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Rosetta Stone and Duolingo are two well-known names in the language learning industry. If you’ve been looking for a language-learning app, there’s a good chance that you already know a thing or two about these apps. But it’s never too late to learn more about an app before you decide to commit to paying for a subscription. If you’re ready to start learning right away, we’ll go ahead and spoil the surprise. In the match-up between Rosetta Stone and Duolingo, the winner is Rosetta Stone.
Rosetta Stone Overview
The best app to help you learn a new language is always the one that adapts to your learning needs and offers accurate, high-quality material. Rosetta Stone does just that. In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of both apps and help you make an informed decision. Everyone learns differently, so it’s important to find a language course that works for you and keeps you motivated along the way.
Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo: A Quick Breakdown
Both apps offer a lot of languages. For the languages Rosetta Stone and Duolingo have in common, Rosetta Stone is a better option because it teaches more practical vocabulary. Rosetta Stone also lets you choose a dialect for major languages, like Latin American Spanish or Spanish from Spain. Duolingo doesn’t have this option. If you’re looking to become conversational, Rosetta Stone is the best value for its price. The table below shows you a direct comparison of Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo based on the languages they have, their price, and their free trial offers.
|25 Languages||39 Languages|
|3-day free trial||14-day free trial|
Duolingo vs Rosetta Stone: Cost Comparison
Rosetta Stone has different prices for the web and app version. Access to one language course on the web costs $11.99 per month and the app costs $44.99 for 3 months ($15.00 per month). You have the option to buy an Unlimited Languages subscription for $109.99 per year or lifetime access to all languages for $199.99. Rosetta Stone’s Lifetime Plus subscription sells for $299.99. This plan lets you learn all languages available on the platform, and gives you 12 months of Rosetta Stone Live. You can test out Rosetta Stone with a 3-day free trial.
Duolingo’s language courses are free, but you need to pay if you want to upgrade to Super Duolingo. A single subscription to Super Duolingo costs $12.99 per month and a yearly plan costs $83.99 ($6.99/month). There is an option to buy a Family Plan at a reduced cost. Duolingo offers a 14-day free trial to try out Super Duolingo.
The prices of both apps are similar to most other apps of comparable quality. The benefit of Duolingo is that you can learn a language completely free. However, you will be interrupted by frequent ads. If you’re planning on learning a language for a long time, or want to learn multiple languages, the lifetime subscription of Rosetta Stone could save you money in the long run. Overall, Rosetta Stone is better if you’re an individual learner, but Duolingo could be the best option if you’re a casual language learner.
If you’re looking for other options, here are some similar alternatives.
Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo: How They Work
Both Rosetta Stone and Duolingo have short and interactive lessons. Each lesson takes 5-10 minutes and takes you through a series of interactive questions. But while Duolingo relies heavily on translating activities, Rosetta Stone uses immersion, not translation, to teach you the language the way a child would.
Take a look below to see how these two apps are rated across the internet:
|User Reviews||Rosetta Stone||Duolingo|
|Google Play Store||4.5||4.6|
|Total Average Score||4.3||3.6|
How Rosetta Stone Works
Instead of using translations to ease you into the language you are trying to learn, Rosetta Stone uses a mix of images and audio to help you learn the way children do when they start speaking. Each unit has three 10 to 30-minute long lessons that consist of listening, pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar exercises. You can follow Rosetta Stone’s structured plan, or check the modules and jump ahead to the one that best fits your level.
Rosetta Stone offers audio companions for each unit, phrasebooks, live lessons, and on-demand videos that can help you develop your pronunciation and listening skills. You can also find stories and alphabet boards to practice reading. To learn more about the app, read this complete Rosetta Stone review.
How Duolingo Works
Duolingo is an incredibly popular language learning app. It has the mission to make language learning accessible to everyone worldwide and it offers entire language courses for free. Each unit has 5-8 lessons with brief grammatical explanations and interactive exercises to help you learn the basics of the language. The sessions are quick and include audio and voice recognition tools to help you practice your listening and pronunciation skills.
If you upgrade to Duolingo’s premium service, Super Duolingo, you will also have access to Duolingo’s short stories and quizzes, and can make unlimited mistakes without having to wait for your “hearts” to refill. Duolingo gives you five hearts for free but, like in a videogame, you lose a heart every time you make a mistake and can’t keep moving forward once you’ve lost them all. You can learn more about how it works in this complete Duolingo review.
