Learn a New Language with these Rosetta Stone Alternatives

Posted by Jamie on November 16, 2018

Americans are behind just about every other country in the world when it comes to awareness of other languages, cultures and ways of life. The internet has made it easier than ever to learn these things, especially language. Rosetta Stone is probably the best-known way to learn a new language but it is not the only way. Here are a few ways to new language with these Rosetta Stone alternatives.

Rosetta Stone is a fully-featured language learning experience. The quality is high and the variety of teaching methods is good. It does have one downside though and that is its cost. It has shifted from the one-off purchase price to the monthly subscription. It used to cost $179 for a single person to learn a language. Now it costs $26.34 per month paid in three month instalments. That’s quite a lot!

Rosetta Stone alternatives

Unless you have that kind of spare cash or really want to use Rosetta Stone, there are some much cheaper alternatives that are just as good. Here are a few.


Duolingo is ideal for beginners and I use it for Spanish. It uses gamification to keep things interesting but is fairly easy if you already have a grounding in a particular language. For those first steps into a new language though, it is excellent. Especially as your first foray is completely free.

Duolingo uses simple games to help teach you a language. It will speak a sentence or words and you repeat them. It will then ask you questions about those terms in order to help you remember them. The lessons are simple and repetitive but purposely so.

If you like what you learn, Duolingo Plus adds different features for $9.99 a month.


Babbel is another online language app that teaches you the basics of many languages. It has voice recognition to recognize whether you’re saying words correctly, a range of terms and types of terms to help you with conversational or vocational learning and will even help you write your language of choice.

Babbel is neat in that it works on any device. All your lessons are synced in the cloud so you can begin at home on your desktop and continue on your phone. Duolingo works on many devices but doesn’t have this sync option as far as I know.

It isn’t gamified like Duolingo but can take you further in your studies. It’s free to register and try but is then $9.99 a month after.


Busuu is a mobile app that mimics more natural language use in the country of origin. Both Duolingo and Babbel are realistic but sometimes offer phrases you wouldn’t normally hear. Busuu is much more conversional and offers terms you would hear every day in the country.

Busuu is free for basic membership but offers a premium subscription. Premium gets you grammar lessons, certification, extra vocabulary, an offline mode and the opportunity to talk to native speakers in a language exchange. Like the others, it’s $9.99 a month for premium.


HelloTalk is a little different. Rather than a self-contained language package, this is an app where you learn live. It puts you together with a native speaker who wants to learn your language. It works just like WhatsApp or other chat app but puts you in contact with foreign speakers. It’s strength is in its ease of use and practicality because you already know how it works.

First steps can be intimidating but are worth persevering. You can create voice messages, send texts and have live voice and video calls with real people. You teach them something, they teach you something. It’s the ideal egalitarian app.

HelloTalk is free to use but has ads and optional purchases. As long as you’re organized and don’t mind talking to strangers, it’s a free and intuitive way to learn a new language.


Fluenz is expensive but is widely regarded as one of the best ways to learn a language. It’s an install rather than online app but it is the most in-depth learning you can get without being there. You purchase language levels and costs from $177 for one level up to $368 for all levels. There are only seven languages too, Mandarin, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and both Latin American and European Spanish.

The lessons are clear and easy to follow and you can jump around the structured curriculum at will. It is better to follow the process though as you gradually build your skills as you go. Fluenz has recording and playback but no voice recognition. Where Fluenz shines is more in learning written languages. Few other learning apps or packages concentrate so much on this.

I feature Fluenz because of the reviews and popularity, despite its price. If you’re serious about learning a language to business standard, this is definitely one to try.

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