Duolingo vs Rosetta Stone: Which Platform is better, Duolingo or Rosetta Stone?

Learning a language can be quite daunting at times. The new vocabulary, pronunciation differences, reading texts and providing interpretation to understandable language all require help.

The best way to learn a new language is to converse with speakers of the language. However, you can get familiar with the rudiments of the language using teaching software such as Rosetta Stone or Duolingo.

Which of these platforms is most suitable for learning a new language? You can reach a conclusion reading through this comparison.

Rosetta Stone Review

Rosetta Stone Information

Established since 1992, Rosetta Stone has been teaching language to people around the world for quite long. Over the years, the program has been developed to better present words from a new language in a relatable visual aid.

From the simple old-fashioned downloadable software sale, Rosetta Stone started as. They have since gone ahead to render their services in more modern ways. Now, students can learn directly using online subscriptions.


  • Rosetta stone covers several language options with over 30 options available
  • The features of the app are easy to understand and use
  • Visual teaching method makes word much relatable
  • Repetition of words allow for learning at a comfortable pace
  • Voice recognition exercises enable students to get familiar with native speaking


  • It comes at a relatively expensive cost
  • Difficulty in relating words to visual representation
  • Limited access to content

Getting access to any Rosetta Stone language learning software requires that you sign up. This allows you to choose your preferred language to learn. And then, you pay for the subscription. With this, you get the package relevant to your desired language only. 

What this means is that, to learn multiple languages, you would need to pay for each learning kit. You then have to make a choice of which product you want to use in learning. There is the CD-Rom version that gives you downloadable software to exploit. And there is the online subscription, which provides you with access for only the covered period.

All the features available for learning languages are embedded in both platforms. The only difference is the price. Due to the permanence of the downloadable version, it cost more than the temporary access online learning platform. 

The Rosetta Stone language teaching software covers the basics of any language choice. You get to learn common words, sentence usages, how to pronounce words, and more of the necessary communication skills. Although some advanced grammar and vocabulary are treated, it is barely enough to make you master the language.

Duolingo Review


Duolingo is a relatively new language learning software. Established in 2011, this app has become very popular among language enthusiasts. Majorly because it is free to use. And also, the teaching method is entirely interactive.


  • The app is entirely free to use
  • It comes with about 25 language options
  • An interactive learning environment with gamified tests
  • Interesting new community features
  • Easy to navigate and grasp for beginners


  • Test features are more or less like games which may lead to inconsistency in learners
  • More text and speech recognition needs to be incorporated

To start on Duolingo, you are required to sign up and select your language choices. Here, you can take a test of your proficiency in the language. As a beginner, you can skip right over this. 

Duolingo works by offering lessons for your target language in your native language. Although, this limits the delivery to some languages as translation might not be available. However, you can learn in standard languages like English or French.

The learning starts from new words to phrases, to sentences, and then application in conversations. Through these stages, students are well engaged using levels and badges to keep track of progress. The more advanced your progress, the better you get at this new language.

Most likely, you won’t leave Duolingo as a professional of your chosen language. It would have provided you with the necessary communication skills which can build upon.

Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo: The Telling Differences

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When it comes to acquiring knowledge of any kind, whether in person or online, the primary issue for students is the price tag slammed. We find ourselves asking the question; Is this worth my money? 

And more often than not, people don’t care about the value the product offers. The default is to opt for the cheaper option. But, need I not tell you that more affordable price often means lesser quality even if this isn’t the case all of the time.

Duolingo Cost

Straight to our comparison for the day – Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo. First off, you should know that both software is exact opposites when it comes to prices. One is free while the other can be considered too expensive for a software teaching language virtually.

Rosetta Stone tables some packages through which you can learn your chosen language. And all of these come at a price, and there is no option for a free peep at the course content. The best you can get is a 30-day money-back guarantee.

