This post was last updated September 2020.
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Rocket Languages review
Rocket Languages (Spanish, in particular) is a language resource that requires a bit more of a financial commitment than some of the other resources out there. So what do you get for that commitment? In this Rocket Languages review, I dive into what you get, what it means for language learners, and the kind of language learner that should be investing in Rocket Languages Spanish.
I’ll give you a spoiler, though: I really like Rocket Languages. You’re going to have to keep reading to find out why, and if you’ll love it, too!
Compared to a lot of language learning options out there, Rocket Languages doesn’t actually have a huge library of content. You can use Rocket Languages to learn:
- English from Spanish
- English from Japanese
For this Rocket Languages review, let’s test Rocket Languages Spanish.
Rocket Languages review: level 1
Rocket Languages has their material organized in 3 levels, and each of those levels has their own dashboard. Starting with the very first lesson in the very first dashboard, you’ll learn the very first phrases you’ll ever need: how to say ‘hello’.
First you’ll get an audio introducing you to everything, all in English (which makes sense, considering if you’re starting at level 1, you probably don’t understand much Spanish). It’ll introduce you to that first conversation.
Like, they spend over 5 minutes just with “¿Cómo estás? Bien, gracias”.
With this incredibly slow dialogue, you’ll also get some useful hints (in Spanish) mixed in to help you learn more efficiently; for example, they point out that when they ask you to repeat phrases, that means to repeat them OUT LOUD.
So, obviously, level 1 of Rocket Languages Spanish works great for somebody with zero experience of the language, or even the language family.
Plus, see those green and red circles with numbers? Use those to get an idea of which parts of the dialogue you need to work on and which ones you don’t!
In this first lesson, you get an incredibly simplistic conversation, and a ton of options for digesting said conversation:
- Play the conversation
- Play Mauricio’s side of the conversation (for you to role-play as Amy)
- Play Amy’s side of the conversation (for you to role-play as Mauricio)
- Play each individual piece of dialogue independently
- Record yourself saying each individual piece of dialogue independently
This offers fresh new beginners plenty of opportunities to learn the way that they need to learn. And if it’s too easy for you (which is totally understandable – this is at a snail’s pace), click the gear at the upper right-hand corner!
With these extra settings either checked or unchecked, you can give yourself more of a challenge by:
- Blurring the English translation (practice thinking in the language)
- Blurring the Spanish text (practice listening comprehension)
- Removing a word or character for a fill-in-the-blank
- Having Rocket Languages grade your recording
How’s the voice recognition? I always recommend taking voice recognition with a grain of salt, but in my personal, totally-based-on-anecdotes experience, it’s not bad!
Once you finish the role-playing section (ie. whenever you decide you want to move on), you have the “extra vocabulary” section – more related vocab that wasn’t in that conversation but is still helpful. This new info is presented to you in the same format as the original dialogue, and then in flashcard form.
And just like with the initial dialogue, you can mess with the settings to make your flashcards either easier or more difficult.
These flashcards are also self-reporting, which I love. It keeps track of what you’re learning kind of like Anki and LingoDeer do – literally just tell Rocket Languages how well you know the term! Then, once you’re through with those flashcards, you have the option to just study the more difficult ones again.
After flashcards, we practice listening comprehension and pronunciation (with the voice recognition, of course).
Once you’re done there, it’s time to move on to typing (writing). You get the Spanish audio clip and have to transcribe it in Spanish, complete with the buttons you need to use accents as necessary.
I especially love how they acknowledge the accents that are incredibly important – they even go on to explain that without the correct accents, you’re writing different words!
But, at the same time, whether or not you got it right is completely self-reporting. So technically you could just not make an effort to use the accents, but they did their due diligence to tell you. If you don’t have an accurate understanding of the language, that’s on you.
This is also a great approach compared to other apps who will ding you automatically if you accidentally forget a letter or something like that, and then require you to prove that you actually know what you’re talking about. Self-grading stuff like this gets a big thumbs-up from me!
Next up is “Know it!”, where you’re given the phrase in English and are expected to not only be able to recognize the Spanish translation, but you should probably also say it out loud.
Clicking the “Reveal” button shows you the Spanish translation and plays the audio in Spanish as well. Again, you’ll report for yourself how easy that was.
