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Duolingo vs Rosetta Stone

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So you’ve heard about Duolingo and Rosetta Stone before. Now you want to decide which one you should learn from. You’ve come to the right place. In this complete guide, we’re going to share how both Duolingo and Rosetta Stone works, their prices, pros and cons, and alternatives you should consider before investing in either language solutions.

Ready to get started?


Overview of Duolingo and Rosetta Stone

To help you get a quick overview, we’ve highlighted 5 important factors that most people care about when learning a language:

  • Price
  • Convenience
  • Language options
  • Interactive
  • Focus



  • Price: Free
  • Structure: Learning new vocabulary and grammar
  • Language options: 31 languages available for English speakers
  • Interactive: Low-Medium
  • Focus: Grammar and vocabulary


Rosetta Stone

  • Price: $179 to $479
  • Structure: Learning vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures
  • Language options: 30+ languages available
  • Interactive: Low-Medium
  • Focus: Grammar and vocabulary


Duolingo vs Rosetta STone breakdown

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is a free language mobile app that was launched in 2011 by the founder Luis von Ahn. Today, it is one of the most popular apps out there with over 110 million downloads from around the world. Duolingo’s main users include hobbyists and beginner language learners who are looking to dip their feet into the pool. It became a popular app given its free price point and their gamified approach to language learning.


What is Rosetta Stone?

Rosetta Stone is likely the most recognized brand, given how long they have been around. The brand was named after the Egyptian hieroglyphics and was founded in 1992, and today they offer over 30 languages, including Spanish, French, Mandarin, Italian, German, and more. Compared to Duolingo, Rosetta Stone offers a more traditional approach to digital language learning, with less of a gamified approach but they claim that they offer a research-backed method to learn.


How Duolingo works


1. Select your language and assess your skills

Duolingo offers a free (and optional) proficiency test to get a rough estimate of what your language skills are before you get started. If you’re just starting to learn a new language, this is not necessary and you can just skip this section.



2. Learn the basic words in your target language

For any language you select to learn on Duolingo, they will start teaching you words like ‘boy’, ‘girl’, ‘apple’, and so forth. These are as basic as it gets when it comes to learning a new language, but a prerequisite if you want to start holding conversations. You’ll likely spend a few hours (or days) depending on how much time you spend learning per day, before you start advancing into more complicated stages.

Duolingo does a good job of keeping you engaged as you tend to earn badges and level up as you make progress.


3. Work on more advanced language lessons

Once you learn the basic vocabulary words in your respective language, you’ll start to level up to more advanced lessons. Things like putting sentences together, translating words directly, and more. Keep in mind, you only have 3 ‘lives’ left before you are forced to start over again.



4. Complete the course (or level) and keep leveling up

As we previously mentioned, Duolingo has made language learning fun by allowing you to earn badges as you get better. There are nearly endless badges you can earn on Duolingo so you’ll be spending several years at the very least to reach the end.

Will that mean that you’ll become fluent in the language by the time you complete all the badges? Likely not.

Learning a new language via a software application is significantly different than speaking it with a native speaker. Sure, you may have a basic grasp of the grammar and vocabulary, but if your goal is to confidently speak with native speakers, the free language app has its limits.



How Rosetta Stone Works

Now let’s explore the onboarding experience of Rosetta Stone as a new visitor.


1. Explore their interactive demo

Both Duolingo and Rosetta Stone require you to sign up before exploring their platform. The major difference between the two is that Rosetta Stone is a paid service, while Duolingo is free, creating a lower entry barrier. However, Rosetta Stone does offer an interactive demo where you can play around with a few language lessons they offer.


2. Choose which product you want to learn with

Rosetta Stone offers two different products: an instant downloadable CD-Rom version and an online subscription that expires once you cancel. The online subscription product seems to be fairly new given the trend of where technology is heading towards. There seems to be pros and cons for both options. The CD-Rom option allows you to keep the license forever, and offers 5 users. But it only includes 3 months of trial for their mobile app and games & activities feature.


3. Upgrade to a pricing plan

If you decide to go with Rosetta Stone’s subscription version, you’ll have 4 options to choose from: 3 months; 6 months; 12 months; 24 onths. As you can see from the image below, they offer a significant discount if you go with their 12 month or 24 month option.



Business model

From a price perspective, the two language apps are quite different. Rosetta Stone requires you to pay upfront via subscription, while Duolingo is a freemium service. As we mentioned previously, Rosetta Stone has a secondary model where they charge you an instant downloadable product.

Rosetta Stone price breakdown (for CD-Rom):

  • 1 level: $179
  • 2 levels: $279
  • 3 levels: $379
  • Full 5 levels: $479

As for Duolingo, they offer a very unique business model. The app sells translations generated by users of the application itself to corporations and language schools. In the past few years, Duolingo has been experimenting with various different business models including:

  • Language certifications
  • Premium subscription
  • Ads (for corporations)

It’s too early to say what Duolingo will double down on in terms of their business model, but it’s safe to say that they’re still figuring things out.


Focus for language skills

In terms of specialty focus, both Rosetta Stone and Duolingo is mainly focused on helping you improve your grammar and expand your vocabulary skills. Neither are especially helpful for practicing your conversation skills, and we recommend that you use these tools as a complementary service to working with a professional language tutor.


In conclusion: Is Duolingo better than Rosetta Stone?

If you’re comparing the two solutions from a price to value perspective, it’s hard to beat Duolingo. Given that both solutions offer a simliar end result: helping you learn basic vocabulary and grammar, the free app appears to be the winner. However, Rosetta Stone does claim that their solution comes with a heavy dose of research, given how much they’ve invested in the curriculum.

It’s hard to test out both from a user perspective however since Duolingo is free and Rosetta Stone requires you to pay upfront.

Final winner: Duolingo


An Alternative to Duolingo and Rosetta Stone

We’ve shown you the major differences between the two language instructional apps, and we also covered their major downsides. Neither offer an effective solution for improving your conversation skills nor do they allow you to speak with native speakers to get real-time feedback.

If you’re trying to get a basic grasp of how the language works and form basic sentences, then going the instructional app route may be for you. In fact, they’re great complementary tools. However, if you’re looking to achieve conversation fluency faster to:

  • Build genuine relationships/friendships with other language speakers
  • Explore new job opportunities in foreign countries/companies
  • Travel around new countries with confidence
  • and learn around your busy schedule.

We’d like to introduce you to Rype.


Speak with confidence in record time with Rype

If you want to see real results in your language speaking abilities, research shows that the human brain retains…

5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.
10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
20% of what they learn from audio-visual (Duolingo and Rosetta Stone)
30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration
50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned (Rype)
90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately (Rype)babbel reviewIn short, according to scientific research, the learning method used for Rype is 4.5x more effective than Duolingo and Rosetta Stone.


100% personalized language program 

While Rosetta Stone offers a standard ‘one-size-fits-all’ curriculum that is identical for everyone, Rype offers a fully personalized language program based on your specific needs, goals, and level. The reason we can offer this is because each of our lessons are private. Think of it as having a personal trainer but for learning a new language.

The benefits of this approach is that you’ll be able to learn what you want, how you want, when you want. We understand that as individual humans, we all learn with different styles and that some students learn faster or slower than others. By personalizing each lesson to suit your specific needs, we’ve seen that students can learn significantly faster with higher engagement and enjoyment.



Concluding our Duolingo and Rosetta Stone review

We hope this breakdown between Duolingo and Rosetta Stone was useful. Like most solutions, both offer pros and cons, and you should be aware of them to see which one is right for you.

If you’re ready to accelerate your results to speak a new language confidently, Rype offers a risk-free trial for new members which you can claim today. Or learn how it works here.

If you still have questions, email us at anytime: help@rypeapp.com.

We can’t wait to have you inside our family.


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