[Review] 서강 한국어 5A Sogang Korean textbook 5A

26 October, 2017

NOTE: This post was amended on 27/10/2017 as I have found my 5A Study Guide that comes with the textbook. Have reviewed it separately HERE.

Literally long-awaited review 😛 I’ve been sitting on textbook reviews for way too long! Thanks for still checking out the blog and I hope that the past reviews over the years have been somewhat helpful to the Korean learners out there.

Honestly, I didn’t have a very good impression of the old versions of Sogang textbooks. I remembered flipping through my friend’s beginner textbook back in 2011 or so and thought that it was focused on classroom activities and hence didn’t seem like it would be very helpful to self-learners. Sogang classes are famous for their focus on conversational skills, so it’s logical that their books are written for classroom usage. Not that it’s not a good textbook, but I thought that self-learners may not get the most out of it.

However, when I came across the Sogang Writing series, I was soooo impressed and that really elevated my expectation on how their new textbook series would fare. I’m not that familiar with the new Sogang series, I’m guessing that they split the books, so this one is for 읽기 (reading) and 말하기 (speaking).

I haven’t seen the rest of the levels too, so I’m basing this review on the copy of the Sogang 5A textbook I have on hand (the review for Sogang 5A workbook will come separately). As usual, scroll down for a quick summary of the review if you don’t want to read through all my long-winded thoughts 😛

Structure

Book 5A consists of 8 chapters and it follows a very clear structure of :

  • 읽기 1 [Reading 1] – short passage + exercises/activities
  • 말하기 1 [Speaking 1]
  • 읽기 2 – long passage + exercises/activities
  • 말하기 2
  • 문법 [Grammar]
  • 발음 [Pronunciation]

The themes are well-designed and can help you better understand Korea / Korean culture. The use of graphics and photos make things more interesting and the book is quite easy to navigate.

Long reading passages

I actually love the book most for its two reading passages, with 읽기 2 being the longer one. An MP3 file is also available for 읽기2, so that serves as a listening practice. Personally I would do  the following:

  1. Listen first and see how much you can understand
  2. Listen again (if need be)
  3. Read and listen at the same time (to catch up on the parts you missed)
  4. Read the passage and look up the new words
  5. Read and listen at the same time (focusing on the intonation, pronunciation, flow, pauses)
  6. Read out aloud (and record yourself) [extra] and see how you fare and which parts are bumpy. Can even go back to the mp3 file again to listen

Other thoughts

I noticed that the book is not very consistent on which parts of the chapter an MP3 file is provided. So even though the structure is the same throughout all chapters, there could be between 2-5 MP3 files for each chapter.

While the book is still quite designed for classroom usage (activities / open-ended questions), there are still a couple of exercises that are suitable for self-learners too.

Overall

I find the book quite decent. I don’t love it, yet I don’t have particularly strong opinions against it too. For a reading / speaking book, I thought it was ok. For self-learners, the reading part will be more useful. It would seem to me that the speaking portion would be better in classroom usage so I can’t say too much about it too. But even then, I think I can find better speaking books for self-learners. Here’s one I really likeThe study guide (reviewed separately) is quite good though, which added quite a number of bonus points in my opinion. 

mmmm overall I feel that the Sogang Writing series was more impressive.

For those who have used this series, please share your opinions so that we can all benefit!

What I like:

  • Well-structured, good use of graphics / photos to make the book more interesting
  • Great reading passages
  • The long reading passages come with an MP3 file, good for listening practice
  • A couple of exercises suitable for self-learners too

What can be improved on:

  • Rather activity-focused, may not be that helpful for self-learners
  • Every chapter has a glossary categorised by word type (noun, verb etc), doesn’t value add much

You can purchase this book on TwoChois.com.

Now that the year is coming to an end, time to hit the books! hahahaha

Thanks TwoChois for sending this over! 🙂

NOTE: This post was amended on 27/10/2017 as I have found my 5A Study Guide that comes with the textbook. Have reviewed it separately HERE.

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