3 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

[Review] Korean Made Simple

A Korean textbook for Korean learners by a Korean learner. How awesome is that? Writing your own book is no mean feat – I started writing my e-book before Billy Go started on this (I think) and he has completed his awesome book while I’m still.. .. . .

I’ve not met Billy in person but even so, I can always see his passion and enthusiasm for Korean! Received a copy of his e-book and finally I’m getting down to write a review 😛

book (image) copy

The first thing I always read in a book is actually the preface (yup I don’t skip them!). In fact, I think a good preface says a lot about the book! I loved how Billy clearly state what the reader should / can expect from the book – giving a clear overview of the structure of the book, tips on how to study Korean and also a quick introduction to the Korean language.

But my favorite sentence is: Do not expect to be speaking fluent Korean by the end of this book.

To me, this just speaks volume of the author’s sincerity, honesty and gives me greater confidence in the book.

The book starts off with a very detailed introduction (47 pages omg) to Korean. In fact, I don’t remember seeing a more detailed introduction anywhere else o.O

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It’s good, but I recommend that you take it really slowly and go a few pages a day. haha I read through the whole thing during a train ride and even I feel overwhelmed ><

The next part of the book deals with the more basic / common sound changes / rules in Korean.

I like how Billy has expanded a section that is usually not done so in “traditional” textbooks. Ironic, seeing how the Hangeul is the basic and most important part of learning Korean.

This is followed by 20 chapters that resemble what you will see in other textbooks. It covers simple topics such as greetings / introduction of basic verbs / adjectives / colors / numbers etc.

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Each chapter starts with a very basic and short dialogue, followed by a very detailed explanation of the grammar point, together with more detailed notes and cultural notes.

Yeah, the running theme here is detailed.

Simple translation exercises follow each chapter. Translate sentences to English and then another exercise on translating to Korean. To be honest, I’m not that much of a fan of such exercises. I prefer fill in the blanks, joining sentences etc. I don’t know about you, but I rather not have an exercise asking me to translate to English. Most of the time, learners have a problem producing sentences, so I’ll rather focus on fill in the blank types of exercises.

Overall, on the chapters, I have to give Billy a THUMBS UP for putting in soooo much detail and effort. I can totally understand how he is trying to help each learner by providing more information. That being said, I found the amount of details rather overwhelming (but this is probably because I’m reading through it chapter after chapter).

I’ll recommend everyone to savor this book slowly to get the most out of it ^^

Answer keys are provided and the back of book consists of a few handy appendices such as important information on sound change rules. /thumbs up

Billy chose to write dialogue in the chapters using the 입니다 form but he kindly included the 아/어요 versions at the back!!!


I think whoever reads his book will not just learn Korean, but really get awed by the dedication he has put into compiling it. o.O I AM AWED.

I need to do some self reflection. What have I really done for my passion >> Korean??????

All in all, great book and I’ll encourage people who want to self study Korean from the beginning to get it! 😀


What I like:

  • good, detailed explanations
  • nice illustrations, fun and engaging
  • suitable for self studying

What can be improved:

  • vary the exercises in each chapter
  • having longer dialogues in the later chapters

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  • Reply
    1 July, 2014 at 6:29 AM

    Loved what you wrote about bill

    My personal dilemma with doing anything like this is I’d rather spend time improving my Korean or Japanese etc and my assumption there are already well made learning materials an there’s already many made already. Even taking possible profit into consideration I still can’t imagine spending my time like that. I wonder how much he made so far

  • Reply
    12 October, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    He’s now publishing a second book at a beginners level, I hope he makes a series of them ^_^

  • Reply
    28 June, 2016 at 2:09 PM

    Thanks a lot! I have been trying to decide which book I should buy to supplement my korean learning. I will likely start with this book but may ise some other books as well. ^^

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