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:
- opening dialogue
- grammar section where each grammar point is introduced by a short dialogue, and exercises
- “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!
Price: 18,000won (CD included)