Does Rosetta Stone Teach Grammar?

Absolutely! Not that you’ll learn to explicitly recite rules for turning words into sentences, but you will learn to speak your new language correctly from the beginning. The difference in our approach springs from the way your brain is naturally designed to turn raw words into meaningful speech.

Turns out, it’s not by memorizing rules. It’s true that one of the language centers in your brain develops patterns or blueprints for building words into language. But those patterns don’t evolve from formal rules that you memorized in school and then deductively applied to every utterance. Rules take too long for your brain to learn and for you to apply. The patterns emerge from all the sentences you see and hear from the moment you’re born until right now.

latin grammar example 2The best way to develop the right patterns for understanding and speaking a new language is to reawaken the process that worked the first time: load lots of correct and comprehensible sentences from the new language into your head.  In order to speak, you can’t just memorize the sentences by rote or snap them together like plastic beads using a grammar book and a dictionary. You need to understand implicitly how the language hangs together.  Put simply, you need to learn to think in your new language if you’re going to have any success speaking it.

To get you thinking and speaking in the same language, Rosetta Stone bypasses your native language altogether and takes you deep inside the language you’re learning. Clearly, that’s not enough. You can’t simply be airdropped into a new language without feeling overwhelmed and lost. For that reason, our Dynamic Immersion method engages you in the new language systematically from the beginning. Within minutes, you begin to understand the meaning and structure of complete sentences from the inside, without a word of explanation in your native language. And by the end of the first lesson, you’re comfortably producing new sentences on your own.

latin grammar example 3The development of this natural grammar in Rosetta Stone is marvelously and elegantly simple. You ground the meaning of new words in vivid and precise images drawn from real life. You build new language structures using language you already know and patterns of images that clearly convey action, emotion, and abstract meaning. You actively discover new language meaning on your own, intuitively, in every screen, and interact with the program constantly to confirm what you’ve learned. And after every core lesson, grammar activities enable you to reinforce and confirm specific grammatical elements you’ve already encountered.

As a result, you learn to spot familiar grammatical patterns in your new language, incorporate new ones into your speech, and train your brain to help you say what you really mean.

For more reading on language and grammar, check out: •   Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution by Ray Jackendoff
•  The Atoms of Language: The Mind’s Hidden Rules of Grammar by Mark C. Baker
•  Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language by Steven Pinker
•  The Natural Approach by Stephen Krashen
•  Language and Mind by Noam Chomsky
•  Language Lessons:  You are what you speak by Christine Kenneally

Find more posts about: ,

  • Aida

    Is it possible to learn Russian just by Rosetta Stone and not taking any classes ?!

    • rvoiceadmin

      @Aida, good question. Yes, you can learn to speak Russian with Rosetta Stone. By the time you complete three levels of Rosetta Stone you should be able to successfully navigate situations such as ordering from a restaurant, shopping, introducing yourself and others, asking about preferences, giving and receiving directions, and much more. We also wanted to point out that our TOTALe offering includes online coaching sessions with a native speaker and includes features that incorporate the best elements of classroom learning.

  • Kade Major

    Having completed French 1-3 and started 4, I would say that the ideas presented in this article are absolutely correct: learning speeds up as one sees the patterns on their own instead of learning grammatical rules and applying them, but does the program live up to these standards? Overall I would have to say no. I was re-introduced to french in a High school French II class and as I studied the language in that more conventional, grammar oriented environment I realized that several important concepts that Rosetta Stone had tried to convey had gone right over my head because of a lack of repetition and a lack of variety in examples. I’ve had the good fortune of studying latin for several years and also of having a strong background in English grammar as well. I must admit that I believe some of my problems were self-inflicted as I neglected routine use of the audio companion. All in all I will always say Rosetta Stone deserves 5 stars for making the study of language fun and easily accesible, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

    • rvoiceadmin

      @Kade, thanks for your comments. We are continually looking for ways to improve our programs. We welcome any feedback from customers with specific suggestions for improvements. In addition to the audio companion, we now offer TOTALe which you may be interested in checking out: With TOTALe you are encouraged to practice conversations online with a native speaker, you have access to connect with a community of other TOTALe learners through online games, and you can receive support from our dedicated Customer Success Team.

