Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.
Thursday, December 8th
Have you always wanted to learn conversational Spanish? Would you like to make sure your pronunciation is understandable to those talking to you? And are you tired of the traditional textbook method of language learning? Due to its longevity and reputation for excellence, Rosetta Stone's Spanish courses are usually the ones that people compare other language courses to. "Is it as good as Rosetta Stone?"
How it began
Rosetta Stone's founder, Allen Stoltzfus, struggled to learn Russian through traditional methods. He sought a different approach to language learning in the mid-1980s: the natural method, which is how people learn their native language with sounds and images in context, not direct translation. In 1992, Allen and his brother created lessons via CD-ROMs, and named it Rosetta Stone, after the artifact that broke the code for understanding the Egyptians' hieroglyphics. Allen liked this name as both "Rosetta Stones" unlock the code for learning language.
Wide range of lessons
Rosetta Stone has lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and those who want to hone their skills. Once you select the level of Spanish you may already speak, you choose a category of lessons. Are you interested in Spanish for work, travel, communication with family, or just lessons without a category? Rosetta Stone is available for individuals, schools, and businesses.
Rosetta Stone's method is paramount
Rosetta Stone is the method to which people compare other learning methods, especially competitors' online lessons. Spanish lessons here take the natural approach, which is a huge draw for the person who was frustrated with translation in their other virtual language learning lessons or in-person classes. Fans say they learn to speak quickly and with a good accent as the technology offers native speaker voice recordings and immediate feedback on students' speech exercises.
Listen and speak right away
In the beginning lessons of Rosetta Stone, you'll get to hear a Spanish word that's associated with a picture representing that word. If the picture-sound combination's meaning is confusing to you, you can click on an arrow that shows you the English translation for your word. You also have the opportunity to hear a native speaker say words for you, and you get to repeat them back. You learn to speak Spanish with meaning right off the bat.
Not ideal if you want everything translated
In the beginning lessons, there's a small icon to select for translation of the vocabulary word. Once the lessons are a bit more advanced, there's no option for translation. If the phrase is long and confusing, and you only have a photo to match the phrase, translation might help. Yet, no sentence translation is available at this stage. This is the biggest complaint we've seen on this product: no translation, even if you're desperate. Rosetta Stone's answer to that is to look at context cues in the matching photo, use the words you do understand to help out, and don't feel you have to understand every word to understand the sentence. This is how we learned our first language as children, and it's also how they recommend learning as adults. Still, it can be frustrating to have no option for translation when all else seems to fail.
Stories with culture
Once you have some vocabulary words and phrases learned, enjoy putting your language to use and catch some culture, too, by choosing a short story. You can read the paragraph with culture in its setting, listen to a heritage speaker read it, or read the story out loud. When you read the story aloud into the microphone, their speech-recognition software will tell you what it heard you say correctly, what it didn't hear you say, and if it heard you say words or phrases differently than how they said it.
Lots of topics to learn
There are twenty units per language, with real-life topics like shopping, travel, friends and social life, professions and hobbies, style and personal wellness, business and industry, emergency situations, and arts and academics.
But wait, there's more!
If you want to watch videos, or if you'd like an actual coach or live lessons, those options are available for an additional cost. Sometimes, there's nothing like an actual person helping or teaching you.
The natural method works
All in all, Rosetta Stone seems to have thought of everything. We're all pretty successful in our first language, right? How we learned our first language, the natural method, is the method Rosetta Stone uses to teach languages. They also offer readings, speech-recognition feedback, optional videos, and optional tutors and live lessons. Their main drawback seems to be lack of translation. Because we're not infants, we already know at least one language. Being adults, and having more mature processing skills than infants, sometimes translation can be helpful for us. All things considered, Rosetta Stone has a high track record for success and is held in high regard; it remains one of our preferred sources for learning Spanish.
The 3-day free trial is beneficial
By simply giving them an email address, you can have access to Rosetta Stone for three days. You choose your current level of Spanish as well as your purpose for taking lessons: travel, family, work, or "basics and beyond." Rosetta Stone then sets you up with a plan. If you instead decide to jump in and purchase a membership, you should know that the "natural method," which Rosetta Stone uses to teach its students, is a tried and true method. By already knowing a language, some students decide they are more comfortable with a program that uses some translation, so you should definitely dabble in Rosetta Stone during the 30-day money-back guarantee time period.
Have you always wanted to learn Spanish? Or have you learned some, but really want to improve your skills in order to be able to read Spanish newspapers or talk with native speakers? Do you have business associates or neighbors who speak Spanish, or have you wanted to talk in Spanish with the locals on your next trip? There are 460,000 people who are native Spanish speakers right here in the US, and 20 countries that have Spanish as their official language. No matter why you want to learn it, the question is which Spanish lessons are right for you.
With so much of our life going digital, from many of us doing our job remotely, to video chatting with our family or internet shopping, it's natural to want to explore online options for learning Spanish. There are many programs available online and through apps, and we can help you sift through them.
The first thing to consider is how much Spanish you already know. If you're just getting started, there are many programs whose focus is on the beginner, with lessons chock full of grammar, vocabulary, and practice. At the same time, the concentration is so heavy on brand-new students that many programs offer little to nothing for the intermediate or advanced learner.
Another important factor is your learning style and preference. Some learners like to go in the order that the experts have the lessons set up so that they can meet their language acquisition goals. Other students know that they want to pick and choose their lesson order based on their needs. For example, if the learner is going to travel in the near future, they want their first lessons focused on related vocabulary, like asking for directions and checking in at a hotel. Others are in the medical or business field, so they want to follow the language learning path best suited to their careers.
A major consideration is if repetition is okay with you, or if you will lose focus if the lessons aren't entertaining. Some learners are motivated to continue the day's lesson or look forward to the next lesson because of the fun and exciting apps that include gaming-like activities, points, badges, competitive leaderboards, and animation. Let's face it, if you're not motivated to learn, will you really stick with the program? Other students want to push forward with the traditional, square-shooting approach that feels comfortable as tried and true. Start with vocabulary and practice, add on grammar, preferably with detailed explanations in English, more practice, along with repetition and recycling of older material to solidify the knowledge base.
Once you know what level of Spanish learner you are, from beginner to advanced, your purpose of learning it, from travel to profession or just because, and if you like to be entertained or want "just the facts, Ma'am" , there are a few more aspects of Spanish lessons you may want to consider:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated, rated, and ranked the best choices for online Spanish lessons. We're sure that with this information, you'll have what you need to make the right choice for your goals in learning, acquiring, and becoming fluent in Spanish. ¡Ya vamos!
Select any 2 Spanish Lessons to compare them head to head
WATE 6 On Your Side ...
Alcoa teacher dubbed international voice of the Vols for his Spanish ...
Carlos Lopez, or ‘Juan Ward’ as he is known online in a nod to legendary Tennessee radio voice John Ward, has become the international voice of the Vols thanks to his viral Spanish sports commentary ...
Tue, 06 Dec 2022
Lee Friedman on MSN
13 Spanish Speaking Countries In The Caribbean To Visit With Kids
Exposing your kids (and yourself!) to different cultures and languages is a great priority to have when traveling as a family. If you head to a Spanish speaking Caribbean island, you can get that ...
Mon, 05 Dec 2022
Cleveland.com on MSN
From Spanish to Farsi -- Almira Elementary’s English as a Second ...
CLEVELAND, Ohio – When Ms. Kristina Stratton considers the many students she has helped over the years in her role as a member of Almira Elementary School’s English as a Second Language team, one ...
Mon, 05 Dec 2022