Pimsleur vs Rosetta Stone: The Ultimate Chinese Learning Comparison 2023

Chinese is one of the most confusing and difficult learning languages because of the pinyin and multiple meanings in one word. For example, the word ‘长’ has two pronunciations and meanings. If pronounced as (cháng), it means long; And if pronounced as(zhǎng), it means to grow. This scenario will be found quite popular during the process of learning Chinese.

As technology improves, learning Chinese from scratch is easier via an app. But now comes the question of which app to use? Although there are a lot of apps out there, Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone are the two apps that come to mind for most people.

In this article, we will talk about Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone for Chinese language learning. Let’s get rolling!

Comparison of Packages Offered 

Rosetta Stone offers several packages: 

  • A 3-month package that costs 36 USD for one language
  • A 12-month package at 96 USD for one language
  • A lifetime subscription that costs 180 USD

Pimsleur, on the other hand, offers 2packages:

  • Pimsleur Premium plan at 20 USD per month for only one language
  • Pimsleur All Access plan at 21 USD per month with all languages available

From the cost perspective, Rosetta Stone outshines Pimsleur because it offers a wide selection of packages, and the cost is cheaper compared to Pimsleur. Rosetta Stone’s plan is cheaper than Pimsleur’s for only one language plan.

Suppose you need to experience the app: Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur offer limited-time free trials. Rosetta Stone offers a 3-day trial session, and Pimsleur offers a 7-day free trial session.

Pimsleur Lesson

Pimsleur’s lesson mainly focuses on the mock conversation, which requires you to complete a 30 minutes audio exercise. There will be an English-speaking moderator to walk you through a native conversation of the selected language step by step.

You will listen to a few sentences of a conversation before the moderator stops and explain what is happening throughout the sentence. After that, you will be asked a few questions, engage, and participate in the conversation directly. It works like a guided conversation and helps to understand the complicated pinyin and the meaning of Chinese words.

A variety of exercises will be given after every audio lesson, like quizzes, flashcards, pronunciation training, and speed games. The exercise will help you understand the word or phrase from multiple angles to improve the impression of the language.

Outcome Of Pimsleur Lesson

This method will allow you to become an active learner because you constantly track the conversation. The moderator will also ensure you understand the conversation by explaining it. This part comes in handy, especially on pinyin, because it is pronounced differently than English alphabets.

Besides, the lesson mainly focused on getting you to recall the vocabulary and use Chinese in daily conversation. It provides you with time-to-time translation and requires you to respond to a native language speaker in the context of actual conversation.

It is also a more flexible learning method by learning while doing chores, working out, or even taking your dog for a walk. They offer a unique driving mode for those who do not want to waste their time in the car while waiting for the traffic. You can easily achieve those stated above, thanks to their audio-based lessons.

Plenty Of English Translate

As mentioned before, Pimsleur offers plenty of English translations throughout the lesson. That may seem like a small or unimportant feature, but it is critical to keep you on track with the conversation. That can prevent frustration from errors or boredom.

Rosetta Stone Lesson

The primary way of this lesson is just a combination of images and repetitive audio. You will spend most of your time listening and repeating the same word or phrase to match it up with the corresponding image. It works almost like matching cards to burn the word into your mind.

For example, you will listen to an audio cue of ‘那个人在跑步’ (Nà Gè rén zài pǎobù), and you will select a picture of a man jogging to match the scenario. This method relies heavily on visual cues. As you progress to a higher level, the questions will become harder from a word or slowly advance to a longer phrase.

Outcome Of Rosetta Stone Lesson

This lesson is very friendly towards image learners. The lesson is very image-based, and it’s meant to memorize the scenario so that it will come in handy in the future. Sadly it lacks enough English translation, and you will have to guess the answer based on the word you know or just blind picking without a particular understanding of the language.

Rosetta Stone has a system they called ‘Truaccent voice recognition technology, which they spent years developing. You will have to describe what you see in the image, and the system will detect everything you say. If you said it correctly, it would have a green glow around the indicator.

But if you mispronounce some words or phrases, it will prompt you to repeat them until you get them right. That will force you to pronounce the pinyin correctly and may avoid awkwardness afterward.

Extra Resources

Rosetta Stone provides a lot of extra resources. For example, demand a video that will help you understand the culture or legends and myths for Chinese. Combining the back story and the words or language often makes the process less boring and knowing more about foreign culture. You can also get a live class or coaching if you are willing to pay extra fees, which will significantly improve the ability to understand normal conversation.


In overall comparison, I think Pimsleur still outshines Rosetta Stone. The pricing for each lesson is more viable, and the ways the apps carry out their lesson are generally interesting. But, Pimsleur has a better lesson system and makes it easier to learn a whole new language easier, especially the pinyin part, which is the most crucial while learning Chinese.

I hope you find this article useful in explaining the Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone language learning apps. If you are looking to improve your Chinese language in an easy and fun way, consider subscribing to Maayot for interesting bite-sized daily stories! You can also read our articles to enhance your Chinese language knowledge: