Rosetta Stone Japanese: We Tried It, and Here is Our Verdict

Updated: 02. Nov, 2022

If you have had a glimpse of Japanese culture, you will agree that it’s one of the most fascinating cultures. The Japanese language is a key component of its culture, and you can discover so much heritage by learning it. Therefore, whenever you decide to learn Japanese, you begin to look forward to an exciting experience. If you can lay your hands on the right learning tool, you can easily join the over a hundred million people who speak the language.

Have you been searching for a language learning tool to provide such an experience? Then, you must have discovered the option of language learning apps. 

Language learning apps have since come to stay. Tens of millions of people have found these technological innovations a dependable ally. Rosetta Stone is among the most sought-after of such apps. But how well does it teach Japanese? We have gone ahead of you to provide an objective perspective to save you the effort. So let’s dig in.

General Rosetta Stone Overview

Rosetta Stone, named after an ancient and popular Egyptian relic, has built a reputation in the world of language learning. The actual stone was discovered in ancient Egypt by French ruler Napoleon and his army. The stone was the key to unearthing previously mysterious Egyptian hieroglyphics. Rosetta Stone’s popularity makes it a prominent option among your likely app choices. 

The brand is itself a shining light. Presently the company occupies the enviable position as the only language learning app publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange. 

Learning Method

Rosetta Stone uses a context immersion teaching approach in its language lessons. This means you will learn Japanese without receiving any explanations in English.  This approach is based on the recommendation of the language learning experts on their team. Throughout the app, you will hear words directly from the lips of native speakers. You will also get to answer questions by picking from several image options. 

The app introduces you to the languages using common and popular words and phrases. Rosetta Stone’s learning methods aim to provide lessons that are as similar to real-life experiences as possible. That’s why its users hardly find an obscure or random word or phrase on the app. 

Also, Rosetta Stone uses a bit of a DIY learning approach. In its lessons, the app also encourages readers to derive the meaning of several words independently. This approach aims to help you think in line with the character of the new language. The app also assumes a pretty progressive nature as it unveils new concepts at every step.

Nature and Length of Lessons

Rosetta Stone takes its users through a progression from a lower proficiency level to a higher one. Each level contains 12 content units or more as you climb the proficiency ladder. In Rosetta Stone, complete lessons demand at least 30 minutes of your time or up to 60 minutes for the longest ones. 

Price

The price for learning Japanese on Rosetta Stone is the same as for other languages. There will be several subscription options in front of you. These are:

  • 3-Month subscription plan, which goes for $35.97 per language
  • 6-Month subscription plan for $95.88 per language and the
  • The Lifetime subscription plan offers perpetual learning access for $179 for all the 25 languages presently available.

Many other reviewers believe that Rosetta Stone is overpriced, especially for the three and 6-month plans. This is somewhat true. Hence, we recommend you go for the lifetime plan. We believe this is the only plan that makes Rosetta Stone Japanese worth the money. 

The Technology

The Rosetta Stone app is available on Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS. It uses a speech recognition system (TruAccent) which it boasts of being the best of its kind. However, in reality, this claim comes short of being accurate—more on this later in this article.

The app is one of the raves of the moment, especially for language enthusiasts. Little wonder it has continuously maintained impressive star ratings across various app stores till this moment.

Rosetta Stone Japanese Overview

There are three language skill levels in Rosetta Stone Japanese. They include the Beginner, Intermediate, and Proficient. The app allows you to join in from your level instead of boring you with stuff you already know. 

Rosetta Stone Japanese contains four lessons. Lesson one starts with a core lesson, a run-through of what the entire course has for you. After exhausting the core lesson, next comes the pronunciation, vocabulary, Grammar, reading, and writing lessons. 

Now, let us see other relevant Rosetta Stone features for learning Japanese.

