Evelyn Sears

Rocket Italian

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One of my favorite features of Rocket Italian is the fact that there are many opportunities to listen to and imitate native Italian speakers. Even though I've been learning Italian for approximately 1.5 years (I've completed all 5 of the Pimsleur Italian courses (the 5th was just released in May 2015)), I know that one can never underestimate opportunities to listen to the target language as it should be spoken. I also appreciate that Rocket provides ample opportunities to speak the language, and even provides feedback of pronunciation with the Rocket Record feature. Another feature that I really like about Rocket is the attention it gives to explaining grammatical and cultural aspects of the language. I've checked out a number of textbooks (and have even taken a formal course in Italian (with textbooks I absolutely detested)), and am impressed with how clearly and simply Rocket explains complex grammatical concepts.The areas of Rocket that I believe are weakest are opportunities for reading and writing the language. There are opportunities to read the conversation transcripts and the vocabulary exercises, but these are limited to short samples. So, in my opinion, Rocket is strongest on listening and speaking and, ideally, could use more development in reading and writing aspects of the courses. Having said that, I realize that developing more reading and writing exercises could escalate the costs, which may not be feasible from a business standpoint. I will admit that I occasionally am frustrated with Rocket Record, but I believe that the team is still refining this fairly new feature. I anticipate that this will improve over time. I was fortunate enough to buy my Rocket courses during a great sale, so I can't complain about the value I've gotten for my money. Even if I had paid full-price, however, the courses still would have been just 1/3 of what I paid for Pimsleur. Certainly a great value. This is not intended as a slam on Pimsleur, a company that does what it does very well. It is intended, rather, as a compliment to Rocket for developing, and continuing to develop and support a fine series of courses at a reasonable price.