Duolingo vs. Rosetta Stone vs. Pimsleur: Language Software Review & Comparison

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Duolingo is a completely free site powered by its users that utilize a social networking type platform. This allows you to play various games and compete with friends. Rosetta Stone costs 500 dollars and allows you to pay in monthly increments of $100.

The Benefits of learning another language:

The benefits of learning a second language can be compared to the benefits you reaped from learning your first!  As an individual learning a second language could give you immaculate personal advancements in many areas of your life such as:

  • Job market- You will have access to more jobs with increased pay.
  • Social benefits- Doors to new friendships will open with your increased fluency.
  • Travel- You can have confidence traveling in foreign countries where you new found second language is used. 
  • Personal Experience- Often learning a second language gives you more insight to the basis of other languages.


Courses offered:

  • Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian


Duolingo is completely free. I know what you are thinking. Normally free via web terms translates into massive and invasive advertisements. Surprisingly, this is not the case. So if you don't pay, who does? Individuals who need documents translated upload their documents and they are translated by the students on Duolingo. The Duolingo website is very visually appealing with a cartoonish quality.  Duolingo definitely appears to have a noble cause and is very innovative in comparison to other services. Duolingo's new approach has attracted investors such as Ashton


  • Duolingo includes a dashboard, profile, and compete with friends option.
  • Instruction is in the form of games
  • Duolingo has mobile apps for those who want to learn on the go.
  • You can compete with friends on Facebook.


Duolingo is not Better Business Bureau accredited. Businesses are not required to participate in the BBB acreditation. Many businesses do not maintain accreditation simply because they have not applied.

Consumer Reviews

Kids can pick up language from their surroundings, but that doesn't seem to work for adults. Adults need to use their higher cognitive skills to engage and analyze the language. This is basically what Duolingo does. However, this probably accounts for a very small part of language learning--in my own acquisition of Japanese, I think I've spent less than 1% of my time analyzing sentences or translating.

Simple, free and fun app to learn new languages. However a great extra would be to have the opportunity to learn a bit about the grammar for the chosen language. It would also be grateful if Norwegian was added to the languages.-Sebastian

Its a very good language learning tool I have been duolingoed for just under two weeks now and now all my friends are doing the same after my recommendation. It's a fun and effective way of learning a language and It's working like a charm. I should be conversational in another month


Rosetta Stone

 Courses offered:

Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Dari, Dutch, English American, English British, Tagalog, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean

Summary and Features

This program does not walk you through fluency by coaching you in your native language. You will be coached through visual aids but only will hear the language you are learning. You can try this product before you purchase it by clicking the demo on the home page.

  • Rosetta Stone uses a variety of words, speaking and listening.
  • Does not have any direct translations or charts
  • You will hear a variety of native speakers and learn through associating words spoken with pictures,
  • Sells products for personal, home-schooling, businesses, and public sector use.
  • Mobile apps are available.


At the foundation of Rosetta Stone is the Dynamic Immersion Method. This particular method attempts to tap into your natural congnitive lingual abilities through the absense of translation and gramar. In other words you will use learn your new language in the manner you learned your first.

Rosetta's program aims to start you thinking in your native language from the very first activity. Traditional language techniques require you to think about what you say in your native language then translate it on the foundation of that language. This program is designed to eliminate that step and make learning a new language less intimidating and complicated.


  • 5 payments of 100 monthly for a total of $500


Rosetta Stone is not a Better Business Bureau acrcredited business.Businesses are not required to participate in the BBB acreditation. Many businesses do not maintain accreditation simply because they have not applied.

Customer Reviews

I have purchased a dozen different software programs all of which claimed to make learning Spanish easy. Although they were much cheaper, none of them are as complete as Rosetta Stone. If you want to hear English while learning Spanish, this program is not for you. Rosetta Stone is Full Immersion learning. Visual and audio clues guide you through the process of recognizing words with images and actions, the same way you learned as a child. I have wanted to buy Rosetta Stone for many years and with the discount I received on this order I got Rosetta Stone at a great price.

The total immersion and variety of activities made learning Spanish easy and fun! Within a week I was able to carry on simple conversations at work. I especially liked the online games that encouraged using what you'd learned and the online learning sessions w/a native speaker! I've recommended it to several people and I may get another language myself.

I homeschool My children and I like this program because It is very user friendly. Love the interactive features. Also like that more than one child can use the program. Each child has their own lesson. I highly recommend the complete set 1-5 with the headphone.



Courses offered:

  • Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin, Croation, Czech, Dari, Dutch, Eastern Arabic, Egyption Arabic, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Haitan, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Ojibwe, Pashto, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Ukranian, Urdu, Vietnamese.

The Pimsleur method is trusted and used by many including the FBI. This method is all in audio which is a great option for those who have daily commutes.

  • Engage in basic conversation in only 10 days.
  • All lessons are in audio.  
  • Lessons are only 30 minute in length


The foundation for this program is a method created by the great linguist and educator Robert Pimsleur. This educational tool starts you of by teaching you the most used words and phrases  These 30 minute interivals are designed to help you absorb the material into your brain immediately. This method is stated to be extremely fast and non-repetitive..


The site states that if you are not pleased with the program you can return it within a period of 30 days for a full refund.

Customer Reviews

Exactly what I was looking for! I drive to work, roughly 45 minutes each way, and always wanted this time not to be wasted. The length of lessons fits right-in with some 5 minutes to spare in case of an interrupting phone call. The course assumes absolutely no off-time studying and no usage of printed material whatsoever. Additionally, being alone in a car, I am the most comfortable about pronouncing sentences aloud, compared to being in a real class (this I remember from my years at University) or at home with my family around (as of now, this would be the only other option).

I love the method. I tried to learn Spanish three times with no success. This works to give you a sense of success to encourage you to learn how to write as well.

My son and I have had fun learning Spanish with these audiotapes. My older daughters tell me that some of the things we are learning are different from what they are learning in their Spanish class, but I think that is because we are still learning formal conversations and in school they are at the point where they are learning informal conversational material between friends or closer acquaintances.


  • Pimsleur is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau but does hold an A - Rating. Businesses are not required to participate in the BBB acreditation. Many businesses do not maintain accreditation simply because they have not applied


A Quick Comparisson of Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Pimsluer:

Although Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Pimsluer all share the common goal, there are definately some tangible differences between all three.Duolingo definately has the advantage in pricing considering it is 100% free. But this should not be your only determaining factor when chosing a program.Learning a new languge definately has its challenges but the rewards you will gain through this experiance will be priceless.

All 3 techniques are proven to be successful but the success rate is just as dependent on the individual as the program. It is important to choose which program suits your you. Metacognition is the key. Which learning strategy suits you best? If you have difficulty staying engaged while learning then you should take advantage of Duolingo's playful and heavily socialized approach. If you excel with a hands-on approach then Rosetta Stone is for you. For those who like simple instruction and find variety of methods confusing then the Pimleur is the best option.