Rosetta Stone Spanish Review: What We Like & Dislike

Image of Rosetta Stone app

If you have ever taken an interest in learning a language then it is highly likely that you have heard of Rosetta Stone. Since the company formed in 1992, it has gone from strength to strength. Rosetta Stone started by teaching languages via CD-Rom. Later, they moved to online, cloud-based services for teaching. The Spanish courses are just one of many other languages available to learn through Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone’s courses are a very popular choice for language learners all over the world. That said, they have been met with some criticism. Their teaching style is certainly a little different from traditional classroom-style learning – the focus is pure language immersion.

This is not something that everyone can get on board with. In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Rosetta Stone Spanish Course, looking at the features, the aims, and letting you know exactly what we thought. If you have ever wanted to learn Spanish and have considered getting Rosetta Stone, then this is the article for you!

Rosetta Stone Spanish: What is it?

As we detailed above, Rosetta Stone is an online language course that teaches languages through immersion. Whilst they do supply downloadable software for laptops and PCs, the majority of users now take full advantage of the Rosetta Stone app for your smartphones, iPads, and tablets.

Rosetta Stone Spanish is designed with beginners in mind, introducing users to the basics of the language in an immersive, innovative way. We’ve all heard the expression “slow and steady wins the race.” Well, this message is key to Rosetta Stone Spanish. It is not designed to make you fluent within a few weeks, and nor does it promise this kind of result. Any site which claims to be able to bring you total fluency within this timeframe is lying anyway!

Great for busy people

Rosetta Stone have said themselves that many of their users are young professionals with a lot going on in their lives. Their language courses are a great option for people who cannot dedicate time each week to attend Spanish classes or one-to-one tutoring through companies like Baselang and italki. The minimum time commitment required each session with Rosetta Stone is 15 minutes.

This means you can fit your learning around your day, be it on your commute, during breakfast, or even on your lunch break. Of course, you can use it for longer than this if you want to, but you don’t need to worry if 15 minutes is all you can dedicate.

As we mentioned earlier in the article, Rosetta Stone Spanish is best tailored to beginners and casual intermediate learners. The slow and gradual method is well suited to those who adopt a laid back learning approach, rather than those looking for an intense course or to improve on their already advanced skills. If you fall into the latter category of learner then you may prefer a service like FluentU or Rocket Languages.

For the technophobes among us who may be worrying about the technology of Rosetta Stone Spanish, we are here to reassure you that the user interface for both the software and app is super easy to use and straightforward.

Learning style

The way Rosetta Stone Spanish is taught is through units. Each unit has four lessons that aim to teach you the core basics of the language through ‘image and word association’. By this, we mean that they use flashcards to match images to their associated words and phrases. This means that you will be exposed immediately to the language. Your brain will make the connection between the image and words in your head, making it sink in much easier and helping you to retain it.

This way of learning has been proven to work as it focuses on the all-important audio and visual aspects of learning. These are vital for making connections in our brain between words and pictures. For this reason, much of the course is made up of recorded audio and images.

With the knowledge learned in these core lessons, you will then be able to move onto the other modules in the unit. This is where you will learn grammar, pronunciation, and writing. This ensures that you are on a linear learning path and allows you to constantly build on your knowledge as they integrate and develop through future units. What we mean is, the knowledge you learn at the start of the course will be repeated and added to as you move through the course.

Rosetta Stone Spanish: Language immersion

An important aspect to consider is that Rosetta Stone Spanish includes no English language whatsoever. Complete beginners may find this approach a little jarring at first. After all, everything is in Spanish. However, we would argue that this is a positive aspect; it is certainly a relatively unique selling point. This teaching style forces you to fully immerse yourself in the language you are learning.

Indeed, this immersion technique is something that company founder, Allen Stoltzfus, experienced when learning German. Language immersion is a proven technique for language learning and, whilst not everyone enjoys learning this way, it is proven to bring positive results to language learners.

To keep track of your progress, Rosetta Stone Spanish provides comprehensive tracking tools, informing users how they have performed in each lesson. It does this by breaking down the different aspects of Spanish learning into sections: speaking, writing, reading, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. As a result, the software enables you to see where your strengths lie. Importantly, it also shows you where you may need to improve.

Virtual tutoring

We want to tell you about the live virtual Spanish tutoring offered by Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone’s virtual one-to-one or face-to-face Spanish lessons are up there with the best. However, this additional feature comes at an extra cost (more on costs in the next section).

