Books to Learn Korean

There are many reasons to master the Korean language.

Maybe you want to enhance your ability to understand the rich cultural offerings from Korea, including the upbeat pop music, comics or dramas that the country is known for throughout the world. Perhaps instead you want to develop a greater understanding of the country's rich history, much of which is written only in the Korean language. You might also want to study Korean simply to increase your ability to competently order your favorite meal from your local Korean restaurant.

Regardless of your reason for wanting to learn Korean, having the right tools to help you learn is important. While immersing yourself in the Korean culture is a great way to become familiar with the language, you'll need textbooks in order to help you understand proper grammar, vocabulary and verb conjugation. Any successful Korean language learning program you might implement will require the use of books.

Before deciding which one of these books is right for you, first answer the following questions: how advanced is your knowledge of Korean? Are you looking for audio or video supplementary materials or do you learn best through text alone? Regardless of your personal preferences, one of these books is the right tool in helping you learn Korean.

The five books included below will serve as the best study guides in your effort to learn Korean.

Top 5: Books to Learn Korean Review

Recommendation #2

Korean Made Simple

9.3

Recommendation #4

Learn Korean

9.7

Recommendation #5

Let's Study KOREAN

9.9

Talk To Me In Korean Workbook Level 1

Talk to Me in Korean is designed to be a comprehensive guide to the Korean language. The book contains several separate sections, which begins with lessons designed to teach the very basics of Korean. After you have mastered the basic fundamentals, the book progresses into more intermediate levels. In addition to written lessons, Talk to Me in Korean features multimedia study aides such as MP3s, e-books and video clips.

Reviewers praise the book for being a great supplementary guide to their efforts to learn Korean. Most of the positive reviews come from those who have already had some degree of training in the language. Talk to Me in Korean can be purchased for less than $20.

Pros

  • Features both beginner and advanced lessons.
  • Does not rely solely on text to teach the language.
  • Connected to the Talk to Me in Korean website, which has offered lessons in Korean since 2009.

Cons

  • Seems to benefit those who have already had instruction in Korean more than those who are complete novices.
  • Some buyers have difficulty with the compatibility of the audio and video files.
Korean Made Simple

The goal of Korean Made Simple is to offer a study guide that can be used by anyone, regardless of their age or previous familiarity with the Korean language. It also aims to teach multiple aspects of the language, including reading, writing, and spoken language.

The book includes over 1,000 vocabulary words and Korean phrases. Each of the 20 lessons are designed to be in-depth and include multiple examples to make each lesson even more clear. Every section also includes a practice session to help you review what you have learned in the lesson. Advanced learners will benefit from the notes included in each lesson.

The price of the book ranges between $9 to $25. Reviews consistently praise the book's dedication to teaching inexperienced Korean speakers how to understand the language.

Pros

  • Provides information clearly and without confusing extra information.
  • Additional audio files are provided on the website.
  • Adds cultural perspective in each of the lessons.

Cons

  • Some reviewers found the use of the handwriting-style font to be confusing.
Become a Hangeul Master

While other Korean textbooks aim to teach an overall mastery of the language, Become a Hanguel Master has one very specific goal: teaching you to learn the Hangeul handwriting font (which is similar to the font used in option 2). The Hangeul font is often used in your favorite K-dramas, and even the most devoted fans may have difficulty understanding exactly what the drama is saying because they can't understand the font itself.

The book covers the history of the language and important Korean slang. It also reviews stroke order of each of the 40 Hangeul letter and demonstrates how those letters must be combined in order to form syllables. The book is available for less than $23. Most reviewers praised it as an additional learning tool used to supplement their primary textbooks.

Pros

  • Allows an understanding of Hangeul .
  • Gives a background cultural understanding of the Hangeul language.
  • Does provide some pronunciation assistance through the free downloadable audio files.

Cons

  • Audio focuses on whole words and doesn't provide sound pronounciation techniques.
  • Would not benefit beginners.
Learn Korean

If you already have some experience with the Korean language, you will benefit immensely from this book. The goal of Learn Korean is to provide you with the basics needed to go into a native environment and to learn the Korean language from the people who speak it on a daily basis. The makers of the book believe that this is the most authentic way to teach a foreign language to someone.

Reviewers often commented on the ease of the instructions included in the book, but did wish they had a way to listen to the vocabulary words being taught. At 140 pages, this book can be purchased for less than $10.

Pros

  • Works well as a practice book.
  • Prepares advanced learners of the language to go out and interact with native speakers.
  • Includes a thorough selection of vocabulary and practical sentences to use in everyday conversation.

Cons

  • No audio files included means it is difficult to practice your vocabulary.
  • Book is very difficult for beginners to use.
Let's Study KOREAN

Let's Study Korean aims to be the most comprehensive book you could order to study Korean. You'll find well over 600 questions in the book. The questions cover the basic Korean alphabet, types of sentences, vocabulary, spelling, reading, adjectives and honorifics.

The overall goal of the book is develop a deeper understanding than can be provided by other Korean textbooks. Questions include basic Korean grammar, vocabulary drills, Hangeul spelling, and overall comprehension concepts. The book can be purchased for less than $10. Reviewers praised the book's ability to cover such a wide array of subjects.

Pros

  • The 2019 revised edition now features English translations of questions to improve your ability to understand them.
  • Offers enough depth that an experienced Korean learner can enhance the reading they've already done.
  • Provides multiple types of activities to prevent boredom, include pictures and puzzles.

Cons

  • Focuses exclusively on the "informal" Korean language; may come across as rude or improper dialect with native Korean speakers.

Buying Guide

In this article, we have reviewed the following books: Talk to Me in KoreanKorean Made Simple: A beginner's guide to learning the Korean languageBecome a Hangeul Master: Learn to Read and Write Korean Characters (Downloadable Audio Files Included)Learn Korean, and Let's Study Korean: Complete Practice Work Book for Grammar, Spelling, Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension With Over 600 Questions.

While each of these textbooks offered the benefit of additional supplementation for your attempts to learn the Korean language, not all of the books are equally appropriate for every student learning Korean.

If you are looking for a book to teach you the very beginning basics of Korean and do not have any previous Korean study, then Korean Made Simple: A beginner's guide to learning the Korean language is recommended for you. Of the books reviewed in this article, this one is the best for the novice reader looking to get started on an in-depth study of the language.

Are you headed to Korea for a quick trip and only want to learn a few phrases that will allow you to communicate? Let's Study Korean: Complete Practice Work Book for Grammar, Spelling, Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension With Over 600 Questions may be the right book for you. This book will provide you with enough informal words and phrases to get along with the average Korean speaker.

On the other hand, if you are more interested in Korean culture, especially the language used in K-pop and dramas, Become a Hangeul Master: Learn to Read and Write Korean Characters (Downloadable Audio Files Included) is the best book for you. You'll become a master of the Hangeul handwriting font commonly found in Korean popular culture.

For intermediate learners who have some experience with the language who also wish to use video and audio to compliment their learning Talk To Me In Korean Workbook Level 1 is recommended. The additional materials offer help in unparalleled ways compared to the other textbooks.

Are you an advanced user who is simply looking for a workbook to supplement your additional understanding of the language? Learn Korean is the best book for you to improve your mastery of the Korean language.

Final Verdict

Regardless of your reason for wanting to improve your mastery of the Korean language, buying one of these books can greatly improve your skill level. Simply choose the one that will fit your specific needs the best.

REFERENCE & RESOURCES


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