There are two categories to choose from on Rosetta Stone. As the service provided differs, so also does the price for each type of products. They have the downloadable CD-Rom version, which costs more and gives you lifetime access to the lesson material.

Then, there is the online version which works with a monthly subscription. This comes at a lower cost to the CD-Rom version, but access to the instructional guide lapses with the subscription. One good thing is that long-duration subscriptions like 12 or 24 months at a go, come at a discounted rate.

On the other hand, we have Duolingo, which is a free-to-use language software. The whole of its instructional materials is available for free on the app. All you need to get access to this is a simple registration.

One of the ways Duolingo pays for its free service is by selling student answers to large companies needing the translation data. And also, to download the course materials for personal use requires you pay a small token. 

In general, Duolingo seems like the only option considering that Duolingo is free service they offer. Why then should anyone ever choose Rosetta Stone? For one, other features might matter more to them. In essence, your decision shouldn’t be based solely on price.

Rosetta Stone vs Duolingo: Duolingo is free.


The approach of each software to teaching language is quite different. This means that the teaching method also differs significantly. This can affect the ease of learning the topics, as well as the duration for comprehension.

Rosetta Stone uses a picture-word teaching technique. This is such that words that you need to learn in your target language are presented with a visual aid. Using several images to point towards one point gives the student a sense of intuition to decipher words.

Rosetta Stone Method

Using this cognitive stimulation method for teaching language tends to be more effective in retention. This is again bolstered by the repetition of words in different scenarios to drive home the point. You are then tasked with choosing the relevant name from an array of other related wrong answers.

The words you learn individually from different images are then strung together to create a mental picture of how to form sentences. Although this process seems tedious for language learning, it is quite effective in helping learners decipher words on their own. This is especially useful when interacting with other speakers of the language.

The process of learning on Rosetta Stone is one that requires consistency and time. You have to stay with the process. Most especially at the early stages where the repetition is at its most, you need to stay with the basics to get a solid foundation for the advanced topics.

In Duolingo, you learn new languages by the regular translation method. This uses your native language and compares with your chosen language to bring the points home. This method seems easy to understand and is sufficient for establishing cheap communication.

This method of teaching, however, stays at the peripheral level mostly. It is often tricky for learners to apply the words learned individually to proper use in complex life happenings. And if that would happen at all, it would be in the long run, when a lot of words have been learnt alongside several application examples.

One challenge to this teaching method is that there are limited language options for less common language speakers to learn. English speakers get a lot of language options to know, however, a Korean student would not get as many options.

The topics of teaching are well developed for the student to have a full grasp of the points. Points for discussion are churned into numerous short sections. These are subsequently combined to give a more comprehensive understanding of the language word usage.

Looking at the methods being used by each of the platforms, it is hard to say which is better. They both work and how preferable any would depend on the student. But, going by exhaustiveness, I’ll go with the cognitive method used by Rosetta Stone.

Duolingo vs Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone has the upper hand.


Both Duolingo and Rosetta Stone have the primary language options that the majority of people are looking to learn. Speakers of common languages like English and French get more language course options to explore.

So, what would make any of the duos better than the other is giving other native speakers with languages like Icelandic or Chinese get sophisticated language options also, and not just the regular English and French?

Duolingo offers courses in about 25 languages. But, the number of classes you can take depends on your native language. English speakers get to learn any language of their choice. But the same does not apply to less common languages.

Rosetta Stone can circumvent this problem with ease due to their teaching model. So far, the words can be depicted in a picture, and then you can decipher how to string sentences together.

And still, yet, the language options available on Rosetta Stone is over 30. This makes the platform entirely encompassing in teaching language to people from different walks of life.

Speaking of versatility, the debate goes undoubtedly in Rosetta Stone’s favor. As much as Duolingo teaches a lot of languages to many users for free, it does not boast the expansive list of languages teachable on Rosetta Stone.

Duolingo vs Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone is more versatile.