Rosetta Stone’s Speech Recognition

Japanese is a pretty sophisticated language requiring the best resources to learn. Unfortunately, Rosetta Stone’s TruAccent still has a long way to go in reaching the perfection or near-perfection that learning such a language demands.

Rosetta Stone’s speech recognition feature exhibits lapses in assessing spoken Japanese. You can intentionally test wrong pronunciations on the software and scale through the screening. On the other hand, you can input the correct pronunciations on the microphone and fail the test.

Rosetta Stone Games, Talk, and Stories

Rosetta Stone offers extended learning features such as Play (for games), talk, and stories. Let’s start with the games.

Rosetta Stone allows you to learn your target language with the help of games. These games enhance your concentration and listening skills. The games are interesting enough to improve your speech and provide great leisure time, but not enough to make you addicted. You can play these Rosetta Stone games with other users. However, certain requirements exist before you can unlock these games.

For example, you might need to complete two consecutive core lessons before gaining access to a game. This is good as it motivates lazy learners to consume more lessons. 

Rosetta Stone Talk helps you improve your conversational ability. It provides the fun experience of discussing with other learners in Japanese through several talking games. In addition, the Read feature encourages you to read in Japanese and listen to yourself to see how well you’ve performed. 

Last on the extended learning feature is Rosetta Stone Stories. Rosetta Stone Stories divides into several categories. You have the Read, Listen, and Speak categories. In the Read section, you can select what script you prefer to read. Scripts could be in the Hiragana and katakana, Kanji, Kanji with Furigana, while the Romaji texts are English-type Japanese writings.

Live Classes

To aid your learning, Rosetta Stone offers a live learning feature. Here, a native-speaking language tutor relays additional knowledge and tips in a setting similar to a classroom. Unfortunately, you can only take live lessons after completing core lessons 2 and 4.

Rosetta Stone’s Live coaching classes can be taken in the pre-recorded form (On-Demand Videos) or streamed live. At the same time, Rosetta Stone’s Live Coaching does not cover all languages, Japanese features in both the pre-recorded and streamed forms.

The pre-recorded videos focus on conversations in specific scenarios. For example, how to buy soup in the market. These videos are 25 minutes long.

The streamed lessons take 15-20 minutes of your time in classes with other learners. The maximum class attendance per lesson is five. This means that you get to interact and learn together with other app users. Live classes provide a less judgemental setting since everyone is there to learn from their mistakes.

Does Rosetta Stone Japanese Maintain the Intensity?

Language learning apps like Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, Babel, Pimsleur, Mondly, and Busuu attract suspicion from the language learning community. One reason for the general distrust is a lack of consistency across languages. 

Most language learning apps struggle to maintain the tempo from one language course to the other. Meanwhile, Rosetta Stone tries as much as possible to keep its users engaged with some of its features. 

Is Rosetta Stone Good for Learning Japanese?

You can derive a handful of benefits from learning Japanese on Rosetta Stone. This is to say that you will see noticeable and substantial improvement in your Japanese knowledge after you are done with the course. But if you want to know if the course justifies its price tag, the answer is a resounding “NO.”

You may end up dissatisfied with the overpriced service. Moreso, the availability of other free language learning resources can further fuel the disappointment with the Rosetta Stone Japanese. 

Pros of Rosetta Stone Japanese 

The Pros of learning Japanese with the Rosetta Stone are:

Clear and Accurate Pronunciation

Rosetta Stone’s pronunciations are pretty clear and accurate. This is a significant plus for a learning app. Just imagine an app whose pronunciation is unclear and leaves room for guessing what the speaker says. That’s a disaster, especially for a sophisticated language like Japanese, where a wrong pronunciation of one word could be the right one for another. 

Incorporates all the Japanese Writing Systems

From our experience with the app, we are glad to see that it offers various Japanese writing systems. From Kanji to Romanji, nothing was left out. You can choose any system that best suits or appeals to you.

