There is a severe lack of quality in Hindi courses and programs in the language learning world. In this post we look at what is probably the most popular Hindi course around: Rosetta Stone.
We'll look at some of the unique pros and cons of the course, and how they relate to learning the Hindi language.
If you want a more in depth review on the Rosetta Stone method of language learning you can check out our Ultimate Rosetta Stone Review.
Review of: Rosetta Stone (Hindi)
Use: Multimedia program for learning Hindi
Struggles with complex phrases and grammar
Available via subscription
Typical lessons run around 20-30 minutes
Ease of Use
It doesn't get much easier than Rosetta Stone
A very logical progression through the Hindi language
- Good for basic vocabulary and grammar
I Don't Like
- Doesn't teach reading or writing
- Doesn't explain complex grammar
Rosetta Stone courses are often known for teaching basic vocabulary and grammar fairly well (depending on the language), but struggling to effectively teach more complex phrases.
Rosetta Stone Hindi is no exception. Users are likely to find the program's no translation method effective in the beginning phases. However the grammar and syntax of Hindi is significantly different enough from English, that learners are likely to struggle in the course later on.
The biggest problem with this particular program is that it simply doesn't address written Hindi (Devanagari script). The script is used throughout the course, but students aren't given much help in learning how to actually use it.
If you're looking to learn Hindi past the most foundational aspects of vocabulary and grammar, or if you plan on reading and writing in the language, I would recommend you stay clear from this program.
Is Rosetta Stone Hindi right for you?
If you're new/casual learner
If you have next to no knowledge of Hindi, little language learning experience, and want to get your feet wet in the language...then this course is might be a notable option.
If you want to read and write Hindi
As we will explain in more detail later on, Rosetta Stone doesn't give fair treatment to the Hindi writing system. If you want to read and write in Hindi you might want to look elsewhere.
Pros of learning Hindi with Rosetta Stone
Good for basic phrases and grammar
The Rosetta Stone method works fairly well when teaching basic Hindi phrases and grammar. In the beginning it's easy enough to surmise the meaning of a Hindi word or phrase based on the context of the picture.
The company's faux immersion approach also helps keep these new words etched in you memory, as using the words in context is more effective than trying to memorize them by rote.
Cons of learning Hindi with Rosetta Stone
Doesn't handle written Hindi very well
The biggest shortcoming of Rosetta Stone Hindi is that it doesn't really teach the Devanagari script (used in written Hindi). In the actual program Hindi words are shown written in Devanagari, but the course never gives students any information on how to read it.
This is a huge problem. For those who don't know the Devanagari script doesn't use a alphabet system like English or many other Indo-European languages.
Instead written Hindi uses what is called an abugida. In an abugida system small groups of consonants and vowels are written together as symbols or "units" (in a traditional alphabet system each consonant and vowel has its own letter).
With little or no explanations given to help users make sense of this new script, this particular Rosetta Stone program does a major disservice to Hindi learners.
In some older editions users have even reported that Hindi words in the higher course levels are actually spelled incorrectly.
Doesn't break down complex grammar
As mentioned before, the method behind Rosetta Stone works well in the beginning phases of learning Hindi. However once you move on to more complex sentences it becomes harder and harder to infer the meaning.
The rules and nuances of Hindi grammar start to get mirky without the help of explicit English explanations.
What other people say about the program
First, with Rosetta Stone you don’t get any explanation of how each vowel sound in Hindi has two different written forms, independent and dependent, depending on where it appears in a word. There is no English in Rosetta Stone lessons. If I hadn’t already known, before I began the program, that the same sound was depicted in two often radically different ways, I would have been really confused.
Nor did the English-free Rosetta Stone Hindi explain the existence of conjuncts. Conjuncts are consonant combinations that are written differently when appearing in combination than they are as standalone letters... it took me ages... to figure out how to render conjuncts with the Rosetta Stone keyboard, so for a while I got basically everything wrong in the writing exercises and became exasperated.
Alternatives to Rosetta Stone Hindi
20+ minutes a day
Rocket Hindi 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 Hindi).
But Rocket Hindi does much more than just help develop conversation skills. There are entire lessons on the Devanagari script, and how to read and write it.
There are also separate grammar based lessons which go into detail about the mechanics of the Hindi language.
Overall Rocket Hindi is a comprehensive course that does a good job of incorporating speaking and listening, as well as reading and writing. It's easily one of the most complete Hindi courses out there!
From $4+ per month
15+ minutes a day
Hindipod101 features audio lessons in a podcast format. These lessons are great for grammar and vocabulary. Each lesson is designed around a Hindi conversation between native speakers, and the teachers do a great job of keeping things engaging.
While it's not as structured as Rocket Hindi it's still a substantial Hindi learning tool (it's also much cheaper too). The site features transcripts (written in Hindi and English), an in-site flashcard system, and many other useful features.
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 your new foreign language. With Pimsleur You'll learn a limited but functional vocabulary and have a good sense of pronunciation.
The chief downside of Pimsluer is that it doesn't cover reading and writing at all. Even so, it's probably the best audio course for developing your conversational Hindi skills
If you're a beginner with no experience in Hindi, and you're not too concerned with learning how to read or write the language, then Rosetta Stone could prove helpful.
Otherwise, you're probably better off using a different Hindi course or program. Rosetta Stone simply doesn't do justice to more complex Hindi grammar or to the Devanagari script.