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J. Roller "lonesomesilver" RSS Feed (Warrensburg, MO USA)

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Korean for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean (CD-ROM Included)
Korean for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean (CD-ROM Included)
by Henry J. Amen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.35
92 used & new from $10.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Resource Though Lacking Nonetheless, February 1, 2011
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There are several good things about this book:

(1) It is written in a very informal style and the narrator certainly adds a certain charm to the text.

(2) Instructions on how to read and write Korean characters are very nicely presented to those who are Hangul illiterate. The chart on the opposite side of the front cover is very useful in learning proper stroke order.

(3) This book does a better than average job of teaching Korean diction. The included CD features videos of the mouth of a woman speaking the sounds of the language.

(4) Cultural notes abound in this text. You will learn everything from why Koreans say "our wife" instead of "my wife" to specifics concerning Korean cuisine.

(5) The illustrations in this text (done by the wife of one of the authors) make this book even easier to peruse. My favorite is the map of the Korean peninsula on the first page or so.

On the other hand, there are some not-so good aspects of this text:

(1) The romanization of the Hangul gets annoying after a while. You want to practice reading Hangul, but your eyes stray to the romanization.

(2) The content of this book does not exactly progress in a linear manner. I mean, you learn all about verb conjugation in the first half of the text (when you have little to no knowledge of any actual verbs), then you learn how to say simple things like hello, good-bye, etc.

(3) Each chapter presents a smorgasboard of concepts without any foundation on which to construct these concepts on your own. A vocabulary for each section is not presented until the end of each section, and, even then, the words are not always the ones used in the main chapter.

(4) The light-hearted nature of the text undermines the frustrations you will have with this book (which can be a good and bad thing).

Overall, I think that this book is a nice reference, but not a great source for learning Korean by itself.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 11, 2011 7:04 AM PST

Elementary Korean: (Audio CD Included)
Elementary Korean: (Audio CD Included)
by Ross King Ph.D.
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $46.89
52 used & new from $24.04

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Buy for the Serious Student, January 27, 2011
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The information presented in Elementary Korean is essentially the backbone of my present Korean ability. In each lesson, aspects of Korean grammar are nicely layered on to what you have already learned in the previous lessons. Plus, this book forces you to learn Hangul because romanization is not given after the fourth lesson. This makes it a good resource for those intimidated by the Korean writing system.

This book is an authentic textbook (like something one would certainly use in an university Korean language course), but it is well-equipped for the self-learner as well. The vocabulary presented in this text is clear and relevant; however, you won't realize this until the sixth lesson (Lesson 5 introduces some odd vocabulary like "imported goods"). Also, the grammar notes are just detailed enough so that one can grasp the information without much external help.

The dialogues presented at the beginning of each lesson are informative and sometimes amusing. And, usually, there are additional sentences for reading after the dialogues. The book provides many examples for each of the Korean grammar concepts it teaches, so you will learn exactly how to use them. It should also be noted that this book mainly deals with the polite style of Korean speech, but it introduces the other styles as well.

The audio CD contains native speakers acting out the dialogues and reading the example sentences used in each lesson. Unfortunately, only the vocabulary from Lesson 5 is read on the CD. Personally, I find that the readers speak too quickly, but this can be easily remedied by slowing down the audio with Windows Media Player or something similar.

The end-of-lesson exercises are highly pertinent to the material presented in the text, and the answers for every exercise is presented in the back of the book. I have noticed, however, that a few of the answers are incorrect. Ultimately, I suggest buying Elementary Korean Workbook along with this text. The lessons are thoroughly expounded in the workbook, and you get additional listening practice as well.

On a final note, there is an index and glossary in the back. The Hanja for certain terms are displayed in the glossary, but this feature is not that useful for beginners with no background in Chinese characters.

I thoroughly recommend this textbook for any newcomer to the Korean language.

Elementary Korean Workbook: (Audio CD Included)
Elementary Korean Workbook: (Audio CD Included)
by Insun Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: $31.43
26 used & new from $8.80

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding supplement to Elementary Korean: A Must Buy for Serious Students, January 20, 2011
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First off, I want to mention that none of the Hangul in this book is romanized. PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT PURCHASED THIS SUPPLEMENT HONESTLY SHOULD NOT BE REVIEWING IT. Every exercise in this workbook expounds upon the material learned in the adjoining lesson from the main text, so I would not even think of buying this book unless you have or are buying Elementary Korean.

There are several components to each of the lessons in this workbook: dialogue comprehension questions, grammar exercises, listening and speaking exercises (on accompanying CD), listening comprehension exercises (on accompanying CD), reading and composition exercises, useful expressions, and role plays. There are so many exercises for each lesson, and after I completed the supplements from the workbook, I really begin to feel like I had a grasp on the Korean covered in the lesson.

The only real complaint that I have is that the woman on the audio CD has an extremely thick Korean accent, and it is sometimes difficult to understand what she is saying (in Korean). I had an easier time understanding the male voice actor.

The Jessye Norman Collection - Richard Strauss Lieder
The Jessye Norman Collection - Richard Strauss Lieder
15 used & new from $23.31

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Lovely, March 5, 2010
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I received my copy of this CD a couple of weeks ago, and I have been avidly listening to it since. (In fact, I'm listening to it right now.) I want to make this clear: no one can sing Richard Strauss's music like Jessye Norman. The first time I heard her sing "Ständchen," I nearly wept. She knows these Lieder inside and out, and that shows in her performances of them.

In Richard Strauss: Lieder, Norman artfully interprets many old favorites such as "Allerseelen," "Schlechtes Wetter," and "Traum durch die Dämmerung." The pianist is also very good. If I could have only one CD of Strauss's Lieder for the rest of my life, this would be the one. Jessye Norman certainly does not disappoint.

The other CD includes Strauss's Vier letzte Lieder and other songs like "Cäcilie" and "Zueignung." The quality of this recording is superior. Jessye Norman's powerful voice is able to glide upon the wonderful orchestral tapestry Strauss has woven rather than just sit on it. I much prefer this recording of the Vier letzte Lieder to Kiri Te Kanawa's recording.

I strongly recommend this collection to anyone who loves classical music.

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