6 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

[Korean Textbook Review] 똑똑한 만화 교과서 – 속담

Language learning (as with many other things) requires one to be creative about the resources that you use. If you are just relying on language classes or language textbooks aimed specifically to foreign language learners, then you might be missing out on a lot of other useful resources!

When I was in Korea, I used to like going to the 국어 section for elementary / middle school students to find resources meant for native Korean students. These are wonderful resources and I’ve also written about why they are so good.

When Weixin lent me these two books, I was like OMG SO COOL. Proverbs (속담) and 4-character idioms (사자성어/고사성어) are two of my favourite aspects of the language, but it’s rare to find books dedicated to them. Most books also tend to be rather dry in nature, so I was doubly excited at learning them via cute comic strips. Today, I’ll be reviewing the 속담 one and leaving the other book for a later time!

Proverbs, while very interesting, could be difficult to learn out of context and most Korean textbooks don’t make them a main learning point. Instead, textbooks that introduce proverbs will probably do it as a side item and might not explain the context or use in details. Learning them via a list could be boring too. But I think I could read this book from cover to cover.

Every proverb starts off with a very cute comic strip and without a dictionary definition, one could already guess the meaning from the comic strip. This is followed by an explanation passage on the right that talks about the literal and metaphorical meaning behind the proverb and sometimes, they even introduce similar proverbs.

As this book is aimed at elementary school students, the illustrations are really cute :P.

I love how they group the proverbs into themes, making it easier and more interesting for the learners to read and pick up the proverbs. At the end of each chapter, they will also introduce other interesting proverbs (e.g. 화폐와 관련된 속담).

Overall, highly recommended!! This book is suitable for the intermediate learners and above. Even as an “advanced” learner, there were many new proverbs to learn and it’s perfect as a light reading material. For intermediate students, the explanation passages would also serve as good reading practices.

This series is apparently written by a elementary school teacher and there are several other books in the series. I tried to go on G-market to find them but apparently there are very few sellers and not all the books in the series can be found. (I didn’t manage to find the 속담 book… was thinking of getting my own copy!) D: D:

What I like:

  • Fun and interesting way to learn proverbs
  • Great that they grouped the proverbs into themes
  • The use of comic strips makes the book fun and at the same time, good way to learn the meaning instead of via dictionary definitions
  • The passages are interesting and can serve as reading practice too

What can be improved:

  • How about a book 2? haha

Definitely a book I want on my bookshelf.

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  • Reply
    2 April, 2017 at 3:50 PM

    Reminds me of the 살아있는 한국어 series. Thanks for the review!

    • Reply
      2 April, 2017 at 11:03 PM

      Ohhh interesting! Haven’t seen that series!

  • Reply
    2 April, 2017 at 10:49 PM

    I think I still wouldn’t do this because there’s no way to know if these proverbs are actually useful/used and if they’re not I’d be trying to remeber them only to forget them. My learning philosophy is consume all the Korean media I want while looking up and learning stuff I don’t know especially if it comes out of a Korean persons mouth. I just get no motivation learning out of textbooks or even these books you mentikn

    • Reply
      2 April, 2017 at 11:02 PM

      Yep there are different learning methods! Go with the one you are most comfortable with (;

  • Reply
    20 May, 2017 at 6:45 PM

    Hi, what series of books will you recommend for from beginner to advance? And is it easier to learn korean in mandarin or english? Thanks!!

  • Reply
    3 February, 2019 at 1:08 AM

    Hi! Thank you so much for the great review. May I know where I may be able to purchase these books?

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