Rosetta Stone and Duolingo are both very popular language programs. Both have their strengths and disadvantages, but how do you choose the right one for your language goals?
There isn’t one objective best language learning program for every type of language learner, but the right one for you will depend on what you prioritize and what other language tools you use.
Table of Contents
- An Overview of Rosetta Stone
- How does Rosetta Stone work?
- Full immersion
- Rosetta Stone’s curriculum
- Fluency Builder
- Which languages does Rosetta Stone offer?
- How much does Rosetta Stone cost?
- How does Rosetta Stone work?
- An Overview of Duolingo
- How does Duolingo work?
- Curriculum and skill tree
- Gamified learning platform
- Which languages does Duolingo offer?
- How much does Duolingo cost
- How does Duolingo work?
- Where Rosetta Stone Beats Duolingo
- Immersive language learning
- Live tutoring sessions
- TruAccent speech recognition
- Where Duolingo Beats Rosetta Stone
- Structuring language practice as part of a more robust program
- Fun, gamified program
- Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo – Which is the Better Language Learning App?
- Rosetta Stone is better for learners who…
- Duolingo is better for learners who…
An Overview of Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone has been a popular language-learning platform for decades, offering users a powerful natural immersion method to teach new languages.
How does Rosetta Stone work?
Rosetta Stone uses a method called Structured Immersion. All lessons on the platform are presented in the target language along with pictures and audio recorded by native speakers.Our full review of Rosetta Stone is at the link below.
The structured immersion method is modeled after the way humans learn their first language and helps users with learning languages faster and more naturally than methods based in rote memorization and translation. This also means the curriculum is the same no matter what the user’s native language is.
Rosetta Stone’s curriculum
Rosetta Stone’s curriculum has two sections: Foundations and Fluency Builder.
Foundations is the beginner level course (A1 to B2 on the CEFR scale), which is available for 25 languages. Some languages have more content than others depending on the popularity of the course.
Fluency Builder is the advanced-level course (B1 to C1 on the CEFR scale). It’s only available for English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.
The Foundations curriculum is broken up into Units. More popular languages have 20 Units while less popular languages don’t have as many. Each Unit covers a different topic like “Language Basics” or “Recreation and Tourism.”
Each Unit is made up of four Lessons. Each Lesson has a specific focus within the Unit topic, for example:
- Unit 1 (Language Basics), Lesson 1: Basic sentences
- Unit 1 (Language Basics), Lesson 2: Everyday items
- Unit 1 (Language Basics), Lesson 3: Colors and sizes
- Unit 1 (Language Basics), Lesson 4: Clothing and quantities
Each Rosetta Stone lesson consists of a handful of study activities. The first activity is always called the Core Lesson. It introduces all of the new vocabulary for the Lesson and walks the user through a few practice activities.
After the Core Lesson, there are a handful of other language learning activities focused on different skills like grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
Which languages does Rosetta Stone offer?
Rosetta Stone offers 25 languages at the Foundations level (A1 – B1) and 5 at the Fluency Builder level (B1-C2).
- Chinese (Mandarin)
- English (American)
- English (British)
- Filipino (Tagalog)
- Persian (Farsi)
- Portuguese (Brazil)
- Spanish (Latin America)
- Spanish (Spain)
Fluency Builder (B1-C1)
- English (American)
- English (British)
- Spanish (Latin America)
- Spanish (Spain)
How much does Rosetta Stone cost?
Is Rosetta Stone free? No, there is no free version. There are currently three subscription options for new users:
- 3 months: $35.97 total ($11.99/mo)
- 12 months: $95.88 total ($7.99/mo)
- Lifetime: $179. This option includes access to not only all 25 languages available on the platform, but also all skill levels. That’s $7.16 per language! This is the best total value for language learning software out of all the programs and apps we’ve reviewed.
An Overview of Duolingo
Duolingo is a popular language-learning app that offers free, gamified courses in a variety of languages. You’ll instantly recognize it by its mascot, Duo the Owl. Read our full review of Duolingo at the link below.
How does Duolingo work?
Duolingo’s curriculum and user experience are designed with fun and ease of use in mind at every turn. The short, bite-sized lessons, the organization of skills into a road map, gamification features, and use of humor throughout create a dopamine-filled experience.
Curriculum and skill tree
Duolingo’s course content is arranged in a “skill tree.” Each skill has a category like “Basics”, “Travel”, or “Adverbs.” Each skill has five levels and each level is made up of a small number of lessons. Lessons include various activities, including translating words and phrases, listening exercises, and speaking exercises with voice recognition.
Gamified learning platform
Duolingo’s user experience is like a video game. With these features, their lessons activate the brain’s reward center and make learners want to come back for more.
Every time a player completes a Lesson or uses the Practice feature to train previously-learned skills, they earn XP, short for experience points. XP is used as a rough measure of how much you’ve studied on the platform.
Leagues foster friendly competition between Duolingo players. 30 players are randomly assigned to each League and they compete to see who can study the most in the week. Players who finish in the top 10 advance one “Level” in the following week’s League competition. There are 10 Levels total. The higher the level you reach, the more intense the competition gets.
Streaks are the most powerful motivator of Duolingo’s gamification features. When a player meets their XP goal, they begin a study Streak that keeps track of how many consecutive days you’ve practiced. Watching the number go up is satisfying. The notifications like “don’t make Duo sad, keep up your streak” have been memed and parodied across the internet, but you can’t deny that they’re effective.
Lingots, or Gems on mobile, are Duolingo’s in-game currency. Learners can earn Lingots by completing Lessons or reaching daily XP goals and can spend them on in-game items like Streak Freezes and outfits for Duo the Owl.
When a player reaches milestones in the skill tree, they unlock achievements. These keep players focused on long-term goals in addition to meeting their short-term daily practice goals.
Which languages does Duolingo offer?
Duolingo currently offers 38 languages. They frequently add more. Here is the complete list:
- Haitian Creole
- High Valyrian
- Scottish Gaelic
How much does Duolingo cost
Duolingo is completely free to use, but the free version has ads and some limited features. The premium subscription, Duolingo Plus, costs $6.99 per month. Duolingo plus removes the ads and offers additional features like unlimited hearts and monthly streak repairs. These features are nice to have, but most users can get by just fine without them.
Where Rosetta Stone Beats Duolingo
Rosetta Stone and Duolingo are both top-notch ways to learn a language that offer different approaches to language acquisition. Rosetta Stone is the more robust language learning platform, emphasizing natural immersion by using images, audio, and contextual cues to help learners understand the language. Its content is more structured than Duolingo’s and is aimed at teaching grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation in a comprehensive and systematic way. Duolingo is an excellent language study tool that can help learners practice their language skills in a fun and engaging way, but it’s not really designed to teach someone a language from scratch.
Immersive language learning
Immersion is the best way to learn a new language. Rosetta Stone is the closest thing you can get to complete immersion without buying a plane ticket. Most language learning websites are focused on translation. Rosetta Stone’s structured immersion method sets them apart from their competitors and enables users to gain a deep understanding of their target language faster.
Live tutoring sessions
Rosetta Stone Gold license subscribers have access to live virtual tutoring sessions led by native speakers. Each session is paired with a Core Lesson and gives users a chance to practice what they’ve just learned in a session. Each session is exclusively held in the student’s target language to encourage them to use the words they know to communicate and get comfortable speaking to another person. These real-time conversations also mean immediate feedback from a real person.
TruAccent speech recognition
Both Duolingo and Rosetta Stone include speech exercises with speech recognition engines, but only one is designed to help learners develop an authentic accent based on data from millions of native speakers, gives instant feedback, has adjustable sensitivity, and adjusts to children’s speech. That’s Rosetta Stone’s TruAccent speech recognition engine.
