Brian White

Rocket Spanish Fairfax , United States

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Rocket Spanish is well organized and fairly easy to use. I definitely like the experience and the process. HOWEVER - They are very wishy-washy with the meanings of phrases. In an effort to teach you different phrases to say the same thing, the designers forget that words have meaning. For example, early in the lessons you discuss someone's job. They tell you that the question, "What do you do?" can be asked ?Que haces?, which is correct. Unfortunately, they also tell you that you can say, ?En que trabajas?, which is not correct. That phrase means, "What is your work?". It may sound like I'm knit-picking, bc in the context of the conversation, either phrase will do, but it is confusing when I don't know what you are asking for. In the testing, it asks me to say in Spanish "What do you you?", but it says that I was incorrect bc I responded ?Que haces?. - WHICH IS CORRECT!! The designer of the course wanted me to say ?En que trabajas?. The student isn't a mind reader, and when he/she tries to apply the words learned, it is easy to get confused. Again, words have meaning. It is lazy to say that it is "close enough", when it is in-fact no where near what you are trying to say. This is just one example of a very lazy, "close enough" approach to learning. I understand getting close when the direct translation doesn't make sense in english. This is not the case with several exercises. The two phrases I am talking about are completely different and have very direct english translations. They just happen to ask a similar question in this context. ?que haces? also means, "What are you doing?" - Should I assume that ?En que trabajas? would also mean something similar? Obviously not. But it is only obvious because I know ahead of time that trabajar means "to work". I am trying to learn the language, not simply have a passable conversation. If the test wanted me to answer "?En que trabajas?", then it should have asked me "What is your work?" or even "What is your job?" as this would be an acceptable "close enough" to what was being asked.
I like the Rocket learning program, as it has great potential, but I don't like being told that a phrase means something that it obviously does not. It makes me wonder what else I'm being told is incorrect.