Rosetta stone is often the first course that comes to mind when you think about learning a foreign language. Their courses are loved by some and hated by others.
We take an in depth look at the Rosetta Stone method in our Ultimate Rosetta Stone Review. There we get down into the nitty gritty of what makes Rosetta Stone tick, and what its common strengths and weaknesses are.
We limited the subject of this article specifically to the features of Rosetta Stone German, as not to rehash the same information we covered in the full review.
Here we'll look at some of the unique features of the German language and how they relate to the Rosetta Stone method.
Review of: Rosetta Stone German
Use: Language learning software for the German language
Works well with simple grammar but not with more complex grammar
Rosetta Stone has recently lowered their prices, but their courses are still a little on the expensive side
1 Lesson typically takes 30 minutes
Ease of Use
Extremely user friendly
Highly structured and walks you through a language step by step
- Easy to use
- Good for absolute beginners
- Good for basic use of a language
I Don't Like
- Doesn't prepare you for speaking
- Doesn't work well for complicated grammar
Rosetta Stone German can work for beginners who are looking for a tool to supplement their German learning. The course teaches basic grammar and vocabulary well enough.
However Rosetta Stone doesn't hold the weight of more complex German grammar. Their strict no translation method doesn't help when you're trying to learn German cases, articles, and other potentially confusing grammatical features.
Is Rosetta Stone German Right for you?
Yes for beginners
Rosetta Stone German is designed for beginners who have little to no experience in learning a foreign language. If you are looking for a course or method that will gradually teach you the basic structure and vocabulary of German then Rosetta Stone is worth considering.
No for intermediate or advanced learners
Once you get into an intermediate level of German Rosetta Stone drops the ball. Their courses can teach basic concepts and grammar just fine, but the complexity of German grammar doesn’t work well with Rosetta Stone’s method.
3 Unique features of German (And how they relate to RS)
1) German is a little further from English
German holds an interesting place in the collection of foreign languages. For a native English speaker German is easier to learn than slavic, middle eastern, or Asian languages. But German is more difficult than the Romantic languages (French, Spanish, Italian, etc).
Rosetta Stone works better the closer a foreign language is to English. This is mainly because Rosetta Stone was mostly likely design for Spanish or another Romantic language, and the method was copied for all other languages.
This means that Rosetta Stone German is fairly effective, but German will be more difficult to learn than some other languages.
The real challenge for Rosetta Stone German is grammar....
2) German has complex grammar
Compared to English and the Romance languages, German grammar is more complex. While we won’t get into the finer details here, just know that are four cases in German. For each case nouns (people, places, things,) will be used in a different form.
Pia and Lisa explain the German cases
Each case contains adjectives that change based on gender (German has 3 genders by the way). If this wasn’t enough German also has its fair share of exceptions and special cases that break the rules you learn.
There are also 3 articles (one for each gender) in German. This wouldn’t be too bad, except a lot of the time the gender of specific German words don’t always makes sense, making the correct article hard to remember.
Here's a little more info on German articles
In our Ultimate Rosetta Stone Review we talk about how Rosetta Stone works pretty well when you’re learning basic grammar and vocabulary. However Rosetta Stone becomes less effective when you get into more complex grammar concepts.
This is because Rosetta Stone uses zero English and sticks to using pictures to teach you the meaning of a word.
With German’s complex grammar system you can imagine how difficult if might be to nail down all of the rules and exceptions using absolutely no translations.
It’s a noble effort on Rosetta Stone’s part, but in practice using only pictures simply isn’t as effective when it comes to more advanced material.
3) The German Alphabet
The German alphabet consists of 26 letters much like English. There also a series of combined letters and 3 umlauted forms (umlauts are dots placed over vowels).
There are a fair amount of letters in the German alphabet that will look and sound either familiar or similar when compared with English. And of course there are some sounds and symbols that will seem completely new.
The similarity of the German alphabet makes the language more suitable for the Rosetta Stone method. You don’t have the problem of learning a new script like Russian or Arabic, which makes German a bit easier to learn whether or not you use Rosetta Stone.
What other people are saying about Rosetta Stone German
"So, how well does Rosetta Stone work? I found it to be very effective at teaching me vocabulary so that I would retain it (there is lots of forced repetition).
I remember the words and phrases I learned from Rosetta Stone much better than the ones I encountered elsewhere…What it's not good at is teaching you any sort of grammar.
It does have perfunctory grammar activities, but they are not sufficient.
Perhaps for some languages they are okay, but German grammar in particular is too complicated for the limited space Rosetta Stone gives it.
Trying to teach it solely by example would require many more examples than Rosetta Stone offers you."
"RS states in their promotions that "instead of learning rules, you'll discover patterns". And YOU may.
Mostly, I failed. In Spanish I was helped by classes taken years earlier, in which I DID learn the rules. In German, I had not even that help.
It has been said by many "If you don't know the rules, you don't know the language", and that is so true.
Yet this is a great product: its voice recognition is terrific to learn pronunciation. And you can learn quickly. But without further effort on your part, this product will not make you a proficient speaker of a language."
Alternatives to Rosetta Stone German
20+ minutes a day
Rocket German is built around recorded audio in the form of dialogues. The dialogues have English explanations and usually teach the language in "chunks" or phrases versus individual words (this is great for conversational German).
Rocket German also has a hefty literacy component. The course features more in depth help with writing and reading German.
$14.95 per month
30 minutes a day
Pimsleur is probably the second most popular language course behind Rosetta Stone. Pimsleur is entirely audio based and is specifically designed to develop your conversational skills.
They use a unique and effective question/recall/respond technique to get you on your feet in German. With Pimsleur you'll learn a functional vocabulary, have a good sense of German pronunciation, and be able to read German as well.
From $4+ per month
15+ minutes a day
Germanpod101 features audio lessons in a podcast format. Each lesson is centered around a recorded dialogue between two native German speakers. The lessons are great for grammar and vocabulary, and the teachers (aka podcast hosts) do a great job of keeping things engaging.
While it's not as structured as Rosetta Stone it's still a very useful German learning tool (it's also much cheaper too). The site features transcripts of each episode. There is also an in-site flashcard system.
Rosetta Stone German can work well for people who are completely new to the German language. Basic vocabulary and grammar aren’t a problem at first.
Once your level of German improves and you encounter the complexities of the language you will probably find Rosetta Stone to be less effective. This is because The Rosetta Stone method probably wasn’t designed specifically for the German language.
German is a difficult language to learn whether or not you use Rosetta Stone, but in the end there are probably some better options out there for learning German.
Rosetta Stone German can work as a supplement to your learning, but not the main course.