Elementary Korean (Second Edition)
March 10, 2013
Authors Ross King, Ph.D., Jaehoon Yeon, Ph.D.
Publisher Tuttle Publishing
Publication Date 2009
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
I was pretty quickly overwhelmed by Elementary Korean. It is a textbook, accompanied by a CD to help with pronunciation. It is in fact a heavy, nearly $70 textbook, and the accompanying Elementary Korean Workbook is sold separately (although this book also comes with its own exercises).
I don’t like textbooky things, as I find them kind of boring and lacking the more adult wit of resources that are designed for grownups. In addition, although Elementary Korean appears to contain a lot of useful information, the information wasn’t presented in a way that enabled me to process it without having (a) more knowledge and/or (b) a trusty teacher in the room. If you are going to use it, be at least an advanced beginner or you will probably have trouble.
As an example, the first exercise in Chapter 1 gives you Korean sentences and tells you to “practice them until you recognize them and can pronounce them fluently.” Really? I wasn’t even taught the Korean alphabet until Chapter 3, so this is a highly unrealistic goal for a new student.
In addition, Elementary Korean used a transcription system that I found nearly impossible to penetrate. It seemed as hard as the Korean, but it didn’t have the merit of being a real language! Click here to see what the transcription symbols look like.
I finally gave up at page 50. But still, I am including Elementary Korean here as a resource because there just aren’t that many English-based options for Korean language study. And besides, people not starting from scratch may appreciate aspects of it that I could not.