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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Languages in One
Along with my Korean-English dictionaries, grammar guides, and textbooks, GUIDE TO KOREAN CHARACTERS: READING AND WRITING HANGUL AND HANJA, is my ticket to the cosmopolitan side of Korean life. The Korean language uses two alphabets, hangul and hanja. Hangul was invented by a group of Confucian scholars commissioned by King Sejong in the 15th Century. However, even today,...
Published on July 17, 2001

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For hanja learners only
This is like a hanja dictionary. If you want to learn hangul, don't buy this.
Note: Hanja is like chinese characters, But the koreans borrow them. Also called Sino-Korean Charachters
Published on April 10, 2008 by Hongjie Xu


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Languages in One, July 17, 2001
This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
Along with my Korean-English dictionaries, grammar guides, and textbooks, GUIDE TO KOREAN CHARACTERS: READING AND WRITING HANGUL AND HANJA, is my ticket to the cosmopolitan side of Korean life. The Korean language uses two alphabets, hangul and hanja. Hangul was invented by a group of Confucian scholars commissioned by King Sejong in the 15th Century. However, even today, most of the Korean found in newspapers, books, and on television is of Chinese origin. Like the Japanese, Koreans use Chinese characters, but pronounce them differently. Hanja, or Chinese characters, are required for most adult discourse and counting.
The book starts with simple characters, or "radicals", progressing to complicated ones. Students can follow the graphs and learn to write the characters. Each character is also translated into English and Korean. Hangul is provided in the jacket of the book, but this is not a Hangul textbook. A further index also organizes the characters for quick reference.
Because the Korean educational system authorizes and halts Hanja education seemingly every decade, learning Hanja gives the non-Korean student an advantage over Korean students. Sino-Korean words are also easier to remember, because they are shorter. Learning Hanja opens up a whole different world to the non-Korean student.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Hanja reference guide, April 18, 2000
By 
Jeffrey L. Guthery (Seoul Korea (South)) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
Given a choice between this book by Bruce K. Grant and other (sparsely) available works on this subject, I would unhesitatingly stick with this one. Even after entering its third decade in print it is still the definitive hanja reference guide. The 1,800 characters are presented in stroke order, although a phonetic listing can also be referred to. A stroke- order chart along with corresponding Hangul phonetic equivalent and English translation is presented with each character. I feel there are a few minor shortcomings - DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK IF YOU ARE PRIMARILY INTERESTED IN LEARNING THE KOREAN PHONETIC WRITING SYSTEM (HANGUL). I think that the inclusion of Hangul in this book was a waste of time, as any basic textbook and even some phrase books I've come across do a better job of presenting Hangul to a beginner. Remember, 99% of the text is HANJA reference. I also feel that some of the example vocabulary (listed beside each character to show how it can be combined with other characters to form [mostly] bisyllabic words) is useless in terms of practical usage. In spite of these minor flaws it is a fantastic book. I initially attempted to memorize all 1,800 characters in stroke order, but got distracted at the half-way point. It believe there are better books out there to learn Hanja as it is used with written Korean (for example, A First Reader in Korean Writing in Mixed Script by Fred Lukoff, and MANY excellent materials produced by the Defense Language Institute Korean Language Department). As stated earlier, this book is best used as a REFERENCE source. In the many years I have used this for reference I can only recall one character that was not listed. The 1,800 characters listed are those that are taught to Korean students throughout middle school and high school. Hats off to Bruce K. Grant for this most helpful book.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Hanja Reference, July 28, 2001
By 
Brian Denslow (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
This book was given to me while I was studying Korean at the Defense Language Institute. The format of the book is pretty straight forward: count the number of strokes in the character and start searching. Although its obvious that "hanja" plays a diminishing role in "survival korean", it can provide useful insight into meanings of more complex words. Be sure you've learned "hangul" before you consider adding this book to your library. With a bit of study, you'll find that you'll be able to learn more "hanja" than the average Korean knows. I know I have.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A handy guide to help you impress your Korean friends!, February 22, 1999
By 
mvsmith@catholic.org (New York City (Formerly of Pusan, Korea!)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
THIS IS NOT A BOOK TO LEARN HOW TO SPEAK KOREAN!!! It is specifically to learn the sino-korean characters, otherwise known as han-mun. It helps if you already have some kind of working knowledge of Korean, and if you actually know what you want to learn. This book is super for learning things like the days of the week, addresses, and names. This book is really a (beginner's) vocabulary booster and to help you impress your friends. The indices are super, as is the whole book: very well organized and easy to use. I've seen sino-japanese (kanji) books that cannot compare as far as clarity and ease of use. There's even a chart in the back with all of the family names used (and many no longer used) in Korea.
The way the book works is 1)know the sound of the character you're looking for; or 1a)know what it looks like; 2)look in one of the indices; 3)the character you are or may be looking for will have a number assigned to it; 4)look up the number and -boom- there's your character, complete with a stroke order diagram and related words defined in English while written in korean and han-mun. Simple.
I should probably give it five stars--because I can find no real flaws. However, I think that a person with better Korean skills than I have could find problems. So, for people who are beginners at Korean--five stars. People for whom Korean is old hat--three stars. Therefore: four.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Guide to Korean Characters, May 28, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
Excellent reference for an ongoing student of the Korean language. The ease of use and extensive practical information make this a must for anyone studying Korean. I also have Pictoral Sino-Korean Characters by Jacob Chang-Kim. Together, my hanja reference collection is 100% complete!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, September 30, 2008
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This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
Good Hanja book. Exactly what I expected. This book is not really intended for learning Hangeul. This is for those who are already familiar with Korean and who want to learn Sino-Korean (Chinese) characters.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For hanja learners only, April 10, 2008
This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
This is like a hanja dictionary. If you want to learn hangul, don't buy this.
Note: Hanja is like chinese characters, But the koreans borrow them. Also called Sino-Korean Charachters
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A systematic and easy way to learn the Korean Alphabet., May 19, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
I purchased the above book about six years ago during my pursuit and interest into Asian Languages. Personally, I thought that it helped in presenting the written fonts of hangul and hancha in very basic steps. It aided in my development of being able to grasp and associate various characters with ease. Compared to other self study books used I would have to definitely give this book a 4.5 star rating for the development in grammatical context. For the speaking ease I would have to give a 3.5, yet with consistent pronounciation drills and the marvels of todays internet being able to pronounce the characters being presented will make more sense now than ever before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It is what it is, March 5, 2014
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This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
This book gives what it promises. It delivers you with a list of 1800 Chinese characters used in Korea. Each entry comes with examples. The pronunciations are only given in Hangul, which is a good thing in my opinion. Although this book does contain a reference to Hangul, you shouldn't even be near this book if you don't already know it. The book also lists the meaning of the word before it's pronunciation. I think that is quite a refreshing approach to what I'm used to.

