The Korean language is unique in that it is considered by many to be a language isolate. This means that it is a natural language that has little to no association with another language. If you are considering learning Korean, you might be wondering the best way to do so.
Short of total immersion, you will find a handful of online language-learning programs promising to teach you how to be fluent in Korean. Do they live up to their own hype? In this article, we will review Rocket Korean, a part of the award-winning Rocket Languages group.
If you’re looking for the free trial of Rocket Korean, click here.
What is Rocket Korean?
Note: The Rocket Korean program received some major updates in 2021 Edition. We’ve updated our Rocket Korean review below to reflect the changes.
Unlike other Rocket Languages courses, Rocket Korean only offers a beginners course. The course is comprised of seven interactive audio modules and an additional module called the “Survival Kit,” which offers quick lessons ideal for travel and other specific situations.
You will also find seven modules under Language and Culture that covers pronunciation of letters, levels of formality and days of the week. There are seven modules under Writing Lessons, which includes an introduction to Hangeul. A few other offerings include:
- reinforcement activities
- member forum
- progress tracking and leaderboard
- voice-recognition for pronunciation practice
- flash cards
- mobile app for on-the-go learning
Rocket Korean Review: Overview
Name: Rocket Korean
Price: One-time payment of $149.95 for lifetime access to Level 1 — Beginner to Intermediate. There are often coupons that can be applied for up to $50 off this price.
There is now the option to break down the cost of Rocket Korean into six monthly payments for added convenience.
Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Application Category: Language Learning Program
What We Like About Rocket Korean
New, Simplified User Interface
We love the updates Rocket Languages made to its platform. In the past, users were a bit confused on where to begin lessons. Now, the dashboard is clearly labeled and numbered, so you can easily start or pick up where you left off.
We are a bit on the competitive side, so we love the idea of the leaderboard. Comparing your progress to that of other users is one way to keep motivated to use the program each day. Motivation will help you achieve your goal of learning to speak Korean.
Each lesson is jam-packed with information. You can even check in the new Survival Kit for quick, easy-to-pick-up phrases if you are planning to travel soon. The cultural lessons offer additional insight into the language.
What We Don’t Like About Rocket Korean
You can only go so far with Rocket Korean’s course. If you are striving for fluency, you will need to find an additional program once you’ve finished this course. This can be a huge inconvenience because you will need to learn different platforms and learning styles. You may also have difficulty choosing what level to start at with a new program.
Though we love the idea of interactive user forums for questions and answers among users, we found that most are empty. Users simply aren’t using the forums very often making it difficult to connect with other Korean students.
What are the Lessons Like?
The 20- to 40-minute lessons consist of mostly audio with transcripts to follow along. You are prompted to repeat what you hear, and voice recognition helps you do it correctly. The audio lessons cover situations from introducing yourself to figuring out the time to feeling homesick.
At the end of the lessons, there is a section called “Play It!” in which you can play, or speak, the part of one of the instructors for additional practice. The instructors do a great job explaining grammar as each lesson progresses.
Some users have noted that they appreciate the fact that the instructors do not waste time engaging in eye-rolling jokes on the audio lessons. On the flip side, the lessons can feel very dry in comparison to other programs.
Rocket Korean vs. Competitors
Rocket Korean vs. Pimsleur Korean
Pimsleur Korean offers a premium monthly subscription for $19.95. Like Rocket, it includes mostly audio lessons, but you can also find quizzes and flashcards for visualization. Up to three household members can use the account on different devices. It also offers some reading lessons in addition to audio.
Rocket Korean vs. KoreanClass101
KoreanClass101 is a member of Innovative Languages’ Pod101 courses. It has three monthly subscription levels based upon how much access and learning features you want. It claims to be one of the fastest and most fun ways to become fluent in Korean. Lessons are comprehensive and include both video and audio along with transcripts. Expertise levels range from absolute beginner to advanced speaker.
Rocket Korean vs. Duolingo Korean
Duolingo Korean is a game-like application designed to make learning to speak the language fun. You will find a variety of exercises including fill in the blank, multiple choice and arranging words in order. Understanding the most basic aspects of Korean is a good idea before starting Duolingo, as there are few to no grammar explanations.
Is Rocket Korean Worth the Money?
All in all, the price is very affordable for a serious student. There is plenty of content for the absolute beginner to get started in Korean. For a comparable program, you will have to fork over a monthly subscription fee. We’re a big fan of the one-time or six-month payment plan fees with Rocket Languages.
Rocket Korean Review Summary
We want to love Rocket Korean like we do other Rocket Languages, but our big complaint is the lack of intermediate to advanced lessons. For the price, you do get a good quantity of information you can access for a lifetime, but you are limited in how far you can progress in Korean.
In order to become fluent, you will need to find an additional course. This can be a huge inconvenience financially as well as academically when you consider various learning methods between programs. Still, if you only need a basic introduction to the language and a few phrases, Rocket Korean will suffice.