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Memrise vs Rosetta Stone

Find out which language learning app/program is better in this detailed Rosetta Stone vs Memrise comparison

Choosing between Rosetta Stone and Memrise can be a tough call. On the one hand, Rosetta Stone is like the grandfather of language learning. With 25+ years experience under their belt and a platform with robust features, they are a long time favorite. On the other hand, however, Memrise is a fun and affordable alternative, with video lessons that drive learning. So which one do you go with: Rosetta Stone or Memrise? We answer just that very question in this detailed comparison guide.



  • Affordable Subscription Options
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Affordable Subscription Options
  • Money Back Guarantee
Our Score


  • star
  • star
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  • Lessons incorporate videos of native speakers
  • Hundreds of user-generated courses to choose from (tons of content)
  • Extremely effective for learning new vocabulary (great retention rate)
  • Ability to customize the length of learning sessions
  • User experience varies by device (best on mobile)
  • Lessons lack drills for conversational practice
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Memrise vs Rosetta Stone Outline

Since this article is fairly lengthy, we’ve included jump-to links above for quick navigation.

Video Guide: Memrise vs Rosetta Stone

In this video, team member John breaks down how the language learning apps from Memrise and Rosetta Stone compare. He covers affordability, lesson structure, effectiveness, and more. Please continue reading for even more detail.

Strengths of the Memrise Language Program

To kick this comparison off, let’s cover the strengths of the Memrise language courses in relation to Rosetta Stone.

Lessons Incorporate Videos

The first advantage in favor of Memrise is the fact they incorporate video into their lessons. Though it might seem like an afterthought, this is a big deal and something you don’t see very often in the language learning industry.

For example, with Rosetta Stone, there are no videos. You only get only images. Essentially, with Rosetta, you just listen to your computer or phone say words and phrases. By contrast, with Memrise, you actually get to see native speakers speaking your target language.

memrise video
Memrise’s short videos add a lot of value

This has the effect of making the Memrise program feel a lot more intimate and personal. You can see the speaker’s body language, their hand gestures, and you can gauge their inflection when they pronounce certain words and sentences. In my opinion, this is super valuable, as it really helps you understand the nuances of your target language. So overall, you have to hand it to Memrise for going the extra mile and using video to help demonstrate the language.

Hundreds of User-Generated Courses

I like that Memrise offers access to user-generated courses in addition to their own company courses. This allows you to go beyond the standard lessons and really dig in to specific topics that may be of interest to you.

For example, if you’re learning Italian, there are courses that cover facts about Italian museums, common appliances found in Italian households, and Italian soccer teams. Honestly, the list goes on and on, with hundreds of narrow courses.

memrise user courses
There are hundreds of user-generated courses on Memrise

Bottom line, you’ll likely never run out of content with Memrise. I especially love this feature because you can find super niche courses that match your specific interests, hobbies, and passions. Once done with the primary Memrise course, this level of content allows you to build an entire secondary language program around your individual likes and dislikes to keep you engaged and motivated.

Customize Length of Learning Sessions

Another feature I like is that you can customize the length of lessons and learning sessions with Memrise by adjusting your preferences within the settings tab. Honestly, this is the first language app I’ve reviewed that allows for this sort of lesson flexibility.

With Rosetta Stone, you simply don’t have that type of control. Their lessons take around an hour or so to complete from start to finish, which for some people just isn’t going to work.

memrise language lesson
Make lessons as long or as short as you want with Memrise


However, with Memrise, because you have more control, there are much greater odds their lessons will fit into your schedule. Whether you have all the time in the world and want to set your new words per review session to 100, or you’re squeezed for time and only have enough time for 5 new phrases per review session, you’ve covered. It’s just great that Memrise offers you that sort of flexibility, and I see it as a big value add.

Fun Learning Experience

Finally, I like that Memrise tries to gamify the language learning experience. For one, as you complete lessons, you earn points, which you can then use to review the leaderboard and compare your progress and performance against other Memrise users. I personally thought this was a nice little way of staying motivated and energized.

There’s also an entire statistics section, where you can dig in to your streaks, as well as which days you learn the most, and even which times of day you learn the best. Frankly, it’s a pretty cool level of insight into your learning.

memrise lesson
The Memrise program creates a nice sense of community among users

But beyond all the stats and points, I also appreciate that Memrise really tries to build a community among its users. Memrise allows you as a user to build your own lessons, take courses that others have created, follow other users to track what they’re up to, and create study groups with your friends.

As a Memrise user, it’s really wide open for you to explore, which is great. I think this community-type feel definitely helps keep the language learning process fun and exciting.

