Don’t buy the Rosetta Stone Japanese

For the past few years I’ve (sort of) been recommending the Rosetta Stone Japanese programme.   Now Amazon just sent me an advert for, what looks like, a new version.  So I excitedly clicked through and saw the reviews had given it an average of just 1.5 stars!  Hmmm…. that’s not that good is it!

So I think for the moment I’d say stay clear of Rosetta Stone for now.  As more reviews come in it might be worth another look, and if any of you have had good experience with it I’d love to know!  It is a shame because I’ve never really found a software programme that is much better!

Be genki,


5 Responses to “Don’t buy the Rosetta Stone Japanese”

  1. Brandon says:

    I’ve gone through two levels of that software and learned practically nothing. I went through 1 week of the Michel Thomas course you highly recommended and learned more than I ever could have with Rosetta Stone. I felt like I was just memorizing silly pictures the whole time without really learning how to form a sentence. Even in volume 3 of the Japanese they still have sentences like “the ball is on the boy”… at what point in any conversation with a Japanese person will I ever say that? Most of the phrases and words are hardly practical. I am just barely starting to learn the language and Rosetta Stone is something I would stay very clear of. The idea of it seems great at first, but I feel like the whole thing is a huge gimmick. For the cost of Rosetta Stone, I could get a plethora of way more useful courses, books, and even private tutoring. That program is EXPENSIVE. Thankfully I got to do the program for free as my brother has access to all the courses for free in the military. But they don’t seem to help him learn either, and he’s studying Persian Farsi.

    Thanks for the warning, Richard. You’re a blessing.

  2. Barbara says:

    I’m making good progress with Pimsleur. I have a very busy schedule lately so I can’t always do it every day like I’m supposed to, but it helped me a lot on my vacation to Japan even though I’d only been studying it a week.
    Purely speaking though–it won’t help you read at all.

  3. Ed says:

    No offense (I enjoy your site) but don’t you think your talents would be put to much better use if you were translating for European/Western Search and Rescue Teams? They could use your help!

  4. Richard says:

    @ Ed. You are correct. This was a scheduled message that I had written before the Earthquake.

  5. Devin says:

    I have completed Rosetta Stone’s Japanese Level 1 and it was an amazing help. I then took a college course in Japanese and did very well. My ability to grasp the concepts was vastly improved because of Rosetta Stone.
    As our first commenter has pointed out, Rosetta Stone doesn’t teach practical phases. Instead, it teaches you the language as if you were a child living in Japan. When you understand the structure of: the ball is on the boy, then you can substitute the words in and out based on your vocabulary.
    As in all languages the size of your vocabulary matters. You will learn and understand the Rosetta Stones vocabulary very well. I would recommend supplementing Rosetta Stone with vocabulary list memorization.
    To summarize, Rosetta Stone is not for someone who wants to memorize practical sentences. It is for someone who wants to become fluent in their chosen language. Rosetta Stone is not a one stop shop to become fluent, you will need to supplement your learning by increasing your vocabulary. Rosetta Stone is an amazing product and even though I wish it wasn’t as expensive, it is worth the cost.

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