So since mid-November I have started my Korean language learning journey. It has officially been one month and things have not been going so great which is not very encouraging. If you are reading this without having read my other language journey posts, I am a total beginner with zero knowledge of the Korean language and writing system. Starting off, I chose the book Mastering Conversational Korean: Korean for Beginners by Kyubyong Park and Henry J. Amen.
This book, although I can see how it can be helpful, is putting me in a language learning slump. And I just started! I worked my way through the first six chapters before skipping to chapter nine, then finally I just quit all together. Here is why:
I personally do not feel that this book is for total beginners. I understand that the title of the book says ‘Mastering conversational Korean’ but I went into it thinking, “well, people learn to speak before they ever learn to read and write, so this must be a good place to start”. I was wrong. So very wrong. This book starts off by presenting to you the Korean characters and how to pronounce them (you have to use the audio cd for this) which is great. But then it jumps right into word order, conjugation, honorifics, sentence particles, sentence patterns and when to use them. At the end of each chapter my head was left spinning and I had no idea what I really just learned. So did I even really learn anything? Not to mention, the book skipped right over greetings (this is why I skipped to chapter nine like I mentioned earlier. Chapter nine is ‘Greetings’).
The book seems pretty much like an informational book, not a learning book. There are no practice exercises, nothing to prove or show that you learned anything. The authors literally just present things, gives a few brief examples of how it can be used, then they move on to the next topic/rule of the language. After going through seven chapters total, I know nothing more than how to say Hello and Goodbye (something I could have easily looked up on the internet).
Without bashing the book, I am just going to cut it short here and say that I do not think this was a wise choice, FOR ME, to start with this book as a total beginner. Again, it has need-to-know information in it but right now it’s not working for me. So I am changing tactics. I clearly need the basics of the language before I learn anything deemed ‘conversational’. So I am stopping with this book (for now) and starting over. I will be using Korean Made Simple (Book 1) by Go! Billy Korean and Korean Grammar by Song Won (starts off very basic. Even allows you to trace Hangeul letters and words for memorization practice).
I do plan on going back to the Mastering Conversational Korean at some point. I would hate to have wasted my money. But alas, you never really know what works for you until you try it. There is always the possibility that I did not give this book enough time since it has only been a month. But one month in and I’m not happy nor am I learning anything sooo….yea lol. I’m still super excited about this journey and will continue to post updates and reviews.
Are any of you studying Korean? If not, what language(s) are you learning?