➡ Read our full Memrise review here

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone

  • Free Trial
  • Money Back Guarantee
  • Free Trial
  • Money Back Guarantee
Our Score


  • star
  • star
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  • star
  • Lessons are great for visual learners (tons of images)
  • Effective speech recognition technology
  • Tons of extra resources, including live classes and coaching
  • Drills and exercises can become repetitive
  • Limited use of English directions and translations (near full immersion)
Rosetta Stone
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Strengths of the Rosetta Stone Language Program

Now that you have some background regarding Memrise, let’s dive into the strengths of the Rosetta Stone language courses.

Excellent Speech Recognition Technology

The clearest advantage in favor of Rosetta Stone has to be their TruAccent speech recognition technology, which is a tool the company has spent years developing. Basically, when you’re asked to repeat words or phrases, fill in blanks, or describe what’s happening in the various images you see during Rosetta Stone’s lessons, the company’s TruAccent technology is listening to you speak the entire time. And if you mispronounce a word or phrase, it’ll prompt you to say it again until you get it right.

Though I like this tech, it’s by no means a perfect system, and it’s definitely not a substitute for speaking to an actual fluent human being. However, all things considered, it’s actually pretty darn good. Overall, it’s definitely one of the more accurate speech recognition tools I’ve tested.

rosetta stone speaking
Rosetta Stone’s speech recognition tech is awesome

And though Memrise does employ their own speech recognition tech as well, it’s just not quite as good as Rosetta’s in my opinion. I just found Memrise’s speech tool to be a little inaccurate at times. For example, when a drill prompted me to say the word “Salud” in Spanish and I said “sala” instead (i.e. living room) just to test it out, it told me I was correct.

Overall, Rosetta Stone’s TruAccent technology is an impressive bit of software. It’s about as close as you can come to getting pronunciation feedback from a real person.

Tons of Extra Resources

My other major identified strength of the Rosetta Stone platform is all the the extra resources Rosetta Stone offers its users. This includes short stories (so can you improve your reading and listening skills); interactive phrasebooks (so you can perfect your pronunciation using Rosetta Stone’s speech recognition technology); or or for an additional fee, live classes and live coaching.

rosetta stone resources
There are a ton of bonus features with Rosetta Stone

To be totally clear here, you do have to pay extra for this. These live class services are not included in the standard subscription packages. That said, many bilingual folks would probably agree with me that there is no better way to learn a new language than through live sessions where you actually hear the language being spoken. This is especially true once you get past the basics.

And the nice thing here is that Rosetta has a ton of different class options, all of which align with your current learning level. This allows you to take live classes alongside others who are struggling through the same concepts. Overall, it’s just a very valuable service that you should consider taking advantage of.

➡ Also Worth Reading: Rosetta Stone vs Babbel

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Pricing and Subscription Options

Before we dive into our final verdict, let’s briefly compare pricing and affordability, as this can be a big point more many leaners. Starting with Rosetta Stone, they offer three different options: a 3-month plan, a 12-month plan, and a lifetime subscription. The 3- and 12-month plans include access to only one language and range from around $10 to $12 per month when broken down. Then there’s the the lifetime plan which grants you access to all 25 Rosetta Stone languages, and costs around $300 total, though can often be found on sale for around $180.

Memrise, on the other hand, is a little different in that they actually offer a free version. Yes, totally free. However, as you might imagine with this freemium model, it is somewhat limited. As a result, a lot of folks opt for the Pro Plan, which unlocks all of Memrise’s content and features across their 20 or so languages. This costs around $8 per month on a month-to-month basis, or $5 per month if you want to pay up for an entire year in advance. Memrise also has a lifetime pass for around $120.

Thus, comparing the two companies, it’s really no contest. Memrise is clearly the more affordable option. I should add though that both companies do offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re unhappy.

Final Verdict: Memrise vs Rosetta Stone

That about does it for the detail in this comparison, so let’s get to the final verdict. Should you choose Memrise or Rosetta Stone? Well, after testing each program, it’s a very close call. Ultimately, however, I have to give the edge to Memrise over Rosetta. Between the short videos they weave into lessons, all of the user-generated courses to choose from, the ability to customize your review sessions, and the lengths Memrise goes to make the learning process fun, I just think the Memrise package overall is more engaging and effective than Rosetta Stone.

➡ READ NEXT: Rosetta Stone vs Pimsleur


Which language program/app is better, Memrise or Rosetta Stone?

After thoroughly testing the apps/courses from both companies, our team believes Memrise offers a more well-rounded and effective language learning program than Rosetta Stone.

Is Memrise cheaper than Rosetta Stone?

Yes, the Memrise courses/plans are more affordable than the subscription options from Rosetta Stone. Though make sure to check for discounts, as both companies frequently run sales.

Do Rosetta Stone and Memrise offer money back guarantees?

Yes, both Memrise and Rosetta Stone offer money back guarantees if you’re not satisfied with their language programs.