  • Matt

    True story: I was talking to a friend in Spanish and I said, “Necesito hablar contigo.” (I need to speak with you) – I then stopped and thought, ‘Where did I learn ‘contigo’?? Where…. I know it was from Rosetta Stone but where in it did I learn that…’ Then I remembered and thought, ‘Wow! I used it correctly without even thinking about it!’

    Keep up the great work RosettaStone!!!

  • David

    The difference between adults and children is that children are not afraid to make mistakes and you can not tell them that they can not do something. When I was younger I was going to build a time machine. My parents sort of hinted that it wouldn’t work but I ignored them and went confidently on my way.

    My point is that adults seem to forget how they learned their first language. Most children are never taught formal grammar rules before they reach the age of 6 or 7. Where then do they learn to speak so fluently. When is the last time you have spoken with a 6 year old. It is amazing how fluent they are.

    Children unlike adults are not afraid to make mistakes. In fact, if you think back really hard to when you were a kid learning English (or your first language) you probably made lots of mistakes. Never the less you kept trying, you kept recognizing patterns, figuring out what words mean through context and eventually could understand and reproduce full sentences and ideas. Sure you made mistakes. You probably made tons. You just did not care! Your parents would correct you and then you would move on.

    Children for example often make mistakes such as saying gooses instead of geese. You know that they didn’t hear someone else say gooses or fishes, so it is just proof that their brain naturally understands the concept of adding an s to make a word plural. So how do they learn it is actually fish or geese? Simple your parents correct you, just like Rosetta Stone does and you learn naturally.

  • Product Review: Rosetta Stone – Spoken Language

    […] I won’t reach complete fluency. The big controversy with the Rosetta Stone method is in the teaching/learning of grammar. Instead of spending time making you memorize rules the program “naturally” teaches […]

  • Mykle

    I must say I think Rosetta Stone is sorely lacking in the grammar area, at least in the German sections I’ve taken. For example, I’m more than half way through the 5 levels I bought (Level 3, Unit 3) and still can’t tell when to use the right article for “The” (Der/Den/Dem) instinctively.
    This theory that you’ll just pick up the grammar is incorrect. A child learns not only by hearing and usage, but because its parent/teachers also correct them when they say it wrong -and explain why-. There is no explanation in Rosetta Stone and that’s what’s lacking. Rosetta Stone tells me when I choose the wrong selection, and obviously the other choice is the right one…but never do I know why, so the same mistakes are made over-and-over and frustration level increases because it’s a guess every time. This is where an actual instructor is superior to Rosetta Stone…because you can ask questions and get real answers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled with the amount of vocabulary I have picked up in my courses, but I’m not learning to speak properly (grammar), and that’s disappointing.

    • Rosetta Stone

      Thanks for your comment, Mykle. Grammar often frustrates many language learners, beginners as well as experienced learners, not only in German but in other languages as well. That’s why language teachers and textbooks often provide charts and rules in the hope that it will simplify explanation. In fact, though, a language’s grammar consists not of labels, charts, and diagrams but rather patterns of use that native speakers deem correct. That’s one reason Rosetta Stone teaches grammar the way it does.

      If you keep studying, you might find that the farther you go in the product, the clearer and more nuanced those patterns seem. Keep thinking about those expressions that initially strike you as confusing or unexpected and see if, after enough time in the product, they come to seem natural. In fact, a lot of our learners experience an “aha moment” with a given grammar structure. After getting a form wrong time and again, they begin to identify the pattern and internalize it in a meaningful way (without rote memorization).

      If you want to learn more about how Rosetta Stone teaches grammar, we’d recommend our blog post on the topic:

blog comments powered by Disqus