Sometimes old is indeed gold. One of my favourite Korean textbooks (which I used cover to cover) is Clare You and Eunsu Cho’s Intermediate College Korean. Together with College Korean, both books were published in the 90s and were probably one of the earlier Korean textbooks in the market.
Back in the 2000s, it was not easy to get access to Korean textbooks (e-commerce wasn’t mainstream and I was too broke for shipping fees anw) and there were frankly limited choices cos Korean wasn’t a popular foreign language back then. I recalled being super happy to find a copy of Intermediate College Korean in the school library and literally used it from cover to cover.
More than a decade later, I feel that the book still holds its ground against the newer k-textbook series and I would still recommend it to intermediate learners (roughly a low intermediate level).
Besides the hardcopy, the whole book is actually available (legitimately) online for free.
While I do love cute graphics and visual aids in textbooks, I’m also happy to have plain ones. Intermediate College Korean (both the book and website) is plain, no doubt about that. BUT it’s also very well-structured and easy to follow. Each chapter starts off with a passage and dialogue, followed by a grammar section, vocabulary list and exercises.
I am not that fond of their exercises, so I skip that.
But what I loved is the passage and grammar points. I don’t think the book comes with a CD, but you can access the audio files on their site, so no issue there. The passage is pitched at the right level for intermediate learners and while challenging enough, it’s not too overwhelming. The grammar section is also kept simple, with around 5-6 grammar points introduced per chapter. English explanations are used, followed by a couple of example sentences.
There’s 27 chapters in the intermediate book. For those who are not keen to spend money on textbooks, this is a great free resource! When I first started out learning Korean, I literally used whatever free resource which I could find in the local public libraries, university libraries, websites etc. Must emphasise that learning a language need not entail getting textbooks, signing up for expensive courses etc.
Till the next post!