Duolingo and other language learning programs’ speech exercises simply detect the words that are spoken by the user. Rosetta Stone goes the extra mile to give users the confidence that they won’t stick out like a sore thumb when they communicate with others in their new language.
Where Duolingo Beats Rosetta Stone
In terms of language practice, Duolingo offers an impressive range of exercises, including grammar drills, vocabulary-building exercises, speaking activities, and listening comprehension tasks. The app’s focus on daily practice and repetition can help most learners build their language skills over time, making it an effective language study tool. It’s easy to drop in and out of Duolingo for practice on-the-go, but the app doesn’t compare in size, method, or scope to a more complete system like Rosetta Stone.
Structuring language practice as part of a more robust program
Duolingo doesn’t have the most in-depth curriculum, but it’s extremely useful for practicing your new language as a supplement to a more robust program.
Fun, gamified program
Another selling point for Duolingo is their emphasis on making learning a language fun. Bite-sized lessons go by quickly and are easy to fit into your day. Learners who struggle with staying motivated often find Duolingo helpful.
Duolingo’s free version is fully usable and the premium version is lower-cost than Rosetta Stone. This makes Duolingo a good choice for learners who haven’t committed to learning a specific language yet and just want to try it out.
Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo – Which is the Better Language Learning App?
Should you use Rosetta Stone or Duolingo? Is Rosetta Stone worth it? That depends on what you’re looking for in a language learning tool. The pricing, curriculum, user experience, and language offerings are all important considerations.
Rosetta Stone is better for learners who…
- Are committed enough to pay for a subscription
- Want an immersive learning experience
- Need a more complete language learning curriculum
- Are interested in live tutoring sessions in-platform
Duolingo is better for learners who…
- Enjoy a gamified format
- Want to practice what they know
- Prefer a free app
- Want to try a language before they spend money on learning tools
- Need a supplemental tool
Our best advice on how to learn a language is to use a variety of tools to get a wide range of knowledge. Since Rosetta Stone works well as a primary tool and Duolingo works well as a supplemental tool, you could even use both.
– LucaHarsh is a Chicago-based freelancecontent writer. They speak a lot of French and a little of whatever language they’re currently trying out on an app.
Rosetta Stone is a property of IXL Learning, Inc.
Duolingo vs Rosetta Stone, which is better for travel? If you are going to be travelling and want to learn a language at a beginner to intermediate level, we believe Rosetta Stone is a better option than Duolingo. Their lessons are more comprehensive and you will learn more quickly.Can you become fluent with Rosetta Stone? ›
No, you will not become fluent by studying a language with Rosetta Stone. This is especially true if you're studying a less popular language like Japanese, Korean, or Arabic. However, you can learn the basics of a language and start to have simple conversations.Is there a better language app than Duolingo? ›
We have compiled a list of solutions that reviewers voted as the best overall alternatives and competitors to Duolingo, including Rosetta Stone, Busuu, Lingvist, and Mango Languages.Is Rosetta Stone still the best way to learn Spanish? ›
Rosetta Stone can get you some basic knowledge of Spanish before you start using other, more comprehensive methods. If you're looking for a place to learn rudimentary Spanish and get slightly conversational, Rosetta Stone might be well suited to your needs.How much is Duolingo compared to Rosetta Stone? ›
The Cost. Rosetta Stone: A 12-month course costs US 95.88 for unlimited languages. Duolingo: Free. There is a premium subscription option called “Duolingo Plus” that costs $83.88 for one year.How many hours of Rosetta Stone to be fluent? ›
It takes the average learner 50 hours to complete a chosen language with the Rosetta Stone Library Solution. If you set aside five 30-minute sessions a week, the average learner would complete their learning in 20 weeks.What level of fluency is Rosetta Stone? ›
Rosetta Course™ gives learners the content needed to advance into the B1 level of proficiency on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) scale, and it helps them develop the skills necessary to continue their language-learning growth at higher levels.Is Duolingo enough to master a language? ›
Can Duolingo make me fluent? Research shows that Duolingo is an effective way to learn a language! But the truth is that no single course, app, method, or book can help you reach all your language goals.What is the most useful language learning app? ›
- See at Duolingo. Duolingo. Best for learning multiple languages. ...
