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Review of Rosetta Stone Version 3

Updated on January 14, 2010

Rosetta Stone Review

Rosetta Stone is one of the best ways of learning a foreign language on your own nowadays. The software of course is not perfect, and it is ridiculous to think that only with it someone could reach fluency in a foreign language. But for a serious lerner, it could be the fundamental tool in which the learning of a foreign language is based.

How does the Rosetta Stone Program Work?

Rosetta Stone tries to mimic the way in which a child learns his first language. To achieve this, the program immerses you since the beginning in the foreign language. There is no English in the entire length of the course. So, how do you understand anything that the course teaches you? Rosetta Stone shows you photos at the same time that a speaker in the foreign language pronounce a phrase. You can see this sentence written too. So your job is to choose to which photo the phrase belongs. You infer the meaning of the phase by trial and error trying to match it with the photos. At the beginning the phrases are very simple: “the man runs,” “the girl eats,” “the boy drinks.” But after a while they start to become more and more complex. You have to repeat the phrase a lot to catch the meaning of the more complex phrases.

Will I Become Fluent with Rosetta Stone?

Of course not! I used to practice with version 2 and found it excellent to learn a great deal of vocabulary, but not so good for speaking or understanding grammar. My usual approach was to begin with Pimsleur to learn speaking and after that continue with Rosetta Stone to add vocabulary. Sadly, with the changes introduced in Version 3 of Rosetta Stone this approach doesn't work anymore. Now Rosetta Stone introduces less vocabulary and tries to center the course in learning words and phrases that the student will find in real life situations. So the course is now more basic, more recommendable for beginners than before. Therefore, you need to add other courses to achieve a good command of the foreign language you want to learn. The sales pitch from Rosetta Stone say:

“Rosetta Stone Level 1, 2 & 3 Set will take you on a journey from the basics to a whole new level of sophistication. You'll build a foundation of fundamental vocabulary and essential language structure.”

To me the key phrase in the above sentence is “you’ll build a foundation” a good foundation without doubt, but no more.

For Who is Right the Rosetta Stone Language Learning Software?

Rosetta Stone is recommended for highly motivated learners. You will need a lot of self-discipline to learn a language with Rosetta Stone. To get the most of the program you need to work in with your computer at least one hour everyday and that can be a little boring.

Pros & Cons of Rosetta Stone for learning Foreign Languages


  • It is the program that achieves immersion in a foreign language in a way that is nearly similar to the real thing.
  • The program covers all the aspects of the language: speaking and understanding, reading, and writing. The only thing missing is grammar, but this is for methodological reasons.
  • The interface is very intuitive, really easy to use.


  • Rosetta Stone is Expensive.
  • You can’t install Rosetta Stone in two computers at the same time. If you want to install it in another computer, you have to deactivate the program first, uninstall it from your computer and after that reinstall it in another computer.
  • Legally, you can’t sell your copy of the program. Rosetta Stone software is not sold but licensed. So, you don’t own it!
  • You have to spend a large amount of time in front of your computer.
  • The pictures, situations, and statements don’t always reflect the cultural realities of the foreign languages, especially in not European languages like Chinese.

Rosetta Stone Version 3 Review
Rosetta Stone Version 3 Review

How is Rosetta Stone Course structured?

Rosetta Stone is divided in three levels. Each level has four units and each unit is divided in several core lessons. Like pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, listening, writing, reading, speaking, and review. Supposedly, you can complete each level in roughly 24 hours of work. So with a little more than 70 hours of material you are unable to study the language in depth. You have to think Rosetta Stone as a basic course of the foreign language. The only language at the moment of writing this review more developed is Latin American Spanish that adds levels 5 and 6. Besides, they offer the audio companion to practice listening without your computer.    


Rosetta Stone is not perfect for learning a foreign language. It is pricey, it lacks of sensitivity to the differences between the various languages, it doesn't go deeply into fluency, etc. However, most approaches on the market are plagued with the same drawbacks and many more. Therefore, for someone who wants to try learning on their own, or doesn't have time to assist to a classroom course, the Rosetta Stone language learning software could still be a great investment.


Submit a Comment

  • skpatra profile image

    skpatra 5 years ago from India

    Great hub. Really interesting!

  • skpatra profile image

    skpatra 5 years ago from India

    Well written. Descriptive. Thanks

  • Bharatthapa profile image

    Bharat Thapa 6 years ago from NEW DELHI

    I am using it right now and i am on level 2 of it, once i'll complete level 3 then again i'd be writing something about my personal experience with Rosetta stone(I am with zero background of spanish.) Y vivo en este país dónde no hablan español. =P

  • htodd profile image

    htodd 6 years ago from United States

    Thanks great post ..Nice

  • Brooke Lorren profile image

    Brooke Lorren 7 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

    I love languages. I personally have found that Rosetta Stone makes it easier to learn languages than any other program I've used (even college classes).

    The only difficulty that I've had with it is that in languages with different alphabets (like Chinese), it's hard to learn to read that language. I'm currently learning Chinese with Rosetta Stone, and I can't read a lick of Chinese yet, although I'm halfway through level 1. I will probably supplement that part with a book at some point.

  • profile image

    betterman5180 7 years ago

    Anything Better than Rosetta Stone ? sells Rosetta Stone Spanish with $149.07 for Spanish learners.

  • DonnaWallace profile image

    Donna Wallace 7 years ago from North Carolina

    Great review! I've always wondered if Rosetta Stone was worth the price.