Welcome to our Rosetta Stone review. We speak not of the stele composed of granodiorite that contains a trilingual decree from Memphis in 196 BC (that unlocked secrets of ancient inscriptions). No, we speak of the language-learning software that drew its name from that black rock. Rosetta Stone review
Is Rosetta Stone that expensive course that’ll cost you an arm and a leg? Well, it used to be costly. But they have been lowering their price consistently, and currently, their price tag is similar (even lower) than most language-learning courses.
The research that went into building the Rosetta Stone approach is a distinctive feature of their platform. Testing language principles and finding viable ways to incorporate them into a platform takes work. However, some people have a bone to pick with Rosetta Stone’s approach to language learning.
They think the whole “intuition over explicit grammar” thing is nonsense. Yet, to each their own. Maybe Rosetta Stone, after all their research, knows something we don’t. Or they’re just really good at marketing. Who knows?
Is Rosetta Stone a scam?
So, here is the age-old question: is Rosetta Stone worth the money, or is it just a big ol’ scam?
If you search for Rosetta Stone reviews, you’ll find a ton of them. But most are either super negative (telling you to run for the hills), or they’re trying to sell you on the product (and earn themselves a sweet commission).
So, what’s a fence-sitter to do? That’s where we come in, folks. Here is a balanced opinion about Rosetta Stone (and you decide).
Rosetta Stone Italian Review
Rosetta Stone offers language courses in a bunch of different tongues. But the effectiveness and quality of their courses vary depending on what language you’re trying to learn.
In this post, we’ll examine how Rosetta Stone teaches Italian. So, let’s get into it and see if Rosetta Stone’s Italian course is worth your time and money.
Rosetta Stone Italian is one of the best in the series!
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this before. But rumor has it that Rosetta Stone was designed for one of the Romance languages – probably Spanish, because let’s face it, everybody and their grandma wants to learn Spanish these days.
But then, they got greedy and just copy-pasted the course structure for all their other languages. Talk about scaling up, am I right? But here’s the kicker – that move sacrificed quality for quantity.
However, we have a silver lining here because Italian is one of the Romance languages. Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Romanian all work better with Rosetta Stone because they pertain to the languages targeted in the original design.
Now, here’s the crux of the matter – Rosetta Stone doesn’t explain anything. They expect you to use intuition. So, Romance languages (similar to English) make it possible for users to figure things out themselves. But intuition isn’t gonna cut it when you’re trying to learn another language like Arabic or Chinese which are lightyears away from English.
Italian is mostly a phonetic language. You can usually figure out a word’s pronunciation just by looking at it written. It’s like a cheat code! And Rosetta Stone takes advantage of that like a pro.
Plus, the Romance languages share similar alphabets with English. So if you’re trying to learn Italian with Rosetta Stone, you’ve got an advantage over the poor souls using Rosetta Stone to learn a language with a completely different script.
Long story, short – if you’re going to use Rosetta Stone, stick with Italian or one of the other Romance languages.
The Rosetta Stone Philosophy
Rosetta Stone does not use your native language to teach you a new language. They toss you right into the deep end with your target language.
Now, at first glance, this might seem like a good idea. Rosetta Stone says its founders learned languages in immersive environments. And they want to emulate that for people who can’t travel. So, they figured, why not just ditch English altogether? They make you learn using pictures and audio without any explanation.
However, here comes one of our first complaints! There are better ways to learn as an adult than just using pictures and audio without explanations. Learning like a baby has benefits, but we’re adults and can handle complexity. So, receiving other inputs (besides the ones given inside Rosetta Stone) can accelerate the learning process.
After testing Rosetta Stone for a few days, one of your conclusions will be that you could have learned the same things so much faster with other approaches. The devotion to simplicity might sound good in theory, but it just slows your learning down to a snail’s pace.
Rosetta Stone attempts to create a stress-free environment!
A concern may cross your mind when you’re getting ready to dive headfirst into your target language with Rosetta Stone. What if jumping into the deep end of learning a language is overwhelming? Well, don’t worry! Rosetta Stone won’t overload you with too much information. They take it so seriously that they end up going in the opposite direction.
Rosetta Stone’s strategy is to first repeat the input many times before asking you about it. Thus, they only ask you about words and phrases you should already know. However, do not expect to learn a bunch of new vocabulary every lesson. Progress is slooowww.
But on the other hand, because they are so careful, the lessons are not stressful. They are enjoyable.
Krashen’s Input Hypothesis
Rosetta Stone explains they base their language learning technique on the Comprehensible Input Hypothesis of Stephen Krashen. Krashen’s research was a big deal in the 20th century. He came up with five ideas to help people learn a new language:
- The first idea is called the input hypothesis. Krashen explains you acquire language better when you try to comprehend language input slightly more advanced than your current level.
- The second idea is called acquisition–learning. It means there are two ways to learn a language, one is subconscious (which means without trying), and the other is conscious (which means you are actively trying). The subconscious way is better.
- The third idea is called the monitor hypothesis. It states that when you speak a language, you can use your conscious knowledge to check if it’s correct, but you can’t use it to speak fluently.
- The fourth idea is called the natural order hypothesis. We have a specific order in which we learn a language, and it’s the same for everyone, even if we receive explicit instructions.
