Qn: Can you recommend a set of Korean textbooks?
Me: Ewha Korean.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Ewha Korean series. I recommend it to almost everyone who asked me for a general Korean textbook recommendation, probably since 2012. I have also wrote about the books in many blog posts over the years – check them out. Please come back to this post after checking them out!
If you prefer watching vlogs, here’s me talking about the books 🙂 If you prefer to read, scroll down!
Ewha Korean series is used in Ewha Womans University’s Korean language program (어학당) and hence it’s primarily designed for classroom use. That said, the textbook itself is also great for self-learners – with sufficient depth in explanation for its grammar points and a good balance of discussion-type (more classroom use) vs fill-in-the-blank exercises.
In general, each chapter is divided into the following parts:
준비합시다 (grammar) | 들어 봅시다 | 말해 봅시다 | 읽어 봅시다 | 써 봅시다 | 과제 활동 | 어휘 확장 | 사자성어
The textbook itself is great for self-learners. It ticks a lot of boxes in the good-textbook checklist.
- Adequate grammar explanations (in Korean)
- Good balance of different type of exercises
- Forces you to listen for the listening part as the dialogue transcript is right at the back of the book
- Good length of reading practice
- Separate section for 속담 (idioms)
But what makes the series amazing for self-learners is the study guide!
I’ve raved about the Ewha study guide before but really, please get the textbook + study guide (and also the workbook if you need more practice).
With the study guide (got the English version), you get the explanations in English and examples on how to conjugate the grammar points. There’s also more example dialogues where you get to learn how to use the grammar point and under the “focus plus” section, they even teach you the difference in nuances amongst other similar grammar points. It’s really like having a teacher next to you to explain the details.
Beyond the grammar points, there’s also expanded explanations for the other sections (such as proverbs, reading etc). More explanations in English and sample sentences – which makes it very easy for the self-learner.
Oh, if there’s a flaw in the textbook, it’s that some of the exercises don’t come with answers. But the good thing is there’s an answer key for these exercises in the study guide.
Can you buy the study guide alone?
Many people have asked me this question. The answer is you shouldn’t. It’s like getting half the product and then wondering why it’s not that useful. The study guide works best when used as a complementary resource to the textbook.
All in all, highly recommended!