Rosetta Stone: The Good and the Bad
Rosetta Stone’s courses are completely taught in the target language. This is a pro for some but a con for others. The method is clear and easy to follow so you’ll understand what you’re learning, but some people prefer to learn through translations or be gradually eased into the language.
All the audio included in Rosetta Stone’s courses is voiced by native speakers. The voices are clear and the app allows you to repeat the audio as many times as you need. While you will eventually need to practice speaking the language with another person, using the audiovisual material available in the Rosetta Stone app can get you to the level of language proficiency you need to start communicating with native speakers in the real world.
There is also a good variety of activities to keep things interesting. You can read and listen to native speakers narrate stories, and later compare your own pronunciation to theirs. Phrasebooks also require you to repeat after each word or sound to make sure that you are saying words correctly. While the videos are very short and don’t include subtitles, the speakers explain words and culture in a way that is informative and entertaining.
The app has a heavy focus on vocabulary, so you start every language course available on the platform by learning the most common words for that language. The pace of the courses could improve. It seems like the more complete sentences and conversations don’t come until later units and lessons. This can be demotivating for people who want to learn quickly.
The final area of improvement I want to mention is how Rosetta Stone teaches languages with different writing systems. For languages like Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese, you don’t learn how to read or write, and you’ll need to use another app to learn this skill. If Rosetta Stone added some lessons that teach this, it would be a huge improvement.
Duolingo: The Good and the Bad
Duolingo stands out for being one of the few language apps with entire language courses available for free. Many other apps only let you take a couple of lessons or give you access to the first level of a language before you have to pay for a subscription. This can be frustrating if the price is out of your budget and you’re still discovering the language. But, with Duolingo, you can complete all the units available without having to spend money.
In my experience, Duolingo is a useful tool to learn the basics of any language. You can start from zero and learn basic vocabulary, sentence structure, and pronunciation. If you are using the app to learn a language with a different alphabet, like Japanese, Duolingo also has exercises that introduce you to the new writing system. Overall, I recommend Duolingo to casual learners and people who just want to try their hand at learning a language.
One of the issues I’ve come across while using Duolingo is the accuracy of some sentences and words translated into the target language. While most of the content you’ll find in Duolingo is correct, there are some words and sentences that have been mistranslated, which can be an issue for beginners already confused by the language. Additionally, there are some weirdly worded sentences that are very different from the way native speakers speak.
Duolingo uses spaced repetition to help you retain vocabulary so it makes sense that you will see words repeatedly. However, the frequency in which you can get the exact same sentence seems to be too often. After a while, this can turn into one of the things that make learning with Duolingo less entertaining.
Which is better? Rosetta Stone or Duolingo
After trying both apps and comparing what each has to offer, I would use Duolingo for casual language learning, and Rosetta Stone to reach fluency in the languages that interest me the most. I think that they both are good apps, but fit different purposes.
On one hand, Duolingo’s gamified language experience and quick sessions are great for people that don’t have much time to learn, only want to learn the basics, or are just occasional language students. I wouldn’t recommend Duolingo to someone who is serious about becoming fluent because many people have reported running into mistranslation issues with the app. If you’re aiming for fluency, you might need to consider other language-learning resources that provide more reliable translations.
On the other hand, Rosetta Stone is more expensive but offers many tools that can help you reach fluency if you are consistent in your study. Its advanced voice recognition tools make it a worthwhile part of your study routine. There isn’t a free version like with Duolingo, but the quality of the material is superior and can help you reach a more advanced level. In my opinion, Rosetta Stone is the clear winner.
Duolingo or Rosetta Stone: FAQ
Rosetta Stone is better than Duolingo because it offers advanced voice recognition tools, high-quality audiovisual material, and structured yet flexible language courses. Duolingo is still a good app to use to learn the basics of a language for free. But it won’t help you become fluent on its own.
No, you can’t become fluent using only Rosetta Stone. In order to reach proficiency in any language, you need to make sure you are covering all the necessary skills to fully understand the language. Books, podcasts, videos, and online tutors can help you fill in the gaps in your language journey.
Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone are well-known language-learning apps that offer different study methods and tools. Babbel is the most comprehensive of the three, teaching all essential skills to learn a language. Duolingo offers a gamified experience, and quick study sessions to help you learn language basics. Mondly integrates modern technology into its courses, like voice recognition tools and augmented reality. Rosetta Stone gives you an immersive experience because the entire course is in your target language.
There are apps that are better than Duolingo. Rosetta Stone, Mondly, and Babbel are three options with well-developed language courses to help you learn effectively. These apps also include reliable material and tools you can use to practice your vocabulary, speaking, listening, and reading skills.