Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Integrated Korean: Beginning 1 (Review)

This book is part of the University of Hawaii's Klear Textbooks series for Korean. There are so few good books teaching Korean and even fewer that teach at upper levels. My criteria in finding a series that would help me review my Korean was one that built up to an advanced level. The Klear series has 10 books with 2 books per level: beginning, intermediate, advanced intermediate, advanced, high advanced. There are also some good auxiliary texts that look really nice. All in all, it fit what I was looking for. The first book has 7 chapters. That doesn't seem like much but each chapter is 30 to 40 pages long and covers a lot of material. I was actually surprised at the amount of stuff introduced in the first book and I was happy with my choice. Now for the bad. The authors explanations are a bit muddled in some places and barely adequate in others. The mix of advanced linguistic terminology, cases of bad punctuation, and putting too many words in one explanation while not saying enough for another makes this a sometimes annoying read.

Example: "When a plain plosive consonant or the fricative consonant ㅅ is preceded by a plosive or fricative consonant, it is reinforced to become a corresponding tense consonant....."

I'm sure that there is a much clearer way of saying this. Grammar and such should always be explained in a clear and easy to remember way. In any case, this book could have used some more editing to make the explanations clearer. Since my Korean is pretty decent in the first place, it didn't bother me much, but I'm having a hard time imagining a beginning student being able to get through it. If I didn't already know what they were talking about, I'd be at a loss.

Anyways, for my own purposes of filling up some holes and reviewing my Korean, this is a good book that has a lot of potential to be better.


Dad said...

Maybe you could put your learning experience to use by writng a quick reference pamphlet on speaking Korean and targeting either military or governmental entities. Could also be a money maker. You could write it in a way you think you would like to read it. My Korean is extremely rudimentary and I also regret not putting more effort into learning it. But at 52, I think my time for quality learning is past.

SY huang said...

I also like this series of Integrated Korean. They also have workbooks for all the levels.

However, as with any other series of Korean textbooks, supplements from other sources are always required.

Shin said...

A good way to increase retention of advanced vocab is to read books that are appropriate for a child who is on your level. The Ministry of Education in Korea has reading lists organized by grade level. Pick up some kids books!

Man of the Awa said...

dad: i don't think i'm at a level where i would be comfortable teaching korean to anybody when there is still so much that i need to know.

sy: i agree completely. personally, i like movies and alcohol to get those language juices going.

shin: actually, i am pretty far beyond kids books in terms of language, but one thing that they are good for is picking up cultural nuances. stories or phrases or characters that every korean knows. it is like an english speaker who doesn't know the big bad wolf or the little train that could. there's nothing wrong with it, but still kinda weird.