using Rosetta Stone and studying French.
Benefits of Rosetta Stone
- Daily Listening with Feedback
- Speaking Practice with Correction
- Learning on the Go made Easy
- The Price
This benefit is huge! I didn’t save the best for last, I want to tell everyone what I think is the most beneficial part of using Rosetta Stone. And that is the daily listening practice along with the feedback and testing on that listening practice I get.
Sure enough, what I’ve found to be the #1 complaint and or #1 sore point for most language learners is their ability to listen correctly To be able to understand a native speaker when they speak.
They speak too fast
Their pronunciation is difficult or different from what I’ve learned
The problem is simple. We’re not practicing this skill, the listening skill, enough.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Will Durant
To improve our listening we must practice listening. And REAL listening, not just “hearing”.
I find Rosetta Stone not only offers provides daily listening practice, but it takes it a step further by testing your listening as well. You’ll not only be tested on single words, but you’ll also be tested on single sounds (phonemes), and full sentences.
It’ll do this by saying the sound, word, or phrase without showing any French and have you select the corresponding picture or letters.
Just watching a TV Show Or Movie in your target language is something I recommend and talk about here. It’s a great habit, however, it just doesn’t suffice for continued and rapid improvement in your listening skills. Especially as a beginner in the language.
This should go without saying, but nevertheless being reminded is always good for reinforcement that “Language is for communication between human to human.”
“If mankind’s ability to communicate to one another was summed up into a single day, 24 hours, then reading and writing wouldn’t come into play until the 23rd hour. At 11 pm.”
A while ago I read an article that stated something along these lines. I can’t recall where I read it but it stuck with me. It always grounds me and brings me back to think… am I speaking enough? Am I speaking to a real human being to improve my communication in my target language?
Face to face communication with one another. Body language, tone, inflection, and all of the other communication tools we rely on. Donovan Nagel, another language learner and blogger, couldn’t have explained the importance of speaking versus writing here.
The Rosetta Stone app for iOs is extremely well-made. I’ve had no problems with that app. It’s also great gorgeous if you ask me.
It’s so good that it’s actually my primary way of using Rosetta Stone. I hardly ever use the website.
All of the lessons, phrasebook, audio companion, and stories are downloadable for offline viewing and listening. They’re also easily deletable to save space on your phone.
The audio companion is the only hands-free eyes-free feature that you can easily use will commuting and what not. But I am still frequently pulling out my phone for some quick studying.
The speaking tests can be disabled temporarily if you’re in a noisy environment. I typically will just skip the lessons requiring speaking and just do the listening and reading lessons instead while I am. I’m happy the app allows this flexibility.
And that’s all I got to say on that.
So I paid $49.00 for 90 days of Rosetta Stone French. Granted, I did get the Holiday discount since it is Christmas time. Normally I think it’s around $79. I’m sure you can get a discount too.
Anyways that breaks down to about $0.55 per day. Which isn’t bad at all. And to be honest, I can’t even think of a suitable comparison to Rosetta Stone.
Sure you can use Duolingo, which is free, or Memrise, or Anki. All of which are free. But NONE of these will provide the same quality features and feedback that Rosetta Stone gives.
Both Duolingo and Memrise can test your listening with playing an audio clip and you having to select the appropriate word(s) or phrase. But they cannot test your speaking ability or overall comprehension. I can say this because I’ve completed the whole Duolingo tree in Esperanto. In, for all intents and purposes, it’s really just a very good and modern “language book”.
Don’t get me wrong, I love love love Duolingo and Memrise and I recommend and use them all the time, and I WILL use them after I complete Rosetta Stone, but they still do not offer what Rosetta Stone has to offer. They are free though.
With that being said, I believe the only thing we can compare Rosetta Stone would be that to hiring a private tutor. A quick search on iTalki reveals that there is a wide range of teachers and prices. From $8 to $30+ per hour. When selecting the $1-$10 filter we can see there are a total of 54 tutors available at the range. So let’s just assume we’re hiring a tutor for $10 an hour.
If we just take 2 lessons a week that’ll be about $250! There’s just under 13 weeks in 90 days and so I calculated 25 lessons total. So we can easily see that we’re getting a pretty awesome bang for our buck with Rosetta Stone.
However, I’d never say that this is better than having a private tutor, and if funds and time are available one should totally supplement any and all language learning material with an iTalki tutor.
I love Rosetta Stone so far.
Next week I’ll have a video of my actual level in French!
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.