21 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

[Korean Textbook Review] Hello Korean~ 안녕하세요 한국어 1

First impressions:

  1. This is a very pretty and well designed book
  2. o.O Must have been written by a linguist (I was right)
  3. Lee Junki!!!

You guys always tell me that I don’t cater much to the very beginners, so I decided to be a good blogger and borrowed this book!

이준기와 한께하는 안녕하세요 한국어 1

Perhaps this book is most famous for having all its audio files recorded by the awesome Lee Junki, but that’s not the only good point of the book. The usual rules apply. If you are lazy to read through my review, scroll down for a summary! Let’s go~!

The influence and mindset of a linguist is so obvious in the book. ><;; Here’s why!

(1) There is a vowel chart that show you where the basic vowels ‘are located’ in the mouth cavity: with ㅣ being a high front vowel and ㅡ being a back vowel and so on. SO LINGUISTICKY.

Okay this is the more sophisticated one ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

(2) They actually have photos on the mouth shape when producing each vowel. The book loves to use words like ‘vocalise’ and in the explanations of the sound changes rules, they use phrases like ‘nasalization of an obstruent’. Obviously I know what they are talking about (do i really??!!), but it may be slightly off-putting for the non-initiated , the non-linguistic student and the new language learner.

It’s not a bad thing though. Take it as gaining extra knowledge while learning a new language? ^^

However, the phrasing tends to be too technical in the front part and that might put people off the language. Korean is not that hard. Trust me. Trust your ears. And not care that much about the exact instructions such as ‘make the gap between your lips half an inch and vocalize’ ^^;;;

(3) The true mark of a linguist. Instead of using the romanisation system that most of us will be more familiar and comfortable with, they opted for the IPA alphabet. o.O For those who have never learn a language before, phonetics sucks. I myself suck at it real bad.

살아요 is pronounced as 사라요 and is romanized (or in this case TRANSCRIBED) as sarajo. LIKE OMG. People who don’t know any better will probably be like reading it as if it’s English. ^^;;

IPA is super accurate, but if you are looking at your target audience, maybe not such a wise choice.

ㅎㅎㅎ See, this is how linguists design textbooks.

But I do love that they introduce the long sound in Korean right from the start. For example, 오리 is [o:ri], with the 오: sound being longer. But they should have explained what : means. Not everyone will know!! This page is not that bad, none of that horrifying IPA. Aren’t the pictures cute??

sidetrack, but I only know about the long vowel like.. 2 years into learning Korean. FAIL.

If you managed to be not freaked out by the introduction of the alphabet, pronunciation rules part and go on to the main textbook area, the book is actually pretty conducive for self studying!

Structured in the way any decent language textbook should be, it introduces cultural tidbits and insert them in appropriate areas, making learning easy and fun.

Grammar points are explained in an easy to understand manner.

The best of the book has to be that it looks so pretty. Hey, pretty textbooks are a motivation to study harder!

So pretty!

This book is very suitable for self learners 😀 Exercises are fun and relevant to do and there are ANSWERS and English translations of listening passages. Heh, there, I answered your question.

I love that they have a section on particles (조사) right at the back, to summarize everything neatly and it is easy for learners to refer to. Particles are probably one of the hardest part of Korean and this section makes things a lot easier for the self learner!

I don’t think that you will get bored of the book~!

Complement it with TalktomeinKorean lessons and I think that you will progress well!

Good Points

  • well designed, good paper quality
  • absolutely pretty pictures and engaging
  • well explained grammar points and relevant exercises
  • recommended for self learners
  • super comprehensive and learner-oriented
  • Lee Junki’s voice 😀
To be improved
  • less linguistic terminology and more layman terms should be used
  • get rid of the IPA, or complement it with the normal romanization system
  • personally not a fan of the font (being picky)
The book is available in the English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean edition!
23,000 won
ISBN 978-89-94011-15-8
Authors: Ji Young Park and So Young Yoo
Verdict: Recommended



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  • Reply
    Silent Reader (Dusky)
    7 November, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Aw, thank you so much for reviewing a textbook for us very beginners! It looks like a good book to start with. This book really does look pretty. It’s amazing how a pretty book can help motive a person to use it (not to mention Lee Junki. I need to watch one of his dramas now). XD

    • Reply
      7 November, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      Hi Dusky!