- See at Babbel. Babbel. Best for an online school-type experience. ...
- See at Drops. Drops. Best for visual learners. ...
- See at Mondly. Mondly. Best for helping you remember specific phrases. ...
- See at Memrise. Memrise.
- Babbel. Best Overall App to Learn Spanish.
- Rocket Languages. Best App to Learn Spanish Grammar.
- Pimsleur. Best Spanish App with Audio Lessons.
- Mondly. Best Beginner Spanish App.
- Lingopie. Best App for Spanish Immersion Online.
- MosaLingua. Best Language and Culture App for Spanish.
- Drops. ...
- Rosetta Stone.
How long does it take to master a level? Rosetta Stone states that it takes the average learner twenty weeks (or thirty minutes a day for five days a week) to master a level. Latin American Spanish, for example, has five levels. That means the average learner could complete all levels in less than two years.Do people actually learn languages with Rosetta Stone? ›
Rosetta Stone is undoubtedly one of the most famous language-learning programs. But is it any good? The answer is an emphatic yes, especially if you're new to a language and want to develop a strong base of vocabulary and grammar. It's well structured, clear, and moves at a deliberate pace.What level of Spanish does Duolingo get you to? ›
At Duolingo, we're developing our courses to get you to a level called B2, at which you can get a job in the language you're studying. Reaching that kind of proficiency requires dedication, varied practice opportunities, and a lot of time.Why is Duolingo changing so much? ›
Why are courses updated? There is no such thing as a “finished” language course. So at Duolingo, we're always working to make our courses better! If you've gotten an update, it's because we're excited to share the latest changes to the existing course.How many people finish a Duolingo course? ›
Unfortunately, there is a wealth of difference between installing an app, and learning a new language. An informal study estimates that course completion rates fall as low as 0.01% for Spanish learners (second most popular language on Duolingo), and peak at 0.24% for Ukrainian learners.How can I become fluent in Spanish in a year? ›
- Learn the basics using the free materials. ...
- Master a few conversation points. ...
- Use your conversations points with a native speaker. ...
- Surround yourself with Spanish. ...
- Go somewhere.
It is possible to learn Spanish in 3 months, but it is true that to fully master the language to a native level, you will need more time. An intensive Spanish course covering all levels (from A1 to C2) consists of 62 weeks (about 15 months in total).What is the fastest time to become fluent in a language? ›
True language fluency requires consistent effort and time, and while 500 – 1,000 hours may seem like a lot, a typical person could probably invest that level of time over 12 – 18 months, with the right study schedule.At what language level are you considered fluent? ›
Level B2: Basic Fluency
Reaching B2 is generally considered by most people as having basic fluency. You'll have a working vocabulary of around 4000 words.
Level five means you are entirely fluent in a language. You were raised speaking the language or have spoken it long enough to become proficient in it.