- The fifth idea is the affective filter hypothesis. It affirms that if you’re feeling bad or scared, it can be harder to learn a language. Therefore, you need to be at ease and content during the learning process.
Rosetta Stone’s implementation of Krashen’s Input Hypothesis
So, you can see the angle from where Rosetta Stone is coming, gently easing you into the language.
However, after more than ten years of Rosetta Stone out in the market, we now understand where it went astray trying to implement Krashen’s theories.
First, let us examine Rosetta Stone’s features echoing Krashen’s hypothesis.
Rosetta Stone’s features echo Krashen’s hypothesis!
- They only feed you inputs that are slightly above your level.
- Understanding requires conscious focus, but images and audio fill our day, soaking into our subconscious. Thus, to facilitate unconscious language acquisition Rosetta Stone forgoes explanations and delivers only pictures and sound.
- The Rosetta program is not challenging. It takes users by the hand as little children and feeds them baby spoons in their target language. This approach fosters a sense of accomplishment and motivation in learners.
Rosetta Stone’s implementation of Krashen’s ideas does not always have the intended results.
- When small children learn to walk, they proceed at a sluggish pace. Imagine measuring their step distance and obliging yourself to cover 10 kilometers at the same pace. You would walk slower than your natural ability, but eventually, you’d reach the 10-kilometer milestone. Similarly, Rosetta Stone provides language learning with baby spoons. It’s a praiseworthy approach at the start, but it can become onerous over time.
- Those who desire effortless learning may find the subconscious approach enticing, perusing pictures and sounds without exerting themselves. But for those already committed to learning a language, a dash of conscious learning can rapidly propel progress. Why treat the motivated and the unmotivated the same way?
- Children’s books are familiar to most. They present lovely pictures and easy-to-comprehend language, serving to capture the attention of young ones and teach them a thing or two. Nonetheless, having read a children’s book, a child remains incapable of reading a newspaper or tackling more intricate subjects. This children’s book example is comparable to the Rosetta Stone method. After completing the course, you may have learned a thing or two, presented with charming pictures in a delightful manner. Nevertheless, it has left you with the limited language abilities of a child, unprepared for the majority of grown-up scenarios you’ll face.
Rosetta Stone’s Live Lessons!
Rosetta Stone offers live sessions with native language teachers within the program. After finishing a lesson, you may schedule a 25-minute video conference with a friendly, patient, and highly professional instructor. It’s worth noting that these teachers refuse to switch to English, consistent with the program’s philosophy. Available time slots are typically abundant, with little waiting required.
However, unlike private lessons on italki, all Rosetta Stone tutors follow a predetermined program. It’s all part of the program’s grand scheme, which is fair enough. Yet, some users may prefer flexibility in their spoken interactions. Rosetta Stone’s approach insists on fixed live lesson programs because the purpose of the session is to reinforce the particular vocabulary you just came across on the course before the session. Therefore, live lesson teachers feel random questions are not ideal since they will cause you stress and most likely, you would be unprepared to answer them. Again, this speaks to the aim of creating a stress-free environment.
Rosetta Stone’s price tag
Rosetta Stone transitioned to an online subscription service (with lower prices which are now comparable to its rivals). The three options are as follows:
- Three months, one language: $35.97
- Twelve months, unlimited languages: $119.88
- Lifetime unlimited languages: $199
Their current prices are far more affordable than before – at one point, Rosetta Stone set buyers back $500 per language.
Is Rosetta Stone Good? Pros and Cons Summary
Our exploration has taken us into some depths, as we delved into Krashen’s hypothesis and how Rosetta Stone implements it. And we’ve scrutinized the efficacy of their approach, considering the results of students over a decade. And now, to recap, here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of Rosetta Stone:
- The pricing has improved.
- English is not used as a fallback.
- Live tutoring lessons are on the table.
- It’s a fitting option for those who lack drive and require encouragement, along with a relaxed setting for learning.
- We do not approve of the one size fits all approach they took when covering vastly different languages.
- They do not offer explanations along the course. And we believe explanations could propel users learning.
- Upon finishing the course, students remain novices in their comprehension. A comparison would be that somebody reading a nicely illustrated children’s book is still unprepared to read more intricate subjects.
Alright, folks, it’s decision time. What do you say? Are you motivated to learn Italian? Or do you require an extra nudge to keep up the daily grind?
Would you like to try Rosetta Stone and, further on, venture out with more challenging courses? We believe Rosetta Stone is perfect for people wanting to dip their toes into a language. And with no previous knowledge of language learning.
Rosetta Stone’s value is at the beginning of a student’s language-learning journey. Other courses may feel too stressful because they try to cover more than beginners can grasp. So, Rosetta Stone would be a good fit for you if you can check the boxes:
- It’s your first time learning a foreign language.
- And you’re fearful you’ll be overwhelmed by the language-learning process.
Reading children’s books is fun, and they encourage them to pick up reading habits. In a similar way, Rosetta Stone will push you to stick with the language you’re learning.
If you have made it until this point in our review, it is a good idea to give Rosetta Stone a spin and experience the platform firsthand. See if it meets your needs, and take advantage of their three-day free trial. That’s right, no strings attached.