16 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

Korean Textbooks for intermediate learners

Until the early 2000s, there weren’t much interest in learning Korean compared to other more popular Asian languages, such as Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. This is probably the reason why there aren’t that many textbooks/resource books for Intermediate Korean (and above) yet.

All textbooks have their weak and strong points, so I believe in using a few books at the same time. In that way, you can to see how different books explain the same grammar point and you can pick up new stuff that the other book misses etc.

The intermediate level is where you get exposed to the intricacies of the Korean grammar and learn the whole load of grammar constructions. Expanding your vocabulary is also important in this stage, but a good intermediate textbook should have detailed explanations of grammar points.

Integrated Korean Series: Intermediate/Advanced Intermediate

I’m in love with this series! What’s not to like? They have interesting dialogues, good grammar explanations, a sizeable of new vocabulary for each chapter (complete with meanings and sample sentences) etc. Good to use as a main textbook

(Available in NLB in SG)

College Korean Intermediate

I think I’ve talked about this in the Korean Resources Page. A great book for learning new grammar construction. The explanations are detailed and yet easy to follow.

(Available in Kinokuniya and NLB)

Practice of Korean Grammar

Blogged about it HERE. Treat it like a grammar dictionary and do not study new grammar constructions from this book. Just like how you won’t study new vocabulary by going through the dictionary. It’s a great book to revise and consolidate what you have learnt! They have a few language versions of the book. ^^

(Available in Kinokuniya in Chinese Section. Have to order it I think)

Using Korean: A guide to contemporary usage

Miho Choo, Hye-Young Kwak

korean (Available in NLB (reference only) and on Amazon)

I’ve been keeping this gem a secret for quite some time. (I’m kidding 😀 ) Meant to introduce this book for ages, but just didn’t get about doing it.  It’s not really a textbook; I’d rather call it a resource book and it helps to consolidate neatly what you have learnt. It seems to be able to read my mind and while reading it, it answered alot of questions that I’ve been puzzling over.

True to its title, it’s really about contemporary usage and this is what I love most about this book. The example sentences are not the formal ones that you see in most textbooks and it really reflects what Koreans would use in each situation. You get to pick up the colloquial way of speaking. An example of how colloquial is it?  Well, they teach you how to say ‘damn it’ in Korean 😀 I mean, which textbook does that? (I noticed they left out the crude, but frequently used ㅅㅂ) I’m not going to type it out in full!!!

This book will serve you well from the high intermediate stage all the way to the advanced level! They have a section devoted to particles, which is one of the difficult areas of Korean. After a huge chunk of writing, I don’t think I’ve even mentioned 10% of how good this book is. Go and take a look at it HERE and you will know what I mean (:

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mmm that’s it for now! I know all the korean resources recommendations/reviews are all over the place >,< Try to check out the Korean Resources page, the categories Korean studying tools, Korean textbook reviews or simply try the search box. I’ll try to consolidate them. I promise

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Taliya
    28 August, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    Hi Shanna씨, nice article. ㅎ ㅎ i got the ㅅ ㅂ part immediately.. lol.. is thatt good or bad.. >.<…

    I borrowed the Integrated Korean Series from NLB before. Found that it's pretty extensive but I couldn't finish it within that short 2 weeks ㅋ ㅋ. But I'm gonna give "College Korean Intermediate" a try =)

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 August, 2010 at 12:41 PM

      hahaha! vulgarities are part of a language too xD
      Yup college korean intermediate is good! I think they have a lower level one called college Korean too!

  • Reply
    lyrynne
    29 August, 2010 at 8:50 PM

    i’m quite interested in that book and i don’t think that i came across it in bookstores in korea.

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 August, 2010 at 12:41 PM

      It’s a good book! ^^ I haven’t seen in Korea before too

  • Reply
    Irene Low
    29 August, 2010 at 11:37 PM

    Hi Shanna
    Is this available in Singapore? How much is it? Looks good …

    Using Korean: A guide to contemporary usage

    Could you also mention if the rest are available in Singapore (ie bookstores or NLB) and $.

    Thanks

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 August, 2010 at 12:43 PM

      I don’t see it in bookstores. I think you have to order it from Amazon or sth. I’ll update the post on the availability of the books in SG

  • Reply
    Courtney
    30 August, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    Hi Shanna, thanks for the reviews/advice! I just ordered “Integrated Korean: Intermediate volumes 1 and 2” from University of Hawaii Press. It’s funny that apparently the publisher REALLY wants students to use the mp3 files by making the CDs ridiculously expensive; they’re $100 per book! (I wasn’t really going to spend $29 for a book and then $100 for the accompanying CD. I don’t think anybody would.) Hopefully I’ll have the books in a week or two. Can’t wait!

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      30 August, 2010 at 1:11 PM

      omg that’s a crazy price for the CD! Actually I didn’t use the mp3 files too xD
      Hope you get the books soon, they are really good!

  • Reply
    mium
    1 September, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    I actually received the ‘Using Korean’ text as Xmas gift 2 yrs ago. My galfriend said she bought it from the States for only about S$45, which imo is super worth it. It may not be the best grammar explanatory text but it’s about there and mine already looks like it’s 20 yrs old. Everyone should just get it!

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      1 September, 2010 at 10:48 PM

      wow that’s nice! i think they sell it even more expensive on amazon ): there’s so much content in the book, i barely covered a few chapters so far

  • Reply
    lyrynne
    2 September, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    shanna! my friend zara found it at their library!!!! it’s a really good book!!!!

  • Reply
    A.D. (채수)
    3 September, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Nice! I actually use the “guide to contemporary usage” as well. It’s borderline beginner and intermediate in my opinion, but it is worth it.

  • Reply
    My Korean Language Reasources « lyrynne's delight
    3 September, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    […] I was really thrilled that I actually found a copy of this. Check my friend, Hangukdrama’s review on this wonderful […]

  • Reply
    Courtney
    13 September, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    Hi Shanna,
    I received my “Integrated Korean Intermediate 1 and 2” textbooks last week. They’re really good! I love having the vocab list with usage examples in each chapter. And the grammar explanations are really good. I think KLEAR should make a grammar reference book because they’re explanations are so good. Anyway, thanks so much for the recommendation! (Yeah, I know what it’s like trying to fit Korean in to a busy schedule. I work full time, commute by car, and am married with a 6 year old son. Ah, there’s never enough time!)

  • Reply
    pork12
    16 October, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    I ALWAYS get excited seeing your posts on texts and references. The textbook from school is simply not enough! I got the “Practice of Korean Grammar” on your recommendation and…. I have to admit, I’m not very sure how I should use the book. Should I revise with it after I learn a new grammar every time or should I use it to learn the grammar. Gosh!

    • Reply
      hangukdrama
      16 October, 2010 at 8:15 PM

      For me, I used it as a revision for all the grammar structures that I learnt. I read the new ones that I haven’t come across yet, but I don’t rely on it exclusively to learn new grammar points. Or else will end up just memorizing ^^

      heh i’ll try to write more posts on references again~~

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