Rocket Italian — Lake Oswego, OR , United States
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I absolutely love Rocket Italian. I have tried Duo Lingo and Rosetta Stone and this is by far the most effective program I've used. This program is unique in that you hear new vocabulary and grammatical concepts in the context of a conversation and then delve in to the grammar after seeing it in context. Whoever wrote this really knew what they were doing because you will complete one lesson and then later in the lesson, or even a few lessons later, the grammatical concept will be fully laid out. This sense of "hey, I've heard that before" makes new grammar and vocab so much easier and more natural to learn. Seriously, it works. You do have to put a little work into memorizing the conversation in each lesson, but the "Practice this conversation" mode allows you to grade the task by slowly making it harder and harder by taking away words. Again, genius! My brain has been able to go back to draw on previously memorized conversation to help me remember conjugations, phrases, and grammar. I am in my mid-thirties and have a terrible memory (let's just say I make for a lousy trivia buddy), so it is shocking that I am having such success with my Italian. I love the multi-sensorial teaching style of Hear it/Write it/Know and I like that I can make flashcards to go back to challenging vocab from earlier lessons. Don't get me wrong, learning a language is never easy and happens slowly over time. But I have found that by studying little by little, I am actually able to retain so much. This was put to the test when I went to Italy last April. Given the fact that I had only completed the lessons from my Level I dashboard, I wasn't really expecting to do that great speaking to the locals. To my surprise, I was able to have full on conversations with people in Rome, Florence, and small villages in Umbria where English was not spoken. Several of the locals commented that my Italian was very good and that they could understand me well. It was one of the most satisfying things ever! I am now plugging through Level II and it's only getting easier and easier to learn the language, despite the more challenging content. I wholeheartedly recommend Rocket Italian. Just plug away at it 1-2 lessons a week and with time you will be impressed with what your brain can do.