Context Application

Context is king in language interpretation! This should be your mindset in learning using the software. You should be after how to properly use words in real-life situations and not just learning the vocabulary of another language.

A notable way to learn context is by applying words in sentences. This goes as far as the terms are used in example sentences. That is, the more samples are presented for each word, the better you familiarize with different possible contexts of the word usage.

The Rosetta Stone language product uses several visual representations to drive home the point in learning words. And to an appreciable extent, the same is done when presenting words in sentences. A plausible scenario is painted, and statements are made to describe the situation.

Duolingo also applies context in dishing examples for translated words and sentences. However, some of these sentences are more or fewer phrases. Usually, they can be used in different situations. Not being able to specify which situation the given interpretation is for, can be a bit of a challenge.

In general, it is hard to teach context using software only without first-hand communication experience. However, using an exhaustive example model to explain each topic can help better the chances of right context usage. Duolingo seems to do better in this regard.

Duolingo vs Rosetta Stone: Duolingo does a better job.

Teaching Aids

When comparing two software that does the same thing, what differentiates the most are the features they each offer. In this section, we’ll be checking out the outstanding features of each software.

Duolingo is presented in a gamified pattern. This pattern makes learning fun, and the gratification keeps you going. There is a point system based on your performance on the learning process; this is used to gain access to additional topics.

Rosetta Stone Aid

Rosetta Stone is most notable for its massive language content. The sheer number of languages available, alongside the vocabulary compilation, and the several examples tabled makes the software very vast.

The app then comes with a model for voice recognition and speaking tests. You get to practice with audio from native speakers. This aids reading and diction for the language being learned. It also makes the process more natural and relatable suitable for the context.

Knowledge on Duolingo is tested with the gratification system designed in language games. This system doesn’t test for efficiency, unlike the model used in Rosetta Stone.

The Rosetta Stone grading system is more strict, which instils a sense of seriousness in students. This includes tests, speech recognition, and wave analyzers to allow students to master the language more naturally.

Apart from the regular features on Duolingo, there are some add ups that you can exploit to your advantage. One of such qualities is Duolingo events. This allows students to set up group meets to converse with native speakers of their chosen language to familiarize better.

Another of such features is the Duolingo Stories. This is a speech recognition exercise that allows students to listen to conversations from native speakers. Although this feature is still in testing, it is handy in helping put words to context. The test that comes along to determine your listening skills is also of great help.

So, Duolingo and Rosetta Stone are continually improving their features to teach language at an advanced level better. But for now, the extra features available on Rosetta Stone are more relatable given that they have been well developed.

Duolingo vs Rosetta Stone: Rosetta Stone has better features.


The process of learning a new language does only involve learning relevant vocabulary and repeating words. But instead, it also has to do with being able to apply knowledge from one topic in another.

And an excellent way to help students apply knowledge is by testing them. A test is a form of practice for any language being learned. We can liken it to speaking the simple vocabulary known with other language speakers.

Also then, test and language practice comes in several different ways. It can be word matching, text interpretation, spelling and grammar checks, voice recognition, and so on. These exercises are what makes the learning process sit at home with students.

Duolingo has optimized their practice sessions into attractive game models. You are presented with words, phrases, or sentences you’ve learned in the past and required to provide accurate translations.

The better you perform on these exercises, the faster your progress level on the language app as Duolingo runs a reward-based model to keep learners coming back.

For Rosetta Stone, repetition of words learned using pictures, and visual representations often become tedious. Therefore, they also have an interactive practice session that challenges your thinking. By blending the point of discussion into a broader application. Students are often required to match words with voice notes, images, or texts,

Overall, we can say Duolingo is a better practice field for beginner students. The simplified methods of testing knowledge gained doesn’t drive beyond the more straightforward levels. On the other hand, Rosetta Stone tests do not stop at the primary level; they progress in difficulty as you move further along the training.

Our Side-by-Side Comparison


Rosetta Stone
Duolingo Logo




Context Application

Teaching Aids



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