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[Korean Textbook Review] Easy Korean for Foreigners 4

Finallyyy! Have been receiving requests for a review on the Easy Korean series and I finally managed to get my hands on one. As usual, if you don’t want to read my ramblings, scroll down for a summary!

The Easy Korean series spans from Book 1 to 4, with corresponding workbooks. I knew of this series a long time back. But to be honest, I didn’t pick it up because I found the title a little annoying (who says language learning is “easy”?) and the fonts/pictures childish. hahaha okay I judge textbooks based on their visuals too. But I’m pleasantly surprised when I started to look at it in detail!


I quite like it that the book is very structured, but as you read on, the chapters get progressively longer with more sections etc. I find that pretty good as it prevents the book from getting too boring and you can visually see that the chapters at the back are more challenging. (so you feel that you are progressing) Each chapter typically consists of:

  1. opening dialogue
  2. glossary
  3. grammar section where each grammar point is introduced by a short dialogue, and exercises
  4. “Jumping Page” that consists of further reading practice (covers pretty interesting topics)

Personally I find the font of the dialogue too big and annoying. It gives the impression that the dialogue is TOO easy and short (for a level 4 book)  but in actual fact, it’s pretty decent. This book actually has explanations in English / Chinese / Japanese. Pretty good for people who like to remember / link certain words to meanings in different languages. Personally, I like to remember Sino-Korean words using Chinese, and some others in English. For someone who is also learning Japanese at the same time, having the Japanese equivalents in the glossary list is pretty sweet!


Compared to level 4 of other textbook series (like Ewha / Yonsei), the Easy Korean 4 is indeed… easier. In terms of the grammar structures covered, I would think it’s a little easier compared to Ewha Korean 4, although they do cover overlapping grammar points. This book covers: indirect quotation (eg. ~라고 한다), ~에 비해서, ~잖아요,~자고 하다,~느라고, ~뿐만 아니라, ~달라고, ~ㄹ건가요, ~던, ~던데, ~ㄹ겁니다, ~고요, ㄹ수록, ~대요/래요, ~더니, ㄴ대로, ㄹ까 봐, ~ㄹ 듯이 etc. hahaha sorry I lazy to type out everything. Just naming a few to give you some idea if you want to switch textbook series!


Generally I find the book to be pretty good. However, it may not be that suitable for self-learners because of the large number of exercises in the book. I’m not sure of your learning style, but I simply ignore most exercises in textbooks, except those cloze passages or matching questions. But I do like that the exercises are wide-ranging, and some are doable for self learners.

The grammar explanations are all at the back of the book, which I can’t decide whether I like it or not. On one hand, it’s really good to have everything compiled in one section for easy reference, but on the other hand I don’t particularly like to flip back and forth while working through a chapter. No big deal though ^^ I do like it that they have 3 separate sections, with explanations in English, Chinese and Japanese respectively! The explanations are detailed and they do have an ample number of example sentences. So plus point here!

One thing I really like about this is that the book covers onomatopoeic words in the back chapters! I started learning them wayyyy too late into the game, so I think it’s a nice touch that they are introducing them early. Pretty nice that they have a picture depicting each sound word, and it makes it easier to remember them. Seriously, some of these words don’t really make sense to me. Like how is 끄덕끄덕(하다) in anyway connected to nodding your head? I remember I used to hate learning these words, but now I’m getting more familiar with them.


What I like:

  • engaging dialogues / reading practices 
  • clear grammar explanations
  • well structured
  • good quality paper (this is important!)
  • comprehensive, covers good ground
  • different font types used – good to get used to several font types!

What can be improved:

  • change the font size for the dialogue section

I’m quite happy with the book in general. Will love to see them continue to level 5 and 6 though!

ISBN: 978-89-5518-729-8

Price: 18,000won (CD included)

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  • Reply
    24 March, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Nice review on this book 😀 Is this something you can only purchase in Korea, or online though? I totally agree with you on the font size thing!! That makes me feel the same way! it’s when I read a book with huge font *face palm* haha.

    I was wondering if you do a blog post something about Korean handwriting!! That bothers me to no end when I see a person’s handwriting and have no idea what they wrote ㅠㅠ like how are we supposed to read it and how do make our handwriting more like native Koreans? I think many of us still write like what we see on the computer or phone? Maybe you have done this kind of post already? if not, I would like to hear your opinions about it 😀

    • Reply
      25 March, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      you can purchase them easily online! Ya I just feel a little turned off by hugh fonts. It just gives the impression that it’s “easy”. I totally hate reading novels with large font prints too – i feel like i’m reading a kids story :/

      hehe that’s an interesting idea! Will think about it and see what I have to say about it!

  • Reply
    25 March, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    Thanks for the review ^^ I don’t think I will buy this book because it’s a bit too childish for my liking and I don’t really like the layout and exercises.