      Have you seen Lee Junki in King and The Clown? It’s an awesome movie!! ^^

      • Reply
        Silent Reader (Dusky)
        8 November, 2012 at 12:31 AM

        No, I haven’t. I have a hard time finding Korean movies. Dramas are so much easier to find. I will look into it! 🙂

  • Reply
    7 November, 2012 at 2:02 AM

    Wow, I am really impressed 🙂 Seems that there are lots of good textbooks for Korean learners in the world. But it is such a disaster to find anything for learning Korean in my country. But, thanks God, it is possible to buy everything on the Internet! 🙂
    What a great review, Shanna! 🙂 I enjoyed reading it very much!

    Have a nice day! 🙂

    • Reply
      7 November, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      Thanks Alex! ^^ There are many good ones, but also a lot more horrible ones XD

      • Reply
        8 November, 2012 at 1:40 AM

        Haha 😀 Just have to be careful 🙂 Dangerous 😀

  • Reply
    7 November, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    다 이해할순 없지만 잘 읽었습니다. 좋은 포스팅 해 줘서 고마워요.

    • Reply
      7 November, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!

  • Reply
    7 November, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Do you have any recommends of books/textbooks for those who are between the beginner and intermediate level?

    • Reply
      7 November, 2012 at 11:10 PM

      mmm try the ewha series and get the korean grammar for international learners book. I’ve reviewed both in my blog. you can search for the entries

  • Reply
    9 November, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    is this Korean textbook available in singapore / buy online?

    • Reply
      18 November, 2012 at 4:13 PM

      available in kino i think

  • Reply
    18 November, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    If anyone is interested in getting this book for themselves, I bought it from http://www.hanbooks.com/ after reading Shanna’s review. It has just arrived today so I haven’t really read any of it yet, but I trust that it is everything Shanna says it is. Now I’m looking forward to sticking my nose in the book and doing some studying~!

    감사합니다 ^_^

    • Reply
      18 November, 2012 at 4:13 PM

      Hope you will enjoy studying from the book!! ^^

    • Reply
      20 November, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      I’m always excited when new books arrive! 😀 Hope you will enjoy studying from the book!! 😀

  • Reply
    18 December, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Hey Shanna, by any chance you came across “Korean Grammar Practice for Foreigners” & “Korean Vocabulary Practice for Foreigners” – published by Yonsei?
    I chanced upon them in a bookstore today (its published in 2011).

    Flipped through; looks pretty decent. ^^”

    • Reply
      19 December, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      ahhh!! I have flipped through it, looks good! Didn’t have a chance to really take a closer look though ㅠㅠ

      • Reply
        12 January, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        Hello ^^ I got the Intermediate grammar book recently. I think its not too bad for someone who wants to have a quick revision on the grammars – fairly organised/well structured, with clear explanation of the grammar points (although i do think they can work on this a little bit more;;).

        AND. all the best for TOPIK! ^^

  • Reply
    18 July, 2013 at 4:39 AM

    Hi, I have been using the books put out by Talk to me in Korean…I have books 1-4 but I have only studied up through half of book 2 so far. I love them, but I was thinking of buying both Hello Korean books 1and 2 for additional learning and reinforcement. Since they are expensive though, I’m not sure if they would be worth it since I am already using the Talk to me in Korean books. Any thoughts on this?

    It looks like Hello Korean starts out with the formal language where TTMIK starts out with the polite language so I don’t know if that would be confusing for me or not.

    Also, does anyone know who has the best price for the hello Korean books? I saw them on kpoptown for about $22 each which is great, but the shipping to the US is an additional $25 for both books combined, so they still end up costing almost $70!!

    • Reply
      19 July, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      If you already have up to Level 4 for TTMIK, Hello Korean may be too easy for you!

  • Reply
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