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Korean for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean (CD-ROM Included) Paperback – August 10, 2010

ISBN-13: 860-1401389248 ISBN-10: 0804841004 Edition: Paperback with disc

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Frequently Bought Together

Korean for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean (CD-ROM Included) + Learn Hangul in One Hour: A Complete Course on How to Teach Yourself the Korean Writing System + Living Language Korean, Complete Edition: Beginner through advanced course, including 3 coursebooks, 9 audio CDs, Korean reading & writing guide, and free online learning
Price for all three: $58.73

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Paperback with disc edition (August 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804841004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804841009
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"With its tricky pronunciation, complex grammar and elaborate honorific forms, the Korean language can present a daunting prospect. This was the first book I used. it is a nice option if you prefer a gentle introduction to Korean. It's also entertaining with plenty of cultural information packed it." — Perapera Language Tools

"This was such a delightful book! I'd like to note that this book truly IS for beginners wanting to learn the language without having to take a class. the way Park Kyubyong Songsaengnim (with the help of Henry J. Amen IV) has set up the book works quite well with learning to read + write Hangul and the included cd-rom helps with pronunciation. I appreciate at how casually it's written as well, allowing you to take a breather at the more challenging parts while still hammering home all the needed details … if you're interested in learning the language, I definitely recommend that you start with this book." —Goodreads

About the Author

Henry J. Amen, IV, is a freelance editor and writer of language learning materials; he studied Korean while working for a publishing company in Seoul for two years.

Kyubyong Park works at a Korean publishing company that creates practice books for Koreans learning English.

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Customer Reviews

It is an easy book to use and makes learning the Korean alphabet and language fun.
Rachael Hutchins
I literally just finished reading (and flagging and highlighting) this book and am blown away by how much I learned in just 160 pages.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is eager to learn the basics of the Korean language.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Fax on November 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Of all the language curricula I've encountered, this particular book is one of the few that hits the critical points for being truly engaging.

Firstly, it is authentic. There is little use of Roman characters. It teaches Korean in both spoken and written forms, not leaving one handicapped without necessary reading ability. (Avoid Chinese, Japanese, and Korean books that push ease of learning over the importance of literacy.)

Secondly, this book is thorough. It incorporates explanations for many pronunciation and grammar rules, filling voids of relating to the language's mechanics for the English speaker where possible. (Likely every language has inexplicable exceptions of course.) The author details solidly the Korean language's foundations needed to progress by carefully considering grammar and pronunciation from multiple angles and situations. Included are vocabulary lists by topic weaved into the bends and turns of each chapter too.

Thirdly, in a unique way, this book manages to be quite engaging purely as an enjoyable read while simultaneously avoiding the textbook-dry approach. There are culture tips, many jokes, and clever additions that will make you laugh. The author's style is decidedly friendly and down-to-earth, admitting that language acquisition is tough and a little humor to lighten the load only helps. Somehow he balances this without becoming flamboyant, distracting, or losing the book's focus.

Overall, had I to start learning Korean over again from the start, this would be my first resource. It's an excellent introduction to the language, and I only hope there will be more to come from these authors! Deserving of 5 stars.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By thequarterlife on January 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I literally just finished reading (and flagging and highlighting) this book and am blown away by how much I learned in just 160 pages. For reference, I'm 20-years-old and a self studier, and have been studying Korean through books and Internet resources for a month and half. For some reason the title "Korean For Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean" had me picturing page after page of the same old generic introductions you're basically encouraged to memorize, and that initially turned me off of it. I was really lusting after "Elementary Korean", as I thought I was looking for something really intense, comprehensive, and boring...I was essentially looking for a textbook and misguidedly passed on "Korean For Beginners" assuming it was just fluff. I mean, it really sounds too good to be true in the description (you'll learn a lot AND have fun?!).

Turns out I ended up having to buy "Korean For Beginners" because I couldn't afford "Elementary Korean". And I've never been so happy to be broke. The first chapter is pretty light, as it briefly goes over the basics of Korean history and culture; at this point you'll still have no idea what you're in for. Pretty much immediately after that I realized this was the absolute best book I could've chosen. The chapters are comprehensive in terms of information yet short and lighthearted (HOW did they do that?), and they really do cover everything you need to know if you're serious about learning this language (i.e. sentence structure, particles, conjugation, negations, tenses, nuances of the language, etc.). In the first few chapters alone I received a massive amount of clarification on things I had previously learned elsewhere. Not to mention the organization is fantastic.
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124 of 140 people found the following review helpful By N. Miller on January 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
I taught myself beginning and intermediate Korean (my proficiency now is high advanced), and if this book had been available when I started learning Korean, I don't think I would have used it. If you're an absolute beginner who is intimidated by the language, this book might be an interesting introduction, but I'm not convinced that it would help you communicate with confidence about even basic topics. The book teaches a lot about the language and culture, but it's lacking in practical content, and a bit superficial and slow-moving even for a beginning text.

The primary goal of this book appears to be familiarizing beginning learners with the pronunciation and demystifying the language and culture. It's definitely entertaining. The tone of the textbook is uniquely informal and enthusiastic--I've never seen a textbook author write with emoticons before--although it can be a bit chatty at times. There are many great cultural insights and some nice anecdotes, including funny and potentially embarrassing miscommunications.

The problem is in the way that the language is introduced. The back cover says that "new words are explained in terms of how you'll find them useful to communicate with new friends," but I didn't find that to be the case. The way vocabulary is introduced didn't seem at all intuitive to me--basic greetings aren't mentioned until almost halfway through the book. The text explains that the motivation for this design is that you become familiar with the building blocks of the language before you start learning conversational skills, but the problem with this approach is that you learn words and grammar points with no context to put them in, which makes them much harder to remember.
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