This feature allows you to meet with one of Rosetta Stone’s professional Spanish tutors for a live class. This can be one-to-one (although this is less common), or it could be with a small group of other learners at the same or a similar level to you. You get 30 minutes with them, giving you enough time to catch up and test your speech and pronunciation with someone who speaks the language fluently.

Making use of these virtual lessons is a great way to work on your Spanish speaking skills. You can use it alongside the TruAccent speech recognition that comes as standard with the course for even better results. This feature compares your pronunciation with that of native speakers. It also gives you instantaneous feedback on the word or phrase you have pronounced. This allows you to correct your mistakes and listen to a native speaker pronouncing them correctly. You can then try to emulate the pronunciation.

Other important features

The other features worth mentioning include the Rosetta Stone phrasebook. This allows you to discover common phrases for travel, food ordering and asking for directions. You can use this outside of your lessons to help keep you practicing and learning. It can even support you in real life situations. In addition to this, there are plenty of quizzes and games. You can use these to help you immerse yourself in the language in a fun and competitive way.

Cost of Rosetta Stone

Let’s talk about cost. Rosetta Stone is not a particularly cheap way of learning a language, so if you are looking for something free then this is probably not the right Spanish course for you. There is the opportunity to receive a short free trial for Rosetta Stone Spanish. This will give you a feel for the course, the learning style, and the interface of the software. The free trial for Rosetta Stone’s Spanish course is relatively short, offering you just three days. After this, you can cancel it or move onto one of their paid-for plan options.

When it comes to their paid-for options, you have many different routes you can take with varying upfront and monthly costs. If you are serious about your learning then we recommend investing in the Lifetime course. This bundle gives you access to everything, (all languages!) for a one-time fee.

This fee is priced at $199 currently. However, they do often run offers and sales where the price is cut. There is no expiry date for this and you get full access to everything immediately. All software updates take place automatically and, as the app and software upgrades, so will your access.

Lifetime Plus bundle

There is also an option to purchase the Lifetime Plus bundle, which gives you access to everything in the Lifetime package, along with the bonus of 12 months of coaching included in the price. This allows you to take full advantage of the virtual, live face to face lessons we mentioned earlier. The price of this is an upfront cost of $299. Whilst this is a little pricey, we think it is worth the money. After all, you will receive a lot of support, which will allow you to work on your Spanish pronunciation and speaking skills with a native speaker or professional teacher.

Subscription packages

There are also options to pay on a subscription basis. There are 3 month, 12 month, and 24 month packages available to you. The 3 month subscription package costs $11.99 per month, the 12 month subscription package costs $7.99 per month and the 24 month subscription package comes in at $5.99 per month.

Clearly, the longer you subscribe, the lower the cost. With these packages, you get full access to everything as you would for the lifetime bundle. However, this is only for that limited amount of time.

Something to add here is that these are the monthly breakdown costs. You pay the fee for each of these subscription packages upfront. The additional virtual lessons come in at an extra price and this may vary.

Features of Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone Spanish has some key features that we really must draw your attention to before you decide to purchase it. Many of these features have been discussed already in the article, but we thought that it would be extremely beneficial to list all of the stand-out key features together.

There is an explanation of each of them and how they will benefit you in your learning journey.

  • Different formats for learning – There are a number of different learning formats to suit you, depending on the format you prefer. You can choose from an online download, a traditional CD, an online subscription and an app for your smartphone or tablet. The benefit of this is that you are not stuck with learning in a way that you do not personally enjoy. Many people cannot play CDs anymore, and would thus benefit from being able to choose another avenue for learning.
  • The quick and effective lessons – The lessons are straightforward, do not take up much of your time and are proven to be effective. This lesson style has heaps of benefits. It can make you more likely to continue your learning when you see a linear learning path. It is also one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in the language. If you are a busy person, you will find the Rosetta Stone way of teaching a great fit for you.
  • TruAccent speech recognition – Whilst it is not the same as actually conversing with someone who speaks Spanish, the TruAccent speech recognition technology gives you the next best thing. It enables you to speak to it and it can recognize what you are saying. It has the ability to tell you if you have made a mistake and exactly what that mistake is.

Rosetta Stone Spanish Review: Fun features

  • Quizzes and bonus features – Learners of all ages will enjoy the chance to play games and quizzes as a way of testing their knowledge. The benefit of this is that it will allow you to put what you are learning into practice in a fun, competitive way. The best way to learn is by testing yourself and others. You can learn from your mistakes in a way that is innovative and very different from the typical classroom style of learning.
  • Virtual teaching – One of the unique selling points is that there is an opportunity to purchase additional lessons. These are with a professional tutor and speaker of the language. Of course, if you purchase the Lifetime Plus option you will get a whole year’s worth of these lessons included for free. The benefit of these is that you will be able to speak to someone who can understand you. They can correct you when your pronunciation and syntax are slightly wrong. This, in turn, can boost your learning and help you learn more efficiently and effectively.

