When it comes to language learning textbooks, I tend to judge a book by its title rather than cover. In general I hate books with titles such as “XX Days to Master XX”, “Speak XX Fluently in XX Hours”, you get the drift. But a good cover do wonders in creating that first good impression.
I must say that when I first came across the Korean Made Easy series, it didn’t seem like a book that I would reach out to immediately.
But now it turned out to be one of my most favourite textbook series. In fact, I have been telling my friends to buy it, especially those who love a more colourful and well illustrated textbook.
Buy. Just buy.
Pro tip: This book is really very suitable for younger learners. Some language textbooks tend to be very dry or use very technical terms, which can be very daunting to someone new to language learning. I majored in linguistics, but even I thought that describing sounds as “fricative”, “palatal”, “voiced” etc is not going to very intuitive.
Ok, let’s get into the review proper.
The starter book is very focused on Hangeul and aims to give the learn a very thorough and good foundation in the Korean writing system. There’s minimal grammar introduced, and beside the writing system, the book introduces basic vocabulary and common phrases used.
Good for the self learner who needs a bit of help.
Introduction to Hangeul
This has got to be one of the best and most easy to understand introduction to Hangeul. It tells you the things that are actually useful, along with characteristics of Korean vowels/consonants and Korean sentences.
Count me impressed.
The remaining chapters revolve around several groups of Korean consonants / vowels.
Each chapter is divided into 4 steps:
Step 1: Let’s Warm Up!
It’s interesting how the book starts with a couple of audio-based exercises to warm up first, instead of going straight to the topic. I feel that these exercises will be very useful in a classroom setting to get the student to listen first and really focus on learning the sounds. Self learners would also find it helpful to focus on listening first.
I like this method – to hear before anything else. I feel like a lot of time, we are too focused on trying to learn a language by reading lengthy explanations in our native language, instead of trying to focus on how the target language sounds like.
Step 2: Let’s Study!
The “actual” lesson is also very audio-focused, but I love how their explanations are also peppered with visual cues and explanations.
Step 3: Reading Activity!
This book has one of the best set of exercises I’ve come across. Exercises that people would actually do. It feels like a kids textbook at times, but I think that’s precisely what makes it good. That’s how we learn languages in schools.
Step 4: Writing Activity!
YASSSS. Ample practice to listen and write. Thumbs up.
There’s really nothing bad I can say about this book. It’s just so fun and interactive to work through.
A major plus point is how they have flash cards / expression cards for the common expressions at the back. It’s good quality cards that you can tear out along the perforated lines. HOW COOL IS THAT.
Why I like this book:
- Explanations are well thought out, and use “lay man” terms
- Love the graphics
- Fun to work through
- Well thought out content, designed to help you learn Korean efficiently
I LOVE THIS BOOK.
Ok, please buy the book now.