6 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean studying tools/ korean textbook reviews

Korean learning resources for the ABSOLUTE beginners

now, this is a tough post to write, seeing how I got my basics from classes. But nevertheless, hope to share something!


People who have been reading this blog will know that I’m a HUGE FANGIRL / FOLLOWER of the site, also known as TTMIK. When I first started self studying Korean, Hyunwoo was like my role model. And he was also perhaps the reason that I was so motivated to self study – he’s really passionate about teaching Korean and the motivation will rub off on you after a while. 😀

I’ve reviewed TTMIK HERE before, so check it out. And also, HaruKorean, which is one of their side projects.

You can start learning Hangeul from them and proceed from there on!

Sogang Online Lessons 

It’s already been 4.5 years (and counting) since I started learning Korean. So memories can get a little fuzzy. I remember spending hours each day on this site and it was a good site to build my foundation!

You can start using this site once you have a sense of what Korean is like:

  • How hangeul works and how the consonants + vowels combine
  • How to conjugate simple verbs
For example, 먹다 –> 먹습니다 / 먹어요
Basically, knowing which kinds of verbs go with ㅂ니다 (verb stem ending in vowel) and 습니다 (verb stem ending in a consonant). And when to attach 아/어/해 요 for the normal polite style. If I’m free I’ll do a short tutorial for that.
So it’s now time for you to learn some basic grammar and conversations and this site is great!
For those book junkies,
Avoid books like

  • Korean in 20 hours
  • Korean through romanization
  • One Korean phrase everyday – master korean in 30 days


Seriously, if you don’t know what beginner books to get, look for something with the following format. And you are likely to be safe!
  • opening dialogue (with MP3 file / CD)
  • list of new vocabulary
  • Grammar structure explanations
  • Simple exercises
  • Cultural notes (optional)
The standard structure of a well-respecting beginners textbook. Get those that run in a series!
I’m sorry I’m of no help in this ㅠㅠ I promise I’ll go research on some of the books out in the market and then do more reviews!!! 😀 😀
If you guys are beginners now, mind sharing what books / sites you are using? 

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  • Reply
    29 August, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    I so wanted to email you asking about what books OR sites to look for, for beginners in learning Korean & without me asking you have answered my questions. 너무 너무 고맙습니다 :-). You have a good day 🙂

  • Reply
    Debbie Wong
    29 August, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Hi Shanna, my teacher is using Active Korean 4 by Seoul National University in my class now. The class will ends next month and since the book is the highest in the series, I am wondering what book to use next if I continue to self-study. Have you came across this book before? If yes, & if you have time, please recommend the next student book to use for me, thank you! 감사합니다!

  • Reply
    29 August, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Oh my goood, it’s so nice from you to think of us tiny little beginners 😀 Thank you so much!
    Until now I had only one textbook I got when I was in Japan: 基本がわかるはじめての韓国語会話. I like that it has a CD and it’s nice to learn Korean from Japanese, but it has waaay to much “written information” about pronounciation. I think they should’ve provided the beginners with more basic sentences instead.

  • Reply
    29 August, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Hi Shanna, I would like to share with you the books that I have for self-study 🙂 I took my korean basic 1 & 2 at Hanok Korean Class (located at Jurong East), learning about the basic pronunciation rules , vocabulary and grammar. I did enjoy myself most of the time during lessons but on certain days I get bored and restless in class. Therefore I decided to self-study!

    Below is the links of korean learning books that I bought from Kinokuniya(price between $25-$28), not too expensive I think. I prefer to learn korean using korean-chinese books because I think they explain more clearly than korean-english books.

    my 1st book




    hee hee that’s about all, I did bought some useless (those learn korean in 1 day kind ) korean learning books at the beginning, but now I know what kind of books to choose from. 🙂

    Well I’m still stuck on the first book, and my sentence structure are really weak . Will motivate myself to study korean more often but sometimes I get lazy~~as learning korean by myself can get boring as I can’t get to use it with someone. And yes I tend to mumble to myself in korean sometimes haha…

  • Reply
    3 September, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    ahhh yea, right!
    i started with sogang. lol. before i found out about ttmik. XD

  • Reply
    27 August, 2015 at 3:28 AM

    hi shanna, i am about to begin my self study life and i am glad to take what u have written into account! korean is one of the subject iam tackling and iam from SINGAPORE! i am currently compiling all my tobuy lists into a master list and turning my dreams into reality!
    hope u wont think i am verbose, but its ‘avoid like THE plague’ instead of ‘A plague’!

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