Korean Wordbook for Beginners

A year ago when I got the chance to visit Seoul, I bought a handful of Korean books to help me learn the language fast.  I have not opened most of them except the culture  comic book.  Now that I temporarily stopped reading Continuing Korean to review my previous learnings, I took the time to open this small handbook called Korean Wordbook for Beginners.  Its a Korean-English wordbook but it doesn’t have romanization which I really don’t mind.  One language adviser once said that to be able to learn Korean, one must get rid of romanization. Instead, the focus should be on reading and writing in Hangul.

The book is relatively cheap. It only cost me 4800KRW or less than 5USD.   It contains common Korean words used.  It has synonyms and antonyms which I find really helpful in making the right choice of word.   It also has example of the word’s use written in Korean without any English translation so it will somehow challenge your proficiency.

I appreciate the appendix as well as it contains collection of words commonly used in expression like Question Pronouns, Conjunctive Adverbs (normally used to connect 2 sentences), counting units or marker, number, colors and a lot more.

Here is a collection of Question Pronouns:

  • 어느 / 어떤 (eoneu/eoddeon) – which
  • 어디 (eodi) – where
  • 누구 (nugu) – who
  • 누가 (nuga) – who as subject
  • 무엇 (mueo) – what
  • 무슨 (museun) – adjective form of what
  • 언제 (eonje) – when
  • 얼마 (eolma) – how much
  • 얼마나 (eolmana) – how much, how long, how many
  • 어떻게 (eotteoke) – how, by what means
  • 몇(myeot) – how, what
  • 왜 (wae) – why

Use of -과/-와

I have been reading comments about this particle that  is used to connect two noun.  It actually means ‘and’ in English usage — like books and bags, music and lyrics etc.  미안해요. It’s my bad. I really had it interchanged, the book and also a Korean friend confirmed that -과 (gwa) is used after a consonant ending word while -와 (wa) is used after a vowel.

So for the those who have been asking questions about it 과 goes with the consonant and the book was right it was my eyes that is not.

This made me review the entire lesson on this particle.  To recap, this particle is attached at the end of the noun or nouns used in a sentence like 연필 종이 책 (yeonpil-gwa, chongi-wa chaek).  This means pencil, paper and book.  If these nouns are used as topic in a sentence the topic marker -은/-는  will be added in the last noun, so in this case it would be 연필 종이 책은 (은 since 책 is ending in consonant).

Unlike the English counterpart this particle is pronounced as if part of the original word.  The pause is after the particle as illustrated below:

  • Korean: 연필과 <pause> 종이와 <pause> 책
  • English: pencil<pause> and paper <pause> and books (this is just an illustration as we know that it is grammatically incorrect to use and over and over again in English for series.  We use and before the last noun in the series and separate each word with just comma)