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Handbook of Korean Vocabulary: A Resource for Word Recognition and Comprehension (English and Korean Edition) Paperback – March 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0824818159 ISBN-10: 0824818156 Edition: Reprint edition

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Handbook of Korean Vocabulary: A Resource for Word Recognition and Comprehension (English and Korean Edition) + 500 Basic Korean Verbs: The Only Comprehensive Guide to Conjugation and Usage (Downloadable Audio Files Included) + Korean for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean (CD-ROM Included)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 387 pages
  • Publisher: University of Hawaii Press; Reprint edition edition (March 1, 1996)
  • Language: English, Korean
  • ISBN-10: 0824818156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824818159
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,752 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It's great for learning Chinese roots as well as associated words.
Cameron Alverson
I would recommend this book to anyone who already has a good understanding of basic Korean grammar and vocabulary.
Mystery fan
This is a great companion for learning Hanja, or the use of Chinese characters in Korean.
TS Chamberlain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 70 people found the following review helpful By larry bus on February 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Anybody who has spent some time with Korean will probably be pretty pumped up by the idea behind this book: take a ton of Korean compound words and sort them according to their common, mostly Chinese, roots. If you've been at it long enough that you're starting to pick up patterns of shared syllables, or if you read Chinese (it's probably best to have both these down before you start looking at this book) this might sound like a godsend- but the bad news is the magic screeches to a halt right here. After laying down the vocabulary, the authors hightail it and leave the reader to figure out what to do with the words, and even how to do it. Don't get me wrong- it's still a great concept and this isn't meant to be a negative review, just a (really long-winded) warning of what not to expect from this book.

Before you even pick the Handbook up, you should be prepared for the fact that outside of segregating Chinese and Korean roots (there's some interaction in the actual examples and the Korean root list is necessarily much less beefy) and listing everything in Korean alphabetical order, this thing has absolutely zero structure whatsoever. There is, for example, no effort made to allow the reader to build up on vocabulary as they work through list after list of essentially random words. In fact, the authors level with you in the introduction that they weren't even concerned with presenting the most commonly used vocabulary items. Since you're expected to drop $27, a common frequency approach, some exercises, or even a sample sentence here and there shouldn't be too much to ask for, but the Handbook doesn't deliver on this, or on anything more useful than a big old list.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. Lansing on December 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is comprehensive; it is comprised of both native Korean roots and lists of Sino-Korean words organized by character and alphabetized according to Korean pronunciation. Sino-Korean word lists for each character include both words in which the character appears first and words in which the character appears last. For example, the entry under "dae" meaning "big," includes "daehakyo" (university) and "hwakdae" (enlarge).
The long vocabulary lists would overwhelm the beginning learner; the text is more appropriate for intermediate and advanced learners who wish to build vocabulary through studying word roots.
If you want to learn how to write the Chinese characters provided for the listed compounds, you'll need a magnifying glass as the print is so small.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By mvsmith@catholic.org on February 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
What else can be said of this book? It is well organized, easy to read and use, chocked full of words so that you can not only learn everyday stuff, but so that you can get a grasp of some of the nuances of the language and characters.
"The Handbook" has two parts: Chinese based vocabulary and native Korean vocabulary. Both are organized according to phonemes and grouped by ideograph. Also, there are no stupid romanizations to get in the way.
My only gripe about "The Handbook" is that sometimes the font seems a little small. I wish that the han-mun were printed larger to make the number of strokes (and the strokes themselves) more distinct.
This book will take you where you left off with Bruce Grant's 'Guide to Korean Characters.' Where in Grant's book, you have the basic 1,800, in "The Handbook" you have many many many many many more. The styles of the books are completely different though. This book definitely presupposes a good working knowledge of Korean. (Otherwise, what's the sense of looking up all of these words for their chinese roots?)
Anyway, terrific book for those who are not yet Korean scholars to help them become Korean scholars.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mystery fan on September 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is simply the most useful resource book I have come across in learning Korean. It's especially useful if you don't know the hancha (Chinese characters) as it groups Korean words according to their Hancha origins, so you can see how different words connect without having to learn the characters. It really helps to provide a structure and logic to the language, which otherwise seems very confusing to the Western student.
I would recommend this book to anyone who already has a good understanding of basic Korean grammar and vocabulary. It will help consolidate what you already know and will really speed up the expansion of your vocabulary and your understanding of Korean generally.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I don't think that this book will be of great use for the begining student but for the more advanced student it is great. Korean is full of two syllable word that sound remarkably similar so memorizing them is very difficult. But this book shows you what those syllables really mean and the logical way Korean word are made. With that information memorizing those words is a lot easier. One nice addition to this book would be having the meanings of the Chinese characters given to you in Korean.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cameron Alverson on July 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book can't be used like a dictionary or a textbook in the traditional sense. The secret to learning Korean is learning how to think in Korean. This book gives some really good common vocabulary by their Chinese (and some pure Korean) roots. It's great for learning Chinese roots as well as associated words. I've never seen a book like this and highly recommend it. It's a great vocabulary builder.
But it is for people who are serious about learning Korean and won't do a casual studier any good. Also, unless you already have a solid grasp on grammar and the language, this book needs to be used in conjunction with other resources.
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