Foreign Language Tip 2 #23 | Is Rosetta Stone Korean Useful?

This will probably be the most honest review you’ll ever read about Rosetta Stone. I have nothing to gain or lose from this post and this is not an advertisement. This is an honest opinion from someone who has studied Korean with and without Rosetta Stone for a little over two years.

Okay, now with the disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into the post!

I’m going to answer this in two ways: (1) yes it is useful and (2) but maybe not for a beginner.

Let’s start with the pros:

  • It forms sentences around vocabulary with pictures
  • The repetition
  • Review sessions

If you have been struggling with making sentences, this is a good software to use. The speaking portions of it force you to actually speak the words but also to answer questions. So it teaches reading comprehension in Korean and hones in on listening skills. This is also really helpful if you speak slowly like I do and need help getting up to speed. It doesn’t go too fast but it helps you learn how to speak at a normal speaking pace.

I appreciate the repetition and pictures. Even if you’re lost by the question, you can pick out words in the sentence along with the picture to help you answer the question accurately. It’s reminiscent to how children learn to speak with pictures. You hold up a picture of a number and say the number on the card and the baby repeats what you said and what they see and eventually they start recognizing that two books are two books and not five trucks.

The repetition part of it helps ingrain the words and pictures in your head. So if you only do a lesson a day, when you start up the next lesson and ask you something to build on the last lesson, you can still answer accurately based off the repeated use of the word and image.

The reviews are probably my favorite part. If you don’t score high on a section, you still move on but they come back to it later as a review so you never actually move on confused on any of the topics in the lessons.

The Cons:

  • Vocabulary – You need a basic understanding
  • No romanization
  • Not exactly for beginners

Okay, so these aren’t exactly cons but they aren’t pros if you don’t have some type of foundation in Korean.

What do I mean?

For one, to use this program, you need to be able to read Hangul. If you can’t read it or write it, my suggestion before using this is to learn it. There are a lot of free websites to help teach you Hangul and there’s a free app that I used when I was first learning from Seoul National University that helped as well. I used it for android but I think it can be used for Apple products as well.

As far as the vocabulary portion goes, you will need to know some type of vocabulary to help you out. It will teach you a lot of words so you don’t need to learn every word in the Korean dictionary but it would be helpful to know words like:

  • 있다
  • 었다
  • 저의
  • 저는

The words above are just examples of what to focus on while you’re deciding how much you should know before starting this program. Basically, just have a solid understanding of the basics.

And lastly, it’s not really for beginners in my opinion. And what I mean is, if you’re just starting with no knowledge of Korean at all, this won’t exactly help you unless you learn the things I listed above first. It can actually be a bit discouraging if you can’t read Hangul because the whole program is in Hangul there is absolutely no romanization.


Overall, I really like the program. I find it useful for my 30 minutes a day lessons. I have the homeschool program so it’s like being in school all over again. It was nice starting over and revisiting topics that I hadn’t paid much attention to like I should’ve in the beginning or my language journey. Things like, numbers, colors, clothes… all things I should’ve been more focused on but didn’t take it seriously enough at the time.

So if you’re looking for a program to help in your language learning process, this is helpful but I wouldn’t use it as the sole source of learning Korean. You should do some outside study too. Using this in conjunction with another source like a textbook or any of the free “How to learn Korean” websites will help you learn Korean and have a better understanding of what you’re learning. I find myself, as the lessons progress, pausing to jot down words and look them up later.

Finally, I hate to break it to you but using this alone won’t make you fluent in a few days. It takes practice, consistency and focus if you’re going to use this program. You need to actually be pay attention to what you’re learning with each lesson and unit. Passive learning with this software just isn’t practical. Also, if you still haven’t created a study plan that works for you, this will also not be very helpful. You could either end up studying for too long or not studying long enough. Both of these have “bad case scenarios” like (1) studying too long = overwhelmed and everything you learning is overlapping in your head. (2) Not studying long enough = not remembering a single thing you learned or what you learned is just too confusing and it doesn’t make sense.

If you’re curious about trying it, I think it’s a good idea if you do. If you’re worried that you aren’t progressing as quickly because you’re not using it, don’t feel that way. It’s just a learning aid but there are other free sources that are just as helpful.

And that’s your honest Rosetta Stone review!

Quick Final Note:

Create flashcards!! It sounds a bit ridiculous but it is really really helpful to use flashcards while you learn. You’ll start to see that you recognize more words and objects and slowly you won’t need them anymore.

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