Rosetta Stone: Any experiences?

I’m thinking of shelling out the bucks to buy Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish. Does anyone have any experience with it?

My main questions:

How long will it be before I could walk up to a Spanish speaking person and carry on an intelligent conversation? Could I write a business paper in Spanish after completing the program?

Any experiences would be helpful.

btw, I’m not pushing Rosetta Stone. It’s just that I’ve heard good things about it, and it seems like the type of learning that would help me the most.


I don’t know that you could have an intelligent conversation without first working with a tutor or consulting other sources. Rosetta Stone is a language learning aid, and while it’s helpful, it’s not the end all be all of language learning, and you’re going to need a lot more help if you ever want to approach fluency.

You wouldn’t be able to write a business paper.

I’ve no experience with Rosetta Stone, but a few years ago, I was very interested in learning Spanish and compared it with “Visual Link” by the U. S. Institute of Languages – “Converse in Spanish in 30 days or less - Guaranteed!” This one seemed easier to me when I sampled them on their respective websites. So I bought it. Well, it turns out I don’t need it after all. I had been involved in a city volunteer activity that brought me in contact with a lot of Spanish-speaking people, but that program has been abolished. While I’d like to learn Spanish, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to use it, so I don’t see the point. Bottom line: I have the “Visual Link” program (CD’s, book, etc. - I haven’t even looked through them), plus a bunch of emails with links for free lessons. Right now I don’t recall how much I paid for it, but I’d be willing to sell it to you for much less. Check out for more info, and let me know if you’re interested. In the meantime, I’ll find out how much I paid for it and what is included.

I haven’t used Rosetta Stone, but it’s so freaking expensive, I think it’d almost certainly be cheaper to take Spanish at the local community college. I know that isn’t always feasible for people, but I suspect it would be more effective. (Everyone learns differently, but I’ve tried to teach myself languages, and I’ve studied languages in the classroom, and it’s no contest - learning from an actual person is much more effective.)

Either you have a really cheap community college or Rosetta Stone is fucking expensive. I have no idea how much a Rosetta Stone program costs, so the latter is very possible. Yikes.

I’ve used Rosetta Stone for Japanese. The program itself is quite good, though the software feels like something out the early 90’s. It’s very dated. But like I said, the program itself is quite good.

Japanese goes from level 1 to 3, and afterwards you’re at a level where you can hold basic conversations about a variety of stuff and have a decent grasp of reading (which is VERY difficult in Japanese. I still can’t read most things very well, but I can get by). Spanish would be easier in the writing sense, but I highly doubt you’d be having seriously intelligent (like philosophical) discussion or able to write a business paper even after completing the whole program. It’s not aimed at that. You would, however, be able to converse reasonably well about most basic subjects, and probably wouldn’t have any trouble in a spanish speaking country.

Level 1 Spanish is $229. I actually have taken Spanish at a community college (one of the community colleges of Chicago) and I can’t remember exactly how much it cost, but I think it was comparable to that, or cheaper. And I got to have actual conversations with an actual professor.

Rosetta Stone has a sample DVD that I got from them for free. It has the introductory lesson in several languages. I gave it a perfunctory look at the language I was interested in and it seems like a good program to start out.

If you want something more conversational, search for “Coffee Break Spanish” in iTunes. It was the only language learning series that didn’t put me to sleep. I actually enjoyed it.

Rosetta Stone is comprehensive, in that it covers reading, writing, and speaking (to some degree it tries to help with pronunciation/accent), but it takes a looonnng time to go through each of the levels, maybe 6 months if you do all levels.

Check with your local large-city public library. Here in SF, you can learn some of the Rosetta Stone languages free, online. Spanish is one of them. I wanted to learn Tagalog, but it’s not part of the free program…


Check out the reviews on too, they are really well descriptive of the product.

Tried it with Portugese; very bad experience. I still can’t speak the language.

I have the Spanish lessons and was very disappointed. It’s ok for learning vocabulary.
They don’t teach grammar. They don’t explain the difference in masculine/feminine words or tenses.

I was shocked at how little Rosetta helped with my first college Spanish class.

I can’t believe that this is true.

I have My Spanish Coach for my PSP and it covers basic grammar and tenses very early. Rosetta doesn’t touch on it?!

Not directly. They do show a picture of a guy, hombre. Then a woman’s picture and the word, Mujer.

They never explain why the words change. Or the rules of making a noun masculine/feminine.

The picture approach relies on rote memory.

I’ve seen the pictures with definitions on television but I assumed that was only a part of what Rosetta Stone did. That’s all they do? Pictures with definitions?

Jesus. It’s sad that a game for my PSP is a better teacher. It uses full sentences and all that jazz. It’s not made me anywhere near fluent but I find myself catching meaning when I hear people speak Spanish. That’s good enough, considering I bought the game primarily for entertainment.

Rossetta uses pictures throughout. They do get into sentences and phrases. But, no explanation or theory like you get in a class.

I only used Rosetta for about two months before my class started. Maybe if I had used it for 8 months, it might have helped me more.

I have Rosetta Stone Spanish in my computer right now. What surprised me about it was that everything is in Spanish. I mean everything. There is no section in English to explain what’s going on regarding the grammar. That being said, it is pretty well designed to lead you via pattern recognition to ever more complex concepts.

It’s a good adjunct to other learning tools/methods, but I don’t think the software by itself will get you beyond basic conversation.

Well, how much explanation do you really need? A substantive is either masculine or feminine, and that’s all there is to it.

The grammar of a language–its neatness-- is not what you’d want to get CDs for anyway. It’s the messiness of language that they can help with.

Rosetta Stone will never give you the kind of competence the OP wants, but the software in general has come far since its early days. I reviewed the early English version for LAUSD (and used it in the classroom), and back then it wasn’t worth the trouble of the technology.

This makes sense as I’ve seen it touted as an immersion method.