I’ve been raving about Ewha Korean textbook series (이화 한국어) ever since I got my hands on them a few years back and this is the series I recommend to all Korean learners – whether at the beginner, intermediate or advanced stage. With the study guides for levels 1-1 and 1-2 published, it is definitely a great series for self-learners who need that extra guidance.
I’ve reviewed the series several times (see below for links) but today I’ll like to do a detailed one on the level 1-1 textbook and workbook.
[KOREAN TEXTBOOK REVIEW] EWHA KOREAN LEVEL 1 & 2 이화 한국어 (short review)
As usual, skip to the end of the post for a succinct summary!
Detailed introduction of Hangeul
Some textbooks just have a cursory introduction over a few pages, so I’m particularly glad that this book has a chapter devoted to Hangeul.
The study guide goes one step further by introducing the mouth shapes and pronunciation tips for each vowel, with longer explanations for the basic sentence structure of Korean.
It’s easy to work on the chapter with the extra help from the guide.
Unlike other textbooks that is a single book for level 1, Ewha chooses to split it into 1-1 and 1-2. While perhaps more expensive overall, I quite like that they don’t overwhelm the learner, choosing to take things slightly slower.
Content covered in 1-1: 은/는 (subject markers), 이/가 (topic markers), 을/를, formal ending 습니다/습니까, demonstrative pronouns, directions, time etc.
Pretty comprehensive I would say.
Choosing to focus on grammar structures first allows learners to grasp the concepts before looking further at how they are used in a dialogue. The explanations in the textbook are rather skimpy, so that’s where the study guide comes in handy.
For the self learner, it might be daunting to see that romanisation is not used in the book but I thought it’s great that the book forces you to be familiar with Hangeul.
Great graphics, fun for the self learner too
Visuals, while not affecting the content directly, is a huge determinant of how good a textbook is. Nobody likes a dry textbook with lengthy texts, we are all attracted to fun and colourful visuals. In that aspect, Ewha textbooks did a great job. The visuals are also there to reinforce concepts and would help you remember words easier too!
Good link with workbook exercises
Workbook exercises are well-designed, and gives you the impression that you are applying what you have learnt – which is great. There’s a mixture of exercise types – fill in the blanks, linking words, circling the right options etc. Good reinforcement of concepts learnt without being too boring. Answers provided.
Only disadvantage? Workbook instructions are all in Korean – can be difficult for beginners.
So is it suitable for a self learner?
That’s probably the question on everyone’s mind.
The answer: yes, especially if you get the set (textbook, workbook and study guide)
I like how the study guide is a separate book that you can refer to whenever you need extra guidance. Having everything in one book would be too cumbersome and this set of textbooks was meant for classroom usage in the first place.
The workbook is a nice addition and is a great help to assess yourself to see if you have grasped the concepts.
That being said, I don’t recommend learners to be overly reliant on just one textbook. It’s best to use a few resources concurrently, such as TTMIK or the Online Sogang Program. If you are keen on even more resources, I quite recommend the Integrated Korean series too (available in public libraries in SG).
If you think you need loads of help on the Hangeul, check out Simple Korean – an entire book just devoted to teaching Hangeul.
A great series to own and highly recommended as your ‘main’ textbook! Getting the entire set (textbook + workbook + study guide) is a good deal as each book complements the other, making self-study fun and less daunting to the new learner.
Get them at Twochois.com, my preferred choice! 😛
- [이화 한국어] EWHA KOREAN 1-1 (WITH AUDIO CD) – ENGLISH VERSION
- [이화 한국어] EWHA KOREAN 1-1 WORKBOOK
- [이화 한국어] EWHA KOREAN 1-1 STUDY GUIDE
For those who own these books, please share your thoughts and comments with the rest too! ^^