Rosetta Stone Spanish Review: Other handy features

  • A range of payment options and free trial – There are a number of different options when it comes to paying for Rosetta Stone. If you have a little less budget for Rosetta Stone, you could perhaps try the 3 month version. The option of a free trial is also very appealing as it allows you a taste of the course first without parting with any money.
  • A choice between Latin American Spanish and the dialect of Spanish spoken in Spain – Rosetta Stone differentiates between two types of the Spanish language. They teach the language spoken in America (Latin). They also teach the form of Spanish spoken in the native country, Spain (Castilian Spanish). This means that you can choose the type that is most relevant to you. You can choose based on where in the world you are.

What we think of Rosetta Stone Spanish

The time has come to let you know exactly what we think. In order for this to be an informative Rosetta Stone Spanish review, we feel that it is really important to let you know how we got on with it.

Let us start by saying that like anything in this world, Rosetta Stone is not perfect. There are certainly some areas that need improvement. That being said, it is extremely hard for any company to replicate a real life learning environment on a screen or through a CD. With this in mind, as far as Spanish language courses go, this is up there with the best.

Rosetta Stone Spanish: What we like

  • Great for beginners – Rosetta Stone Spanish is the perfect choice for a beginner. The classes and units are easy for a complete newcomer to understand and the way of teaching (word-image association) is effective for all ages.
  • Easy to use – A big factor for us when we are reviewing online courses is whether they are easy to use. Not everyone is confident with technology. We feel that any successful online course must meet the needs of the most inexperienced computer and tech user. We feel that Rosetta Stone does this well, with a simple set-up and user interface. Everything is self-explanatory and if you did need support or instructions they are very clear.
  • Great range of price options – Whilst Rosetta Stone is certainly not cheap, it does offer a range of prices and payment plans to suit your budget. Payment is always taken out as a lump sum, so you do not have to worry about having to make monthly payments. This means that if you want to get it, you can save up for it. You can then buy it safe in the knowledge that you do not need to pay again.

Rosetta Stone Spanish: What else we liked

  • Free trial – Talking of prices, we love the fact that there is a 3 day free trial for Rosetta Stone. Sure, it could be longer, but the fact that you get full access for 3 days is beneficial as it allows you to try before you buy.
  • Rosetta Stone is very compatible with the Spanish language – Some languages are hard to teach in the way that Rosetta Stone teaches. However, Spanish lends itself well to the teaching style of Rosetta Stone. It allows you to learn everything from vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and reading with relative ease.
  • The app – The app was a favorite feature of ours. It meant that we could practice whilst we were out and about. We could do it whenever was most convenient for us.

What we don’t like

  • No English language – Whilst there are benefits of there being no English language, it is slightly jarring for a complete beginner. Sure, it is immersive, and it is proven to be effective. However, we can also see why this would be a little intense for some people.
  • Aimed at beginner level – We know this is part of the ‘what we like’ list. However, this is a downside too. If you have a more advanced understanding of Spanish, you may find that Rosetta Stone does not meet your needs. You may not find it challenging enough as it will teach you things you already know. We do not recommend it for anyone with an intermediate or more advanced knowledge of the language.
  • Progress is slow – If you want fast results, this is not the course for you. The pace is much slower and designed to be taken in a laid back manner. That is not to say it is ineffective. Rather, progress will be slow.

Final Verdict

Rosetta Stone is a good choice for you if you are serious about learning Spanish as a beginner, particularly if you do not have time to dedicate to a more intense, faster course. The slow, laid back approach will suit those with already busy lifestyles. It is good for casual learners looking for a new skill to try their hand at. The immersive way of learning is innovative. It is effective and successful.

However, it might not suit everyone. If you have any doubts, we highly recommend that you try out the free trial first. In our opinion, you should not rely solely on Rosetta Stone Spanish for the majority of your learning. It is fine when you are just starting out. However, as you begin to develop, you may find that you need something else to progress further, such as a one-to-one Spanish tutor. This is particularly applicable to anyone looking to improve their conversational skills quickly.

All in all, we think that Rosetta Stone Spanish is a great starting point for any beginner. Provided you work hard at the lessons, you will find it a very effective way of learning.

Thank you for reading our Rosetta Stone Spanish review and good luck on your Spanish learning journey!

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