Then, with the final quiz, you’ll get a snippet of the original audio and get to fill in the blank. While it is multiple-choice, you do actually have to pay attention to what you’re doing.
While all of those answers could be correct in different contexts, a beginner Spanish learner obviously isn’t going to know that. Plus, they’re similar enough that they can’t just vaguely select the one that starts with an ‘e’ – you have to actually pay attention to what these words look like (or don’t look like).
And if you get it wrong?
No worries! They’ll show you why it’s wrong. In my humble opinion, I think this is an amazing way to not only learn from your mistakes but also passively get more familiar with the patterns of a new language!
Looking on the left-hand side of your dashboard, all these lessons are filed under “Interactive Audio Lessons”. But what happens when you go to that next section, “Language & Culture Lessons”?
You’ll get a whole lot of great information on just that. For example, check out this tutorial on the difference between the Spanish “b” and “v”:
I will be completely frank with you: I’m absolutely blown away by the detail in these beginner lessons. Explaining the alphabet like this? It’s super important, but you don’t see other beginner products like Duolingo or Mondly doing stuff like that.
Okay, so we’ve gone in-depth with level 1 and we see how this thing operates, but just how far does it get us? Let’s jump down to level 3 and see just how “advanced” this gets.
Well…pretty advanced, actually!
This isn’t beginner stuff, folks! Not only is the vocabulary and the grammar much more advanced than I thought it was going to be, but the listening practice? That’s legit, too!
Keep in mind, I’ve lived in Spain before. I have dealt with native Spanish speakers plenty, and my listening skills have definitely had to rise up to the challenge. So when I say that Rocket Language’s level 3 audio recordings are at a native speed…believe me.
There’s nothing slow about it. It’s just a dude speaking Spanish. No pauses, no slowing down, just talking.
What’s more is that this audio does not come with any sort of English translations. The introductory audio is a mixture of both English and Spanish, but the Spanish audio isn’t translated, neither through audio nor with text. So basically, if you get to level 3, you need to have a pretty solid level of Spanish comprehension.
My only one (1) complain? Their voices are cheesy as hell. It kind of bothers me. I’m not in 4th grade for storytime, I’m a grown-ass adult trying to learn Spanish. But hey, that’s likely a pretty minor problem for you!
Nonetheless, the stuff they’re saying is legit. Take this gem, for example:
I mean, it’s true. If conversing fluently is your goal, you don’t have to be too concerned over grammar. Which is probably why they don’t formally address grammar at all. It’s nodded at in contextual examples, but that’s about it.
Nonetheless, I don’t see you ever running out of conversational practices. Once you’re done with all 3 levels, you can click on to “Travelogues” for hella practice.
Like, 20-30 minutes of advanced conversation. One just Spanish conversation with Spanish subtitles, and one just English version, in case you really need some help.
Talk about practice!
Rocket Languages review: pricing
All that being said, using Rocket Languages Spanish will cost you a pretty penny, I won’t lie.
Now there are a couple of caveats here. For one, Rocket Languages does offer you 60 days to get a refund, no questions asked.
If you don’t even want to commit that money to begin with just yet, though, Rocket Languages also has probably the best version of a “free trial” I think I’ve ever seen.
The first free lessons, at every level, are available to you forever. No obligation, no nothing. Which is huge!
I mean, you have the Pimsleur version of a free trial where you get just the free lesson, and you have the 3 days that you get with Rosetta Stone. Whatever you think of those policies is up to you, I just think this is an AMAZING trial run!
Who is Rocket Languages for?
At the end of the day, no language learning product will work for everyone, so who should be considering it?
Well, like I’ve said, this is a great way to go from ultimate square 1 beginner to pretty advanced, so language learners of all levels are good here; if you’re not a beginner anymore, you can save yourself some money by not investing in level 1.
However great this product is with conversational fluency, writing, and comprehension, it doesn’t do everything.
For example, grammar. Depending on your goals, you may need to have a very clear understanding of grammar rules, and you’re just not going to get that here. You get enough to be able to contribute to conversations, but if you want to take an upper-level fluency exam? Sorry, kid, you’ll need to go elsewhere.
That being said, if you want to be able to easily understand and express yourself in Spanish, this is a great program. I’m a huge fan, personally. With this depth and range of skills….Rocket Languages might just cover you and your goals! If that sounds like you, click here to try Rocket Languages!