Faced with a far more crowded language-learning market and a late-entry into mobile apps, shares of Rosetta Stone have tumbled 65% over the last five years. The Arlington, Va. -based tech company has struggled to get consumers to pay for similar language courses available through apps that cost far less.What is one criticism of Duolingo? ›
Duolingo doesn't teach any grammatical theory. In many cases, just explaining how part of the grammar works would be more efficient then having users learn by trial and error. For example, Chinese uses a different system than English talking about time than English.What is the controversy with Duolingo? ›
Up until a couple of days ago, the Duolingo app was famous for terrorising people into doing their daily lessons so they could ask someone where the horse would drink coffee in a different language. Now, the app and its mascot – a green owl – are under fire for making an NSFW comment about Katy Perry.How long does it take the average person to learn a language on Duolingo? ›
5 Minutes a Day: 4,650 days // 12.7 years. 10 Minutes a Day: 2,325 days // 6.4 years. 15 Minutes a Day: 1,550 days // 4.2 years. 20 Minutes a Day: 1,163 days // 3.2 Years.How long does it take to become fluent on Duolingo? ›
Putting in ten hours of study and practice per day, this equates to two months for “easy” languages and four months for “difficult” languages. How do you get started? Web sites such as DuoLingo can teach you 27 languages for free.How long should I use Duolingo per day? ›
To optimize your learning, aim to spend between 15 and 30 minutes on the app each day. If you're struggling to commit a decent amount of time to your learning, try breaking the time up throughout your day.Is Duolingo better than Babbel? ›
The biggest difference between Babbel and Duolingo is the approach to language learning. Babbel is a better option if you want traditional language instructions through modules and lessons. By contrast, Duolingo works great if you need a playful, gamified experience.What is scientifically the best way to learn a language? ›
The theory is that repeated exposure over time is better than the same exposure crammed into a short space of time. If you're learning a language, start writing down new words as you come across them. Put them on cards with a translation into your language on the back. Then take some time each day to practice.Is Duolingo or Babbel better for learning a language? ›
Plus, their live classes are better organized and well-executed. So all in all, Babbel gets the win here as the superior language learning course from top to bottom, regardless of whether you want to learn Spanish, French, or any other language.Is learning Spanish on Duolingo worth it? ›
Verdict: Should You Use Duolingo To Learn Spanish? All in all, there's a lot to like about Duolingo. This Spanish learning app is free, there's a decent variety of drills and exercises, and the digital platform is top-notch. However, there are certainly some disadvantages with Duolingo Spanish as well.
Busuu offers a language learning experience that compares to Duolingo. They have a structured curriculum that you can progress through involving audio, vocabulary, and other gamified experiences. However, unlike Duolingo, Busuu has a more limited free version as they have a premium subscription-based business model.What app can make you fluent in Spanish? ›
- Rosetta Stone.
Babbel lessons tend to cover more material at a faster pace compared to Rosetta Stone. On the other hand, Rosetta Stone takes time drilling you on the same words and phrases, meaning lessons move more slowly. Also, this makes Rosetta Stone's lessons a bit more monotonous and repetitive than Babbel's lessons.How much time should I spend on Rosetta Stone per day? ›
Practice a little bit every day Rosetta Stone recommends 30 minutes in the program a day to keep everything you're learning fresh in your mind. Schedule practice time on your calendar This will help you remember to get in those 30 minutes, and ensure Rosetta Stone becomes part of your daily routine.What is the easiest language to learn on Rosetta Stone? ›
- Farsi (Persian)
On March 17, 2021, Rosetta Stone was acquired by IXL Learning from Cambium Learning Group.How many languages could be read on the face of the Rosetta Stone? ›
The Rosetta stone was inscribed with text in three languages, Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Ancient Greek, and Demotic script. The stone was called the Rosetta stone as it was discovered in the city of Rosetta, in Egypt which lies on the Nile River branch of the Mediterranean Sea.What happens when you complete Spanish Duolingo? ›
Finishing a Duolingo course might teach you how to process the written language on some basic level, but going through thousands of short and unrelated sentences doesn't really have much in common with actual reading. This is why you should develop your own reading practice.What is the success rate of Duolingo? ›
The effectiveness measure showed that on average participants gained 8.1 points per one hour of study with Duolingo. The 95% Confidence Interval for the effectiveness is from 5.6 points to 10.7 points gained per one hour of study.Has anyone learned Spanish with Duolingo? ›
The one I found has helped me immensely and after 3,5 months I can say that I have an estimated level of low B2 which for me is very, very satisfying. All this I thanks to duolingo. I wouldn't even have considered learning Spanish if it weren't for Duolingo.
