Korean for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean
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(63 customer reviews)
Have you ever considered learning Korean, but been put off by the unusual look of the characters? Don't let yourself be scared away! Korean has been called "the most logical language there is," and with this friendly and thorough introduction you will soon see why.
As the more than 1 million Americans who speak Korean can attest, Korean is here to stay, and generations of young (and older) adults are determined to learn it. This book is for people who want a grasp of how to speak, write and understand Korean—and who want to enjoy things while they're at it!
Using a lighthearted, humorous approach, Korean for Beginners starts by showing you just how reasoned and logical the Korean alphabet, hangeul, actually is, and helps you master it faster than you learned the English alphabet. Realistic situations you might encounter in Korea in Korean-speaking environments are described, and new words are explained in terms of how you'll find them useful to communicate. Numerous illustrations enliven the text, and a CD-ROM bound into the jacket lets you listen and repeat phrases in the book. Soon you'll be able to say with pride, "I know Korean!"
- Amazon Sales Rank: #5439 in Books
- Published on:
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- Original language: English
- Number of items: 1
- Dimensions: 10.00" h x .47" w x 7.52" l, 1.04 pounds
- Binding: Paperback
- 176 pages
About the Author
Kyubyong Park works at a Korean publishing company that creates practice books for Koreans learning English.
Most helpful customer reviews
78 of 80 people found the following review helpful.
Most Engaging Korean Curriculum
Of all the language curricula I've encountered, this particular book is one of the few that hits the critical points for being truly engaging.
Firstly, it is authentic. There is little use of Roman characters. It teaches Korean in both spoken and written forms, not leaving one handicapped without necessary reading ability. (Avoid Chinese, Japanese, and Korean books that push ease of learning over the importance of literacy.)
Secondly, this book is thorough. It incorporates explanations for many pronunciation and grammar rules, filling voids of relating to the language's mechanics for the English speaker where possible. (Likely every language has inexplicable exceptions of course.) The author details solidly the Korean language's foundations needed to progress by carefully considering grammar and pronunciation from multiple angles and situations. Included are vocabulary lists by topic weaved into the bends and turns of each chapter too.
Thirdly, in a unique way, this book manages to be quite engaging purely as an enjoyable read while simultaneously avoiding the textbook-dry approach. There are culture tips, many jokes, and clever additions that will make you laugh. The author's style is decidedly friendly and down-to-earth, admitting that language acquisition is tough and a little humor to lighten the load only helps. Somehow he balances this without becoming flamboyant, distracting, or losing the book's focus.
Overall, had I to start learning Korean over again from the start, this would be my first resource. It's an excellent introduction to the language, and I only hope there will be more to come from these authors! Deserving of 5 stars.
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful.
Korean for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean
By Mary Ward
I considered Korean to be a language that I would find too difficult to learn, so I was a bit worried when I decided to tackle it. This book quickly dispels any preconceived notions of difficulty. In fact, the book draws you in and brings a sense of confidence as you progress through the chapters. It combines clarity and logic with a lighthearted "take" on the the Korean language. ("Lucky for you, almost all Korean words follow certain fundamental pronunciation rules.") In fact, as it integrates culture with language, the book stirs up a sense of excitement---yes, indeed I can do this!
73 of 83 people found the following review helpful.
Entertaining, but could have been more effective.
By N. Miller
I taught myself beginning and intermediate Korean (my proficiency now is high advanced), and if this book had been available when I started learning Korean, I don't think I would have used it. If you're an absolute beginner who is intimidated by the language, this book might be an interesting introduction, but I'm not convinced that it would help you communicate with confidence about even basic topics. The book teaches a lot about the language and culture, but it's lacking in practical content, and a bit superficial and slow-moving even for a beginning text.
The primary goal of this book appears to be familiarizing beginning learners with the pronunciation and demystifying the language and culture. It's definitely entertaining. The tone of the textbook is uniquely informal and enthusiastic--I've never seen a textbook author write with emoticons before--although it can be a bit chatty at times. There are many great cultural insights and some nice anecdotes, including funny and potentially embarrassing miscommunications.
The problem is in the way that the language is introduced. The back cover says that "new words are explained in terms of how you'll find them useful to communicate with new friends," but I didn't find that to be the case. The way vocabulary is introduced didn't seem at all intuitive to me--basic greetings aren't mentioned until almost halfway through the book. The text explains that the motivation for this design is that you become familiar with the building blocks of the language before you start learning conversational skills, but the problem with this approach is that you learn words and grammar points with no context to put them in, which makes them much harder to remember. Chapters 9 and on are better in this regard, but should have included more of the vocabulary and grammar that was introduced in previous chapters.
In my opinion, the greatest weakness of the book is that there are virtually no practice exercises. Yes, this book tries to be fun, and exercises are not very much fun. But without opportunities to practice, students will find it difficult to remember everything they've learned and apply it to practical conversation. A few reading comprehension passages, listening tasks, and roleplays would have gone a long way towards improving students' ability to have a conversation in basic Korean.
The enclosed disc is not bad. There are recordings of most of the sentences in the text, which is a nice touch. There are videos that show a Korean person's mouth as she pronounces various words, which is an interesting idea, but it might have been more helpful to include animated drawings of the inside of the mouth to show how consonants and vowels are articulated.
If you're looking for all-around competence in the language, I recommend that you go with a different text, such as Elementary Korean Second Edition. It's more expensive and demanding, but will ultimately offer you a better grasp of the language.