[BOOK] Hangeul Master | 한글마스터

DISCLAIMER: Skip to the picture for the review. And apologies if I’ll be mixing romanizations of 한글 from Hangeul to Hangul. In the end, it should be read as 한글 anyway. ㅎㅎㅎ

After some years, I will finally be reviewing another book. My last review was posted some years ago so it’s about time to start another one. I decided to post this first rather than the other books I originally planned to review just to warm up a bit since I haven’t been writing for a long time now.

I bought this in Korea last year, some random 교보문고 visits and I can say that this book is just an impulse buy. I’m not being ‘all that’, snubbing Hangul books just because I already know how to read and