Rocket Italian: Full Review (Pros & Cons) - Live Fluent

Rocket Italian: Full Review (Pros & Cons)

Review of: Rocket Italian

Use: Italian learning course

Effectiveness

Learn to read, write, speak, and listen in Italian

Price

Reasonably priced for a full course

Time Commitment

Each lesson is roughly 30 minutes

Ease of Use

Well laid out and easy to use

Structure

Highly structured and well designed 

I Like

  • check
    Great for conversational Italian
  • check
    Solid grammar lessons
  • check
    Covers reading, writing, speaking, and listening

I Don't Like

  • Effective, but not necessarily entertaining

Summary:  

Rocket Italian is a well rounded and comprehensive language course. It manages to teach you the relevant vocabulary you need to start speaking Italian right away; while still providing you with the necessary grammar lessons you'll need in the long term.


It does this by providing two distinct lesson types: 1) Audio lessons, and 2) Language and Culture lessons. 


The course is straight forward and effective. You can go from absolute beginner to low-intermediate if you work through each level of the course.


If you're solely looking for a novel or fun learning resource to use as a supplement, then this probably isn't the course for you. 


This course is for students, from beginners to intermediate, who are looking for a stand alone resource for learning Italian.

Starting at $99.95 for 1 course level

Is Rocket Italian right for you?

Yes

If you're a beginner or intermediate student 

Like the majority of courses in the language learning world, this course is designed for beginners and intermediate students. Rocket Italian is broken up into three separate levels.

 When worked through sequentially, these three levels will take you from absolute beginner to low level intermediate in the language. 

If you want a comprehensive course to learn Italian

Rocket Italian does an excellent job of covering both practical vocabulary and necessary grammar. As you work through the course you will learn both as you read, write, speak, and listen in Italian. 

No

If you want to supplement your Italian learning

If you simply want to spice up your Italian learning with a novel app or course, then this program probably isn't for you. As said before this language course is a hefty one, and it's priced accordingly. 

There are more novel and cheaper options if you're not looking for a full fledged course. 

Pros of Rocket Italian

It teaches practical vocabulary AND grammar

There is almost always a bit of tension between language courses. They emphasize either practical words and phrases you can use in a conversation, or they take a more traditional approach and focus on grammar. 

Rocket Italian strikes a rare balance between the two. The course has two distinct lesson types. There are the audio lessons, and secondly there are the language and culture lessons. 

True to their name, the audio lessons are built around prerecorded Italian dialogues between two native speakers. These lessons will break down the conversation phrase by phrase, so that you know what each one means and you know how to pronounce them. 

This sort of "language chunk" approach is great for developing your conversational skills quickly so that you can start speaking Italian right away. 

However, in the long run, if all you ever learned were chunks of the Italian language you would run into serious trouble once you progressed past the beginning levels. This is because after this point the grammar can get complicated, and it's important that you have a firm grasp on the basics. 

"I like what Rocket Languages teaches, focusing on vocabulary and grammar that are probably most applicable to the average person in his or her everyday life...In Rosetta Stone, by contrast, you end up mastering a lot of phrases that you'll never use. Sure, you'll quickly figure out the difference between "the duck eats rice" and "the dog eats rice," but good luck making use of those sentences."

Jill Duffy  // PCMag.com

This is where the language and culture lessons come in. The vast majority of these lessons are centered on Italian grammar. These lesson skip straight to the point. They break down sample phrases bit by bit so that you can see and understand how the grammar behind them works. 

Taken together the audio lessons and language and culture lessons help you learn Italian in a way that is both practical and sustainable in the long term.

It helps you learn Italian holistically

We mention this a lot on our site: there are four aspects of language learning: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. A great Italian course will cover all of them. 

This is important because together these four aspects reinforce one another and help you learn the language faster and more efficiently (with the exception of languages with more complicated writing systems like Japanese). 

Also, learning Italian this way will give you the practical skills you need to use the language outside of the classroom. 

