Korean culture

What Korean textbook to choose if you’re a beginner?

Фото: Книги з особистої бібліотеки Малахової Анастасії

Learning a language seems to be similar to doing a puzzle. When we look at the box, we enjoy a perfect image, but it doesn’t occur to our mind how challenging the process of assembling all the pieces together is and how long it will take us to finish. The moment we set a goal to learn a foreign language, we often imagine ourselves fluently speaking and sharing our thoughts, comprehending everything we hear in TV series or in songs of our favourite musicians.

How should you start learning a new foreign language

Purchasing a course in a language school, watching educational videos, and signing up on the website or app where you can easily find a native speaker-interlocutor. All of these are the tools you can use for some time while learning. However, it’s impossible to chat with someone if you don’t know letters or you can’t read. For this reason, every beginner starts their learning path with cursive worksheets, a variety of different textbooks, and tutorials which allow them to immerse into a language environment without living in the country where people speak the language.

On my way as a beginner, I faced three types of textbooks. 

The first is textbooks written in Korean and published by various universities and are expected to be used on the condition of language immersion when a student lives in South Korea. From my experience, I can say that it’s incredibly puzzling to use this type of textbook right after you’ve just learnt the ropes and started differentiating 예 by 얘.

The second type is the one that has rules and explanations in Russian. I can’t judge all authors, but I got the impression that there are many complicated terms and old-fashioned rules that absolutely do not help with learning Korean. On the contrary, they make the student feel even more insecure and confused. I consider the logic in the content and lexical coherence to be the vital criteria when choosing the textbook. Especially important is to learn new vocabulary which is thematically connected to one topic. The absence of this is the other drawback I faced in Russian textbooks.  

It took me two years of trial and error, whereas active Korean language learning finally found the perfect option – an English-Korean textbook. Since then, my favourites have been “Talk to me in Korean”.

Photo by: Anastasiia Malakhova

The main peculiarity of these books is the QR codes that allow the learner to listen to the dialogues and texts in Korean. It also helps master your listening skills by changing the track’s speed. You can make it faster or slower and practice the mirror technique when you repeat after a speaker. Doing this exercise improves the pronunciation of various sounds and words.

Despite the simple presentation and stylish design, these textbooks could be challenging to follow if you have just started to dip your toes into learning the Korean language. This series of books was designed for English speakers, so if you aren’t knowledgeable enough, it would be an issue or give you extra motivation to master your English skills.

Learn Korean with BTS or how to make a fan’s heart flutter?

Photo by: Anastasiia Malakhova

When I found out about the launch of this series of textbooks for beginners and realized that I’ll have a unique chance to learn Korean with BTS’s members, I had no doubts before I pressed the button “confirm the order”. Learn Korean with BTS is designed in a way that helps you to learn the necessary basic information about South Korea when you arrive there for the first time. You get to know where and how you should purchase a ticket card, what local dishes you should try, how to get to the city’s main sights, and where you can try a traditional Korean garment – hanbok on.

There are so many excellent bonuses in this series. For instance, there are some sections where you can find recordings of BTS members’ conversations or episodes from V-live or Run BTS. Although I haven’t finished all four books, I am sure that even after finishing the first two, I haven’t been only getting knowledge but also profoundly enjoying the entertaining methods used in this series. For example, after complex grammar tasks or a long dialogue with dozens of unknown words, there is always the following page that helps you to understand how you made it that far.

Photo by: Anastasiia Malakhova

It goes without saying that having a great textbook isn’t enough to start expressing your thoughts via communication and correspondence. You need to read more. So what should you as a beginner choose to extend your vocabulary but not get lost in various grammatical constructions and sophisticated words? Fairytales – are an excellent choice because they are written for kids and often have a few characters, a tenuous plot, many illustrations, and simple grammar.

Whatever time-taking would be the process of learning a new language, you should keep in mind that even if you use the best learning materials and are fond of the language, it isn’t enough. You need to be fascinated by the culture of the country as well. In this case, it will help you not to give up after the first obstacles, as you will be coming closer to fulfilling your dream every day.

Author Anastasiia Malakhova

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