The guidebook can be accessed any time, even when you complete the unit. NOTE: Guidebooks are not available for all languages. Once you complete all the levels in a unit, you'll complete a challenge to earn your unit trophy. You'll also have the option to earn the Legendary trophy for each unit.Does Duolingo get more advanced? ›
Yes, you can start your Duolingo language course at a higher level! To start at a higher level, you'll need to take Duolingo's placement test when you start a new language course.Has Duolingo changed 2023? ›
Duolingo Classes will wind down and retire on January 18th, 2023. This means hosts and learners will no longer be able to host or attend classes, and the Classes website will not be accessible. We are very grateful to our learners and hosts who have joined us on this journey.Who is the most followed person on Duolingo? ›
Congrats to John Arnold, who has the highest-ever Duolingo streak of over 2000 days! He's a horse farmer and chemist who's been studying for 5.5 years straight. His secret?How many hours of Duolingo is equal to a college course? ›
We have a team of PhDs dedicated to this. According to an independent study conducted by the City University of New York and the University of South Carolina, an average of 34 hours of Duolingo are equivalent to a full university semester of language education. You can see a full report of the study here.Can I really learn a language with Rosetta Stone? ›
Rosetta Stone is undoubtedly one of the most famous language-learning programs. But is it any good? The answer is an emphatic yes, especially if you're new to a language and want to develop a strong base of vocabulary and grammar. It's well structured, clear, and moves at a deliberate pace.Can you learn a whole language with Rosetta Stone? ›
You probably won't learn much with Rosetta Stone. That's because a big portion of the program teaches you separate words without their context—and without context, words don't have meaning. To understand why this is true, imagine being a foreigner trying to learn English.Can you learn to speak a language with Rosetta Stone? ›
With Rosetta Stone you will be able to learn your new language intuitively, speak confidently.How many hours does it take to learn a language with Rosetta Stone? ›
Language learning is a dynamic and ongoing process and will depend on how much time you choose to dedicate to your journey. On average, it takes approximately: 120 - 150 hours to complete the content in Units 1-12.How does Rosetta Stone compare to Babbel? ›
Babbel lessons tend to cover more material at a faster pace compared to Rosetta Stone. On the other hand, Rosetta Stone takes time drilling you on the same words and phrases, meaning lessons move more slowly. Also, this makes Rosetta Stone's lessons a bit more monotonous and repetitive than Babbel's lessons.
Practice a little bit every day Rosetta Stone recommends 30 minutes in the program a day to keep everything you're learning fresh in your mind. Schedule practice time on your calendar This will help you remember to get in those 30 minutes, and ensure Rosetta Stone becomes part of your daily routine.Is Duolingo better than babbel? ›
The biggest difference between Babbel and Duolingo is the approach to language learning. Babbel is a better option if you want traditional language instructions through modules and lessons. By contrast, Duolingo works great if you need a playful, gamified experience.How many languages can you realistically learn at once? ›
Answer: Thankfully, your brain can definitely handle learning two (or more!) languages at once! (Two down, 6,998 to go.) But there are also some ways you can make this linguistic task easier on yourself.What 3 languages were on the Rosetta Stone? ›
The Rosetta Stone, a symbol for different things to different people, is a dark-colored granodiorite stela inscribed with the same text in three scripts – Demotic, hieroglyphic and Greek. In July 1799, the stone was found in the city of Rosetta (modern el Rashid) by French soldiers during Napoleon's invasion of Egypt.How many years did it take to translate the Rosetta Stone? ›
“The first people to look at the Rosetta Stone thought it would take two weeks to decipher,” says Dolnick, author of The Writing of the Gods: The Race to Decode the Rosetta Stone. “It ended up taking 20 years.”How long should you study a language a day to become fluent? ›
The short answer is as much as possible.
Realistically, however, at least 20 minutes per day should be dedicated to learning a new language. The ideal amount of time to spend on daily study, if you can find the time, is an hour, but you don't need to cram it all in at once.
Which is better, Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone? After a thorough review of the language learning courses from both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone, our team gives the edge to Pimsleur as the better course. Compared to Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur offers a more robust course from top to bottom.