This post was last updated April 2020.
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Babbel vs Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone, for example, is great for ultimate beginner learners who just want to get to tourist-level understanding, while Babbel is for much more intensive learners.
But, if that doesn’t answer the question of Babbel vs Rosetta Stone for you, let’s go into detail. Both resources are genuinely high quality and very useful, but neither are for every single type of language learner.
Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: languages
First things first, which language(s) are you interested in learning? Both Babbel and Rosetta Stone support:
- Brazilian Portuguese
Besides those languages, Babbel also supports:
Finally, Rosetta Stone also covers:
Rosetta Stone has a lot more languages to offer, but keep in mind that the content in every language sticks to the basics. Again, more for beginners/tourists than anything else. Babbel may lack quantity, but it makes up for that in quality.
Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: similarities
Now, Babbel or Rosetta Stone may very well be exactly what you’re looking for. Both are very structured and hold your hand through their lessons (as opposed to something like Memrise where you’re kind of on your own), and both start from the beginning of the language and help you make a solid base in understanding the language.
Both are subscription-based and available on desktop and mobile, and sync together seamlessly. Your subscription to Rosetta Stone or Babbel only cover one language, though, as opposed to unlocking all the languages in one go.
However, that’s about where their similarities end, and you need to think about whether Babbel or Rosetta Stone is right for you. Before you make this decision, you need to think about a couple of different things, because each service does very different things for very different types of learners.
Let’s start with Babbel. Babbel is pretty reasonably priced – from under $10 a month – and goes from the beginning of the language to the end. You can start using Babbel with absolutely zero knowledge of the language, and take it to advanced levels of grammar.
This is a great resource since it can be difficult to find intermediate to advanced grammar concepts in foreign languages, outside of just looking up the rules and figuring it out yourself. Babbel is much better than Rosetta Stone at teaching you stuff that’s beneath the surface of tourist-speak.
Babbel is also super efficient in how it teaches these concepts. First you’ll get a simple explanation of the lesson, and then you’ll get a couple simple drills to put the concept into practice. This is really great for career language learners, who are familiar with grammatical patterns, or who are really just used to learning new languages.
It might go a bit quick for newbie learners though, who need to make sure they’re confident in their basics before moving on. If you need constant repetition before you feel comfortable with new language ideas, Babbel might not suit you.
Suffice to say, Babbel was created for language learners who find it easy to pick up on new languages; not for more “talented” learners, but for those of us who just do it a lot. You can review the lessons as many times as you need, but you’re not going to get the in-depth explanations and constant drilling that inexperienced learners may need.
But, considering it’s not quite so…aggressive…neither is the price! As I mentioned, Babbel costs about as much as you spend on coffee in a week.
There’s several different payment options plus a 20-day money-back guarantee. Definitely what I’d call budget friendly.
Next up: Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone is more for beginners not just because of what you’ll learn, but also how you learn it. It’s an excellent example of virtual immersion, which is amazing for language learners who aren’t practiced at immersing themselves virtually just yet.
Instead of figuring out how to get a well-rounded language education for yourself (including reading, writing, listening, and speaking), Rosetta Stone does it for you while you’re learning your concepts. It’ll hurt your brain, but that just means you’re doing it right. Serious, serious hand-holding.
This in itself is one huge step for beginner language learners. It’s really important to get in the habit of getting a well-rounded education from the start, so when you start looking for more independent means of language learning (ie. Babbel), you’ll know to look for other pieces of the puzzle, too.
The other half of what makes Rosetta Stone great for beginners is the constant drilling. You know how I said that Babbel teaches you the thing, drills you a bit, then moves on?
Rosetta Stone drills and drills and drills and drills. And then drills some more. Which is nauseatingly boring for seasoned language learners, but definitely helpful for newbies who need to learn to use that part of their brain.
The basics of the language you’re learning need to be a habit. You should easily be able to recall the most simplistic words and ideas before you try to move on. Easy for experienced learners, harder for new learners. I mean, it’s like math: you need to master 2+2 before you get to 2×2, or else nothing’s going to make sense to you.
So, if you need these beginner concepts almost physically drilled into your brain, go wander over to Rosetta Stone, ‘cause that’s what it’s good at.
Do be forewarned, though, that Rosetta Stone is really expensive. Like, a couple of hundred dollars expensive. Even if you just opt for the monthly online membership (which I highly recommend), which is technically reasonably priced, you still have to pay for 3, 12, or 24 months upfront. Which means you’re spending almost $40at minimum.
Fortunately, they have recently updated their pricing structure to include a lifetime membership at $300 – it’s still on the pricey side, but at the same time, it’s much more aligned with the pricing of many other paid language learning resources that offer lifetime or yearly memberships.
This can definitely push Rosetta Stone out of consideration for a lot of language learners, so keep the price in mind.
Babbel vs Rosetta Stone
By now it should be abundantly clear to you which resource will satisfy your needs: Rosetta Stone or Babbel. You’re either used to learning a new language or you’re not; you either need someone to remind you to practice your language skills or you don’t.
Either way, I do honestly believe that both products are very high quality, and I do highly recommend them. Always make sure you know your skill level and your goals before spending money on any language learning resource.
When you get down to it, Babbel is great if you’re looking for something very reasonably priced – like what you pay for your Netflix subscription – that holds your hand through grammatical concepts. You’ll definitely walk away with a great understanding of grammar. Click here if that sounds like you!
On the other hand, Rosetta Stone pulls on your wallet a bit more, but at the same time throws beginner language learners straight into an immersion-style course. No other language learning resource works all 4 language skills quite like Rosetta Stone. Click here if this sounds more like what you’re looking for!