Fun and Interesting Images 

No matter how intensive we want a language learning course to be, we want to have a good time with it. Rosetta Stone’s images are fun, colorful, and interesting, an added incentive to encourage you to finish the course. 

Live Teaching Sessions

Rosetta Stone provides about 20-minute live teaching sessions to augment the classes. These live classes are optional and provide an amazing experience. The presence of other learners creates a reassuring atmosphere that will provide great benefits. You will benefit from interacting with expert tutors who are native speakers. These live sessions provide a judgment-free setting where mistakes are welcome, even encouraged. 

Easy to Use

One of the benefits of learning Japanese in Rosetta Stone is the ease and simplicity of its interface. You get a superior Japanese learning experience when you can easily find your way around and access its features. 

Flexibility

Rosetta Stone allows you to learn Japanese at your own pace and convenience. You can download its audio files and listen to them at your preferred time. You could be on the go, on a bus, or in a car and enjoy the learning experience. If your environment demands quiet, the app allows you to disable the speaking function. 

Cons of Rosetta Stone Japanese

The cons of learning Rosetta Stone Japanese are:

The Course is Overpriced 

Rosetta Stone’s Japanese course doesn’t give you value for your money. With other cheaper alternatives, it’s easy to see that Rosetta Stone is a tad overpriced. However, several other learning apps do fairly and are either cheaper or free. 

The Learning Method Doesn’t Work for Everyone

Rosetta Stone’s immersive teaching method is an innovative approach. However, the absence of explanations won’t suit every learner. For many learners, especially the newbies, explanations mean a lot and will go a long way in enhancing learning. 

The Speech Recognition is Sub-Par

Speech recognition software is a pretty sophisticated piece of technology. But, unfortunately, it’s difficult or almost impossible to get them to a hundred percent. With this in mind, we discovered that Rosetta Stone’s speech recognition software leaves much to be desired. 

Courses Can Get Repetitive and Boring

Rosetta Stone pretty much repeats its style and process in every lesson. So we won’t be shocked if you get bored along the way. We did too. A little bit of additional variety of styles could have solved this challenge. 

Low Participation in the Live Classes and Online Games

We discovered a less than encouraging participation in some Rosetta Stone classes. Specifically, you can sign up for live classes and online gaming and meet a low turnout. Sometimes, you could end up all alone in some live class sessions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions about the Rosetta Stone app and its efficiency for learning the Japanese language.

How Long Does it Take to Complete Rosetta Stone Japanese?

It depends on your speed. You will need a minimum of two hundred hours or more to complete the five levels of the course. The live sessions aren’t inclusive.

Can I Become Fluent With Rosetta Stone? 

No. We understand that most Japanese language learners look to language learning solutions like Rosetta Stone for fluency. Unfortunately, achieving Japanese language fluency with Rosetta Stone is almost impossible. At best, the app will give you a solid grasp of the foundations of the language. You can find your way during conversations with Japanese speakers.

Is Rosetta Stone Good for the Japanese Language?

It depends on your target proficiency and if its learning method is a good fit for you. While the app won’t get you to a fluent level, it can give you a solid language foundation.

Does Rosetta Stone Teach the Japanese Alphabet?

Yes. The app symbolically teaches the Japanese alphabet. The “kana” is the language’s syllabic element, which can assume two forms. The first is Hiragana which is most suited for native speakers. The other is the Katakana which is the favorite of new language speakers. 

Is Learning Japanese Worth it?

Yes, it is. Japanese is a popular language spoken by hundreds of millions of people. In addition, Japan is a major economic, tourism, and commercial hub for many business people and fun-seekers worldwide. Therefore, you are likely to need the language at one point or the other.

Conclusion

For many people, Rosetta Stone is the go-to platform for learning Japanese. Its immersive teaching style and voice recognition feature are some of its major components. The app is great for starting your Japanese language learning journey as it will teach you many things about the language. Hence, it is a fantastic learning tool. However, it is best to supplement with other language learning aids for the best results.

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