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Memrise vs Rosetta Stone
Find out which language learning 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.
Since this article is fairly lengthy, we’ve included jump-to links above for quick navigation.
Video Review: Memrise or 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.
To start, let’s dive into the strengths of the Rosetta Stone language courses in relation to Memrise.
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 (similar to Rocket Languages).
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.
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.
Great Choice For Visual Learners
If you are more of a visual learner (as opposed to an auditory learner), chances are you will like Rosetta Stone. And that’s because nearly all of their practice exercises and drills utilize images.
This is great for people who learn best through associating new words and phrases with visuals.
To be fair, Memrise does incorporate videos into their lessons, but still, if you need visual elements to help you make mental connections, Rosetta Stone is great choice.
Immersive Learning Framework
It’s also worth noting that there is very limited use of English directions and translations within the Rosetta Stone language courses. And this is by design. Rosetta Stone wants to create an immersive learning environment, almost as if you are a child learning English.
In other words, Rosetta Stone limits the use of English in order to mimic the natural language learning process, which in my opinion is a great call. I actually think language apps that use too much English within lessons actually stunt the learning process.
However, for people who get frustrated easily and want translations, Rosetta Stone does offer the option to turn translations on. They’re just turned off by default to help maintain the immersion element.
Tons of Extra Resources
My other major identified strength of the Rosetta Stone platform is all 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 for an additional fee, live classes and live coaching.
To be totally clear here, you do have to pay extra for the live classes. 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.
Now that you understand the areas in which Rosetta Stone excels, let’s cover the strengths of the Memrise language courses.
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, within the standard Rosetta Stone curriculum, there are no videos. You only get only images. With that said, Rosetta Stone does offer on-demand videos as a free bonus resource (they’re just not integrated into the lesson plan).
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 (especially when learning Spanish, French, or German).
In my opinion, this is super valuable, as it really helps you understand the nuances of your target language (this is especially true for visual learners studying for the AP German test).
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.
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. For example, with Rosetta Stone, you simply don’t have that type of control.
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’re 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.
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.
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 $8 to $12 per month when calculated on a monthly basis after discounts and coupon codes.
Then there’s the the lifetime plan which grants you access to all 25 Rosetta Stone languages, and costs around $400 total, though can often be found on sale for around $200.
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, Memrise is technically the cheaper option, although in the grand scheme of things, the courses from both companies are considered quite affordable in the language learning space.
I should also add that both companies do offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re unhappy.
Final Verdict: Memrise or 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 Rosetta Stone. Between their immersive approach to learning, top-notch speech recognition technology, visual lesson elements, and the extra bonus tools and resources that they offer learners, I just think Rosetta Stone offers the more complete language program from top to bottom.
Which language program/app is better, Memrise or Rosetta Stone?
After thoroughly testing the apps/courses from both companies, our team believes Rosetta Stone offers a more well-rounded and effective language learning program than Memrise.
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.
What is the difference between Memrise and Rosetta Stone?
The main difference between Memrise and Rosetta Stone is lesson format. The Memrise lessons are more diverse and include videos of fluent speakers, whereas the Rosetta Stone lessons rely more on images and take a more immersive approach to learning.