"Good quality video and speech recognition. Pricey."
Rosetta Stone Korean Review
Rosetta Stone is known for its immersive approach to language learning. Its an approach that has proven to work well with languages that are similar to English such as French and German. But how well does this approach work when the grammar and alphabet is completely different to English, as in this case with Korean?
Here I will try to answer this question. Below you will find my review of the program including what is covered during the course, its strengths and weaknesses, and finally how it measures up against other Korean courses and programs.
How does it work?
As noted in the introduction Rosetta Stone uses what is called an immersive teaching method. This means that there are no direct translations of words and phrases and there is no rote learning or memorization. Instead immersive learning aims to mimic the experience that a child would have as they are learning their native language. You learn by doing and practicing the material that you encounter.
What is included?
When you purchase Rosetta Stone Korean you will receive the following items:
- Rosetta Stone Korean software - The main software program is based on the immersive teaching approach. It consists of a number of different language learning scenarios which involve you practicing speaking Korean or selecting the correct words or phrases. It also has a number of different games that you can play.
- Headset and microphone - One of the most important features is speech recognition. This allows you to speak Korean and have it recognized by the software. The headset and microphone that come with Rosetta Stone Korean are useful if you do not already have a set.
- Access to online lessons - Rosetta Stone provides online lessons with a real life language learning coach. Here you can practice your conversation and receive advice about your Korean.
- Online social community - The online social community allows you to interact with other Rosetta Stone language learners. This allows you to practice the Korean that you have learned and to participate in games.
- Mobile learning application -It comes with a mobile learning application that can be used on your iPhone or iPad touch.
- MP3 audio companion - You can learn on the go with these MP3 audio files. This allows you to reinforce material that you learned from the main course as you are doing your morning commute, going for a walk or working out at the gym.
How much does it cost?
Rosetta Stone Korean is available as single levels or as a package. If you purchase level one it will cost you $125.30 though Amazon. If you decide to opt for the larger package of levels one through to three, then you $265.30 and that includes the audio companion.
As you would expect from a relatively expensive product like this, there are many positives for this package. Some of the best of these include:
- High production values - This might be a pricey language learning course but you can see the amount of money that has gone into it. The production values on this course are very high with good quality video and fantastic speech recognition software.
- Excellent online resources - Access to the online social network where you can interact with other students can be very useful and is a good place to practice what you have learned in the lessons. The online coaching with a real teacher is also a very nice feature.
- Easy to get started with - Learning Korean can seem overwhelming for English speakers. There seems to be so much to learn that you might feel like there isn't any point in even getting started. Rosetta Stone allows you to overcome that limiting belief by getting you talking and practicing your Korean right away.
- It's pretty fun to use - The Rosetta Stone approach to learning Korean can be a lot of fun. Because there is no rote learning or complex grammar rules you have to master you can simply enjoy talking in Korean. The system also has a game like quality as you try to guess the right words or phrases. This allows you to learn without it feeling like hard work.
- Immersion is difficult with Korean - English speakers will struggle with learning Korean using the immersion method. With romance or germanic languages it is often fairly easy to intuit what a particular word or phrase means. But with the alphabet being completely different in Korean make such leaps is nearly impossible.
- Too expensive - Frankly the Rosetta Stone course is probably going to be too expensive for most language learners. Given the number of free language learning resources that are available on the internet (or better priced courses) it is hard to justify a price tag of almost three hundred dollars (with only one year access to the online materials).
How does it compare to others?
Rosetta Stone may appear quite expensive at $265.30 for the full course this is actually pretty typically for courses of this size. The drawback however is the limitation to only 12 months of online access. If you are looking for a less expensive course with similar features and comprehensiveness, check out the user-ratings in my comparisons section. Given that other courses are approximately the same size it is harder to justify the fact that Rosetta Stone costs almost three times as much, and is limited to 12 months.
- Good quality videos during the course.
- The speech recognition feature is awesome.
- Focuses on interactivity rather than breaking down grammar endlessly.
- The immersion method can't cover the complex rules of Korean enough.
- Lack of advanced writing learning materials.
- Quite pricey ($265.30 USD for 12 months access).
Overall Rosetta Stone Korean is a good program but not a great one. The learning approach on the surface holds a lot of appeal. After all who wouldn't want to learn a language as complex as Korean like they did as a child? But in practice it isn't quite that simple. It is often difficult to guess what particular pictures and scenes mean and the voice recognition while serviceable, isn't perfect. As mentioned other courses offer approximately the same level of content and many do a better job of introducing beginners to the language, some even at a lower price. If you like the Rosetta Stone approach then this might be the course for you, otherwise check out my comparison or the user-ratings.