    If possible, could you review any of the books from the Active Korean?

    • Reply
      25 March, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      haha it’s actually pretty good if you take a closer look (: Not sure yet, I need to get my hands on it somehow first!

  • Reply
    25 March, 2013 at 4:03 AM

    Aaaw, I found this quite interesting book.

    Here you can find review of first book lesson 1:
    And texbook 1:

    I just found Active Korean 1 book and I think it is also good, but it is somewhat easy after end of book one (unit 9). Not sure if that is good thing? There is only 4 books.

    • Reply
      25 March, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      ahh cool! 😀 Thanks for sharing 😀

  • Reply
    Philipp Grunwald
    25 March, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    I wonder why do you think that onomatopoeic words are so important to learn?

    That the authors provide Japanese and Chinese translation already puts them in another league, i.e. shows that they put some thought and effort into their book! 🙂
    And see it that way: While the grammar isn’t explained in every chapter, this is a good compromise between it being all over the place (chaos – how do you review quickly?) and the inflexibility of having it all the end of the book or even in a separate book (as Sogang does). Additionally it allows teaching (or self-study) that only covers one or two sections per class period from the get-go. As such I find it rather smart.

    Why are exercises bad for self-study? Is there no solution key? I think exercises are crucial, the only problem is that most often those exercises are badly made and thus boring. (Which means that in the end you’ll also not have memorized much.)

    Lastly: The font-size may be so big in consideration to the reader! It stresses me out enormously if the font-size is too small, as a Non-Asian language learner I have more problems with tiny characters than maybe you or Japanese people might have. (Don’t know, just a guess.)

    • Reply
      25 March, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      onomatopoeic words are really common in Korean fiction novels and I realized that I have problems reading them because I lack the vocabulary. These words aren’t usually included in textbooks so I’m pretty impressed that they have been included in this book.

      yeah it’s true that grammar points consolidated at the back will be pretty good too! Has its plus points!

      mm I’m thinking more of those group exercises or those “pretend to write an email to your friend about xxx” kind. Most classes I know don’t really use those exercises, and self learners have less use for them. Personally I like exercises, but more of the cloze passage kind 😀 I don’t think they include solution key for this one.

      haha i’m pretty ok with big fonts for level 1 -2 but I feel that once you reach a certain standard, font size should be smaller

  • Reply
    25 March, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Thanks for the review Shanna! I think I may add this one to my growing textbook collection. ^^

    • Reply
      25 March, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    25 March, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Thanks for the review, Shanna ^^ I have heard of this book before, but like you, I did not like the title “Easy” and the book layout seems a little bit childish. The grammar points are also too easy. Anyway, each textbook has their advantages and bad advantages. Someday I will try to take a closer look at this book to make use of some knowledge, especially the onomatopoeic words. I am looking for the level 5 and 6 of this series. ^^

    • Reply
      25 March, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      thanks for reading ^^ it’s pretty good in certain aspects

  • Reply
    26 March, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Hey there, I came across this trying to find sources for self-learning Korean. I’ve been through a year of Japanese and for some reason, I am finding this language to be much harder! I am anxious to learn, though, as I’ve recently visited South Korea and had quite a hard time talking to people. I’m pretty sure I’m going to pick up this textbook, but I was wondering if a chart of the alphabet was on the inside cover or something? I figured I can’t dive into this without learning that first! Thanks!

    • Reply
      26 March, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      ^Same here, I have been self-learning Japanese for years and I also find Korean much harder. But finally after year or so I think I can finally start learning Korean seriously.

      Btw, after checking my bookself I found New GANADA Korean that I never liked. I bought it year ago. But NOW really think that it’s actually really good book. One think I hate is that all listenigs are so sloow..

      One thing I hate about Korean textbook is that there is never compelete list of vocabulay in lesson. Maybe that’s not big problem anymore, because of good dictionares that I can use with my phone. But especially in NGK there is listening practice in every lesson that have new non-index vocabulary. >_<

      It seem that Easy Korean have vocabulary list and there is also Japanese translations. ^^ Now I really want this book 😀

      • Reply
        26 March, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        I find Japanese a lot harder xD I guess that really depends on which language we start from! 😛 I haven’t seen GANADA Korean, will love to check it out too!

        hehe get this! ^^

    • Reply
      26 March, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      Hi Steph! Mm this is the 4th book in the series, so it won’t have the hangeul chart, but likely that book 1 in the series will have it!

      • Reply
        2 April, 2013 at 2:10 AM

        Oops! How did I not catch that? I will definitely look into Volume 1 then. Thanks!

  • Reply
    22 August, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    I would like to know if this book has a workbook too? If yes, is it also good and suitable for self-learners?

  • Reply
    30 August, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    Hi! 🙂 I’m from Singapore too! Can I find out where you get your textbooks from? Which shop/website? 🙂
    Anyway, have a good time in Korea! 🙂

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