What I find less appealing about this book is the way in which the characters are organized. The book calls itself a guide, but it also tries to be a character dictionary. This wouldn't be too much of a problem if it were by radical, but this book lists all the Hanja by amount of strokes. I think this makes it rather cumbersome to study from this book. I also think it would have been much better if the Hanja were listed by frequency instead. To give you an example: You will find the character for 'Divination' on p29 and the character for 'medicine' on p316. Which are you more likely to use? I could probably look for a more absurd example. The book should work fine for look up/reference purposes however. And it's the only of it's kind (in covering all the main characters) as far as I know, so you don't have much choice anyway when it comes to actual printed books.

Pro's:
+ It delivers what it promises
+ Example words
+ Hardcover
+ Elegant size (13x19 cm)

Con's:
- Lists characters by amount of strokes instead of usefulness
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bridge the gap from Chinese and Japanese to Korean, May 2, 2011
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This review is from: A Guide To Korean Characters: Reading and Writing Hangul and Hanja (A Mini Dictionary of Characters for Modern Readers) (Hardcover)
Having informally studied first the Japanese and then the Chinese languages, I found this Mini Dictionary very helpful for starting my new informal study of the Korean Language. It is helpful to the student in relating many new Korean words to those words already experienced in sound and/or form found in Chinese and Japanese. Beyond rote memorizing of Korean words in a vocabulary, this dictionary provides a visualization to the student's past knowledge through the commonality of Chinese characters.
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