Rocket Italian strikes a nice balance between all four aspects. Throughout the lessons you will be required to read and listen in Italian. You will also need to write in the language as well. As far as speaking goes, the course does have a formidable voice recognition component. 

Naturally, the best speaking practice you can do, is with a native Italian speaker. However as far as voice recognition technology goes, this course holds its own against popular competitors like Rosetta Stone

"With the 2016-2017 editions of Rocket Languages, they finally introduced voice recognition based on Google’s Web Speech API.

Previously, they were using very outdated technology for the speaking/voice recognition component of their courses which put competitors like Rosetta Stone light years ahead.

Now they’re using Google’s own technology for speech recognition which is superbly accurate and gives an immediate ‘grade’ as to how close your pronunciation is to the native Italian speaker.

I’ve personally never been a fan of technology teaching you how to pronounce words correctly (you improve through practice!) but this is still a very helpful feature for many people wanting to get their Italian pronunciation right."

Donovan Nagel  // Mezzoguild.com

Cons of Rocket Italian

Content can feel dull 

Some language courses make an effort to craft their content in a way that is engaging and even sometimes entertaining (think Duolingo). Rocket Italian isn't one of them. 

I wouldn't say the content in this course is outright boring. On the contrary, if you're passionate about learning Italian, it can be exciting. However after sticking with the course and working through the material for awhile, the method and format can feel a bit dull. 

You may find yourself wanting to take a brief break from the course before returning to it. 

What others say about Rocket Italian

"In my opinion, Rocket Italian could very well be the best value Italian language product on the market.

There is so much learning material packed in there. You're essentially getting three products for the price of one: The interactive audio course, the language and culture course, and all the testing tools and games.

The lessons are well structured and based on a tried and true mix of grammar, vocabulary, cultural insights and silly cartoons. The testing tools make sure you know the material inside and out, so you feel really confident when faced with a real Italian speaker. Gold star for you, Rocket Italian!"

Aletta Mazlin  // TheItalianExperiment.com

"Despite the slightly high-end cost of Rocket Italian, it offers an enormous amount of content and is a flexible learning tool. Best of all, you own what you pay for in being able to download the entire course for offline use.

The natural Italian dialogues they use and lesson comprehensiveness make it a strong market competitor.

While there are some minor issues that need improvement, overall I think it’s a quality course and good value for money for any serious learner of Italian."

Donovan Nagel  // Mezzoguild.com

Alternatives to Rocket Italian

Price

From $4+ per month

Time commitment

15+ minutes a day 

Summary:

Italianpod101 features audio lessons in a podcast format. Lessons are great for grammar and vocabulary. Each lesson is designed around a Italian conversation between native speakers, and the teachers do a great job of keeping things engaging. 

While it's not as structured as Rocket Italian it's still a substantial learning tool (it's also much cheaper too). The site features transcripts, an in-site flashcard system, and many other useful features.

Price

$150

Time commitment

30 minutes a day 

Summary:

Pimsleur is probably the second most popular language course behind Rosetta Stone. Pimsleur is entirely audio based and is specifically designed to develop your conversational skills.

They use a unique and effective question/recall/respond technique to get you on your feet in your new foreign language. With Pimsleur You'll learn a limited but functional vocabulary and have a good sense of pronunciation.

No other audio course prepares you for real life conversations like Pimsleur does. Unfortunately though, the course is scant on writing and reading resources. 

Price

$6+ per hour (varies between teachers)

Time commitment

30 minute or 1 hour lessons 

An intro video from one of Italki's Italian teachers. 

Summary:

Italki is an online market place that connects language learners with language teachers for one-on-one language classes via video or audio chat.

You can connect with language speakers from around the world and practice your speaking skills. There are 200+ Italian teachers and tutors on Italki. 

*with a purchase of $10 or more. After your first purchased lesson a credit of $10 will be added to your account

Conclusion

If you're a beginner or intermediate student who is serious about learning Italian, then Rocket Italian is certainly worth a look. The course is both comprehensive and effective, and it will help you learn the essential vocabulary and grammar you need to be proficient in the language. 

About the Author Chris J

I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!

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