by: Ross King and Jae Hoon Yeon
I at least have 2 dictionaries and 2 phrasebooks when I decided to buy this textbook. It just took me an hour to learn Hangul Characters and this gave me the will power to go on with the rest of my journey. Since the beginning, I knew that reading just phrasebooks will not really help me get the comprehension that I desire. In fact, I have been reading these phrasebooks to get an idea on sentence construction. In searching for a book to invest on, I have these criteria on my mind:
- It should provide a structured approach in explaining the language
- It should help me understand Korean grammar and sentence construction
- It should be in English and should relate it to how English is taught
The book is priced at 117SGD or around 77USD. [Edit: There is an updated version of this book, a newer edition] It’s a bit pricey but I believe it’s worth the investment specially if you can’t attend a regular language class. It is suitable for Korean Language enthusiasts who take learning seriously at his own pace and timing.
The first few chapters of the book explain Hangul characters including writing and pronunciation rules. It also provided clear explanation on the use of words which made me understand why the dictionary form cannot be used. As in learning English, the book deals with the basic questions in my mind like word formation, parts of speech, grammar, and sentence construction. I love that it always relate to English and also explain when there is no counter English expression or use for certain lessons. While it was very helpful to relate it in English, I also learned not to overly compare it with English as it sometimes confuses me. The particles and word forms when English counterpart is provided simply gives the closest meaning or idea in the English Language.
The book made use of some terms which you cannot find in the English Language textbooks. This will serve as guide in succeeding lessons as it may be mentioned. I specifically appreciated the evolution of words and how the other forms can be derived out from the base word and infinitive form. The lesson on this is very important because the succeeding lessons capitalize on your knowledge of the base and infinitive form to progress in other word forms.
The book covered the basic tenses such as present, past and future in Korean expressions. By the time I finished reading the book I am able to perform basic to somehow complex (two clauses involved) sentences similar to the following English sentence constructions:
- This is…
- The <subject> is <verb>
- <Clause 1> but <clause 2>
- <Clause 1> and <clause 2>
Overall, Elementary Korean answers you expectations on learning the basics in a very structured and progression done is a very strategic manner. I have read the book for almost 1 and ½ years. I read it at my own pace so it’s worth the investment. By the time I decided to enter a formal class, I am a little more confident and feel that what I learned from reading are confirmed.
Fast Facts about this book:
- This book is inpired by Beginning Korean which was authored by Samuel Martin and Young Sook Lee.
- Author Ross King is an Associate Professor of Korean at the University of British Columbia. He completed his B.A. Linguistics at Yale and Doctorate at Harvard.
- Co-Author Jae Hoon Yeon is a lecturer in Korean at the Centre of Korean Studies at the University of London. He completed his M.A. in Linguistics at he Seou National University and Doctorate at the University of London.
- It’s one of the best selling Korean Language Book in Amazon.