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Rosetta Stone vs Fluenz: Both Expensive, Neither Amazing

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Rosetta Stone and Fluenz are language learning resources that students can use to get to grips with a language.

While Rosetta Stone and Fluenz may appear to be quite similar, the manner in which they teach is completely different. Here’s what sets Rosetta Stone and Fluenz apart:

  • Rosetta Stone is completely immersive, meaning you won’t be given any explanations of what you’re learning whereas lessons on Fluenz include lots of explanations in English.

Out of the two resources, Fluenz is easily my first choice. However, there are plenty of other language learning resources that offer better value than Rosetta Stone and Fluenz.

I’d recommend looking at all your options before you decide on which course is for you. The table below highlights some of our favorite tools based on the language you want to learn.

Most Recommended Resources By Language

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What I like about each platform:

Rosetta Stone:

  • Content is clearly laid out, and the interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
  • The ‘Extended Learning’ pack provides additional features that make the material more enjoyable.
  • Users who commit to the course would undoubtedly be able to improve their language skills.

FLUENZ:

  • The thorough explanations are helpful for a beginner user.
  • Video tutorials offer a unique method of learning and are very engaging.
  • The podcasts allow for more passive learning.
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What I don’t like about each platform:

Rosetta Stone:

  • The main units of the course get repetitive very quickly, and would probably be demoralizing after a while.
  • There are no areas in the course itself which explore the cultural context of a language.
  • You’ll have to infer the meaning of content through the images as there are no explanations provided. This can make learning simple concepts unnecessarily frustrating.
  • More expensive than similar, and better, resources.

Fluenz:

  • The activities can feel slow in pace at times.
  • Some of the activities feel repetitive, which gets boring quite quickly.
  • It isn’t cheap.

Languages Available

Fluenz’s courses are for six of the more popular language choices: Spanish (Latin America), French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish (Spain) and Portuguese.

Rosetta Stone offers courses in 19 different languages, including the common languages: French, German, Spanish and Italian. The resource also offers courses in Persian, Turkish, Polish, Arabic and Filipino.

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Cost

You should expect to pay a bit more for courses on Rosetta Stone. Unlike other language learning platforms, you can’t pay on a month-by-month basis. The shortest subscription period is three months, which costs $79, moving up to $119 for six months, $179 for 12 months and $249 for 24 months.

Fluenz is one of the more expensive language learning resources available. Each full language course is priced differently, with the most expensive courses (German, French and Italian), topping at $378. You can also pay for a smaller bundle of levels for certain courses based on your ability.

How languages are taught with Rosetta Stone

We only tried the Spanish course on Rosetta Stone, but I’d imagine that all courses are fairly similar. The full course has more than two hundred hours of material to work through, with exercises to improve your speaking, writing, reading, listening and pronunciation skills.

There are 20 units altogether, which build up in difficulty as you progress through the course. Each unit has its own theme, but they all generally stick to the same format.

You begin with the first core lesson, which runs through some of the grammar, vocabulary and phrases you learned in previous lessons. After that, you move onto shorter exercises that stick to the subject theme you’re working on, focusing on specific elements in particular.

In each exercise, you’ll be encouraged to work through questions, match pictures to sentences and improve your pronunciation, before you’re given a final score. You learn everything through immersion, which makes the exercises all feel quite similar.

This method of learning won’t give you an in-depth look at the grammar of the language. Their approach of only using your target language can sometimes be frustrating. Concepts that could easily be understood with a quick explanation may never become clear when trying to pick it up through immersion. Likewise, sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly what a picture is supposed to represent.

Aside from the core material, Rosetta Stone also gives you access to a couple of other features when you purchase the Rosetta Stone package. The “Extended learning” feature lets you have some fun, with games to play against other learners, and a “Read” section for learning a bit about the cultural context of the language you’re learning, which the course itself doesn’t offer.

Read our full review of Rosetta Stone.

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How languages are taught with Fluenz

Unlike Rosetta Stone, Fluenz offers English explanations for all of the material it covers. This makes for a more helpful in-depth approach to language learning.

Each language covers five different levels, except for Mandarin, which covers three. You get 30 sessions in each level, each focusing on a specific topic. There are video tutorials that explain certain aspects of a language in more depth, and “workouts” to give you a more practical learning experience.

Fluenz session structure

This is an example of a session structure on Fluenz. Explanations are given in the introduction, tutorial and conclusion sections. The exercises that pad out the session use the material taken from the dialogue you hear at the start of every session.

Lessons flow nicely from one to the other, so that by the time you reach the harder classes, you feel like you’re prepared enough to take them on. You can also move freely between lessons, choosing which ones to practice and when.

None of Fluenz’s activities really feel like a game, as there are no time limits or points. For this reason, I’d say the resource is more suitable for somebody with a more academic approach to learning, as the element of fun is missing.

In addition to its sessions and levels in each course, Fluenz offers an additional flashcard feature. This lets you select vocabulary for practicing, and the type of flashcard used. You can set your flashcards to different options to suit your style of learning.

The flashcard function isn’t particularly exciting, but it gives you control over the vocabulary you want to learn, which some users will enjoy.

Read our full review of Fluenz.

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Final thoughts

In all, I think there are benefits to both Rosetta Stone and Fluenz, but I wouldn’t opt for Rosetta Stone out of the two.

Even though Fluenz is pricey compared to other language learning resources, I enjoyed its thorough approach to teaching, and the video and podcast elements made for something different.

That said, I wouldn’t recommend Fluenz to someone looking for a more light-hearted, fun approach to learning a language. You also need a certain level of commitment and dedication in advance if you’re willing to part with such a big amount of money.

Even though we like Fluenz more than Rosetta Stone, there are other courses I’d recommend above Fluenz.

The table below shows some of our favourite resources based on the language you’re looking to learn.

MOST RECOMMEND RESOURCES BY LANGUAGE

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