To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Rosetta Stone TOTALe (French) review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £240
inc VAT

This natural language-learning course gave us concrete results and increased our fluency

There are plenty of language learning applications out there, but Rosetta Stone is the best known, providing an immersive course that uses images and speech to build your familiarity with your chosen language. Rosetta Stone TOTALe is the online version of the course, and is platform independent. This means you can run it on any device, whether it’s a laptop, PC or tablet. All you need is access to a web browser, although you can also use an app for your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.

The disadvantage is that you need an internet connection to access your course. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be a particularly fast internet connection. We completed several lessons on an iPad over a slow 3G connection with only occasional interruptions. Even if a lesson is interrupted, whether by loss of connectivity or because you’re called away from the PC, your progress will be saved.

The many individual lessons that make up each unit of the course take between five and 30 minutes to complete. There are four half-hour lessons in each unit, and a plethora of shorter lessons help you revise the material from the four main lessons. You can focus on specific elements, such as listening, reading, speaking, writing or vocabulary. There’s also a Milestone test at the end of each unit in which you put what you’ve learned to use in a simulated conversation. You’ll ideally want to use a headset for most of the lessons, as Rosetta Stone uses voice recognition to help you perfect your pronunciation.

Rosetta Stone

As well as speaking and reading, you’ll learn to write in your chosen language and even use accents correctly

A structured education

Each level of the course is comprised of four units, and the French course has five levels. In addition to the lessons in each unit, there are two live sessions with a tutor and up to three other students. You can take up to four live classes per month and participate via your browser or an iOS app. Unfortunately, there’s no Rosetta Studio app to provide live sessions on Android at the time of writing, although Rosetta Course for Android otherwise has all the same features as its iOS equivalent.

The live lessons are taught entirely in the language you’re learning, by native speakers who encourage you to put what you’ve learned to practical use and prompt you to converse with your classmates. Rosetta Stone’s emphasis on learning your new tongue without referring to your first language sets it apart from many language learning systems, such as the free, web-based rival Duolingo. With Duolingo, you have to translate directly between your mother tongue and the target language.

Rosetta Stone

Clear, simple images make phrases easy to understand, even though they never refer to your first language

While the latter approach works well for some, we’re among those who do best with immersive learning. Rosetta Stone starts by teaching you the basics, beginning with simple words and phrases that describe what’s going on in a picture. Increasingly advanced elements such as verb conjugation and tenses are slipped into conversation sequences that provide context. In each four-lesson unit, elements of previous lessons are interspersed with new content, and you’ll periodically be presented with short sessions that revisit material from previous units.

This gradual, building block approach to learning a language may frustrate those who want to revise a language they’ve previously learned and just want grammatical references and verb tables. However, we found the pace of the course to be ideal and supplemented what we learned with simple books, audio material and comics written in French.

Pages: 1 2


Price £240
Rating *****

Read more