Intro

Rosetta Stone FrenchDo you want to learn French, but aren’t quite sure which program is best? I have spent hundreds of hours using all of the major language learning systems, including Rosetta Stone, and built this site to show you the ins and outs of each system before you buy.

Based on that experience, I recommend Rosetta Stone for young language learners who will enjoy and benefit from its simple interface and immersive environment.

Let me walk you through the specifics of their tools and teaching style in the full Rosetta Stone French review below.


Features

Here are the key features of Rosetta Stone French:

  • 20 In-depth Language Lessons
  • MP3 Lessons
  • Community Learning Forum
  • Mobile apps for Android and iOS
  • Quizzes and Progress Tracking
  • Educational Support
  • Technical Support
  • Mac/PC Compatible Lessons
  • 24/7 Online Access


Video


Screenshots

RS French Navigation

RS Matching Interface

RS French Match Text

 


FAQ

Q: If I don’t like it, can I get a refund?
A: Yes, contact them within 180 days of purchasing of a CD-ROM package and they will refund your money.

Q: How long does each lesson take?
A: The lessons typically require between 30 and 60 minutes. There are four “stages” or types of lessons and each stage has a different length with the last stage having twice the length of the other stages/lessons. Extra review time won’t be necessary for the material that Rosetta Stone covers, but I recommend that you work with a secondary source for learning all the vocabulary you are likely to need.

Q: Will my internet speed affect the learning experience?
A: Of course the program will run a bit faster if you have the software installed on your hard drive, but the speed of the online version is quite adequate. I was able to use all the features without problems over a basic broadband connection in China, which is notoriously slow for foreign websites.

Still have questions? Ask them in the comments below.

 

Properties

French Lessons
Overall Rating

Using a weighted rating algorithm based on 31 different criteria, this is the rating for the program as a whole.

93.7/100 Rating
Rating: 93.7%
Ranked #1

Every product has it's strengths. Choose a product whose strengths match your priorities.

Fun picture
based learning
Price

This is the price for the recommended version of the product.

$299
Value for Price

A program may not be the absolute best, but if the price is relatively low it will offer much better value for the price.

86.0/100 Rating
Value for Price: 86.0%
Guarantee

The number of days of the guarantee period. During this time you can return the product for a full refund if desired.

180 days
Lesson Format

How is the material accessed: Mac/PC, online, and/or mobile.

Desktop Software,
Online & Mobile
Levels Available

Number of levels produced by the company. Typically these can be purchased individually or packaged together for a discount.

5
Delivery

How quickly the product will arrive.

2-10 Days or
Online Access
Lifetime Access

Is it a limited online subscription period?

24/7 Access

Is this program available at any time of day?

Educational Help

Is there a support forum where I can ask questions about grammar and vocabulary?

Technical Help

Do they have a dedicated team to solve any technical issues that might arise?

Visit Site

The site where you can purchase the recommended version of the product.

What's Included

What is in the box or what will be available online.

Interactive Software (online or DVD), Live Tutoring, Language Games, Mobile Apps, MP3s
Lesson Length

How long does each lesson last? How much extra time will I need to devote to studying the material between lessons?

30 - 120 minutes, no extra review required
Lessons/Level

How many lessons are there in total for each level of the program?

20 integrated lessons of varying lengths
Education

This rating is based on the criteria of: reading, writing, speaking, listening, vocabulary etc...

88.7/100 Rating
Educational Quality: 88.7%
Interface

This rating is based on the criteria of: aesthetics, layout/flow, and production quality.

93.3/100 Rating
Interface Quality: 93.3%
Live Tutoring

Will I have the opportunity to practice with a native speaker as part of the program?

Downloadable

These are supplemental materials that can be downloaded as desired.

Games

Are there fun supplemental opportunities to practice the material?

Vocab Builder

Is there a tool for reviewing vocab outside of the standard lessons?

Quizzes

You can use these to check if you really absorbed the content of each lesson.

Track Progress

This will tell you where you are in each lesson and how close you are to completion of the course.

Certification

When I finish the program, is there a certificate that I can show to others as proof of my proficiency?

Bonus Materials

What materials are available outside of the core lessons?

Live Tutoring, Language Games, Mobile Apps, MP3s
User Experience

This rating is based on the criteria of: aesthetics, layout/flow, and production quality.

92.3/100 Rating
User Experience: 92.3%
Best Deal

We do not sell guitar lessons; we are a free guitar lessons review service. This link goes to Rosetta Stone French

Full Review

Summary

Rating: 93.7/100. Rosetta Stone is a high-quality program, but it is important to recognize that adult brains are not as flexible as children’s and adults typically require more explanation in the area of grammar than Rosetta Stone offers. That being said, children are likely to be bored and deterred by grammar explanations and so this simple and beautiful interface may be the best vehicle for them to learn a second language.

Pros:

– Highly-polished interface
– Easy to stay motivated to learn
– Fun format is great for kids
– Intuitive teaching style
– Voice recognition and live training
– Equal coverage of reading, writing, listening, and speaking

Cons:
– At the advanced levels, photos are not always clear representations of the message
– Using pictures for all words/phrases limits the vocabulary
– Teaches grammar, but lacks clear explanations that adults may require for intermediate to advanced principles

User Experience

The Rosetta Stone interface is simple, intuitive, and motivating. Each exercise keeps you engaged in the learning process by clicking, typing, or speaking as you progress toward clear milestones.

Rosetta Stone Navigation

Rosetta Stone Completion Screen

At least for myself, I love the clear progress tracker at the bottom of each exercise and the top of the main page. Language learning can seem like an endless process (and it is), but keeping track of your progress through the 15-20 exercises of each lesson helps to make the process much more manageable.

From a design and technical standpoint, the program works flawlessly in all of its versions. If you should run into something though, technical support is available through chat, phone or email. They also offer support documentation in English. The rest of the program, however, is completely devoid of any English explanations. Whether this is positive or negative really depends on the student and their age.

As an adult learner, I find the Rosetta Stone “immersion” teaching method a bit limited. The vocabulary list grows quite slowly and if you are an adult, you may also find yourself needing explanations of grammar and usage points so that you can compare French to the English patterns you already know. The point about vocabulary is less of a problem with French than it is with other languages because so much of English was taken from French, but you will still need to look elsewhere to confirm which of the words are similar and which are completely different.

I admit that the “immersion” method has a certain elegance to it. They did an excellent job of designing the exercises so that you know exactly what you are supposed to do without any instructions. Each lesson uses a teaching pattern of observe, repeat, match, and match in a different context, which makes learning French much more approachable. This is great for children who just want to go through the quick exercises and are less likely to sit down with long blocks of text or audio recordings. So for students under the age of 12 or so, Rosetta Stone French is likely the most effective program on the market.

Educational Value

Rosetta Stone’s immersion method means that the lessons only use the target language. This means that there are no explanations in English and just like a young child, you learn the language through context, repetition, and deductive reasoning. Throughout the entire program, it teaches you by giving a couple examples of the correct text/audio/image combination and then asking you to complete the remaining examples on the screen. In the screenshot below, it gives you two examples of de la salade and when the third box turns dark gray you click on the image above it that shows a salad. Same thing with the fish. However, when you get to the soup, the soup image is the only one left so it’s not much of a challenge.

Rosetta Stone Match Photo to Word

It reminds me of those tests in elementary school that become progressively easier as you use up the words from the word bank. Though after several of these exercises, you will have seen the soup, fish, and salad in different orders and positions on the screen so it ends up balancing out.

With version 4 TOTALe, Rosetta has added a live tutor. Throughout your course, you can schedule 50-minute, video chat sessions with a Rosetta Stone instructor. Your session will likely include a few other learners from around the world, though all of the speaking will be done in French.

Rosetta Stone French Studio

The scheduling interface is easy to use and the instructors are consistently encouraging. However, they are only going to cover the material that was presented in the course, so don’t expect to have your questions about French addressed in depth. The live session is really just meant as a way for you to practice your speaking with other human beings in a controlled environment.

So while it is valuable to know that you can speak when spoken to and use what you’ve learned in real time, it won’t significantly enhance your knowledge of French. As with the core program, it is a motivating and structured environment that will allow you to reinforce what you’ve learned in a new context.

On one hand, it feels quite easy to learn with this system, just as learning your first language didn’t seem like a chore at the time. On the other hand, this approach doesn’t challenge you to construct phrases independently of prompting. So if you need to combine the vocabulary in new ways, you will likely feel underprepared, at least at the lower levels.

Is Rosetta Stone French for You?

The answer to this question really comes down to how much structure, explanation, and independence you prefer. And with Rosetta Stone you get a lot of one and not much of the others. The program is highly structured so that progressing through the exercises, lessons, units, and levels feels almost effortless, but this focused approach may leave you unable to improvise in the real world.

We can think of this trade-off as being like taking the subway versus driving or walking. The subway is fast and has no traffic, but you have limited freedom to explore. Accidents are highly unlikely, but you don’t gain the experience of reacting to other people. Maybe you need to drive somewhere that the subway doesn’t go or you just feel like exploring a bit. In either instance, you’ll need to leave the subway to meet your needs.

But enough of the metaphor, let me compare the four programs directly. On the continuum of structure and ease versus flexibility and independence I would order them as:

  • Rosetta Stone French (structured, smooth)
  • Fluenz French
  • Pimsleur French
  • Rocket French (flexible, independent)

They’re not perfect, but Rosetta Stone has put a ton of resources into developing a professional product that has a very clear teaching strategy.

For learners who are looking for the most structured and motivating environment, Rosetta Stone is it.

Conclusion to my Rosetta Stone French Review

I hope you enjoyed my review of the Rosetta Stone French program and that this has helped you figure out if it’s right for you.

If so, here’s where to get the best deal on French Level 1.

Still not sure? Have a question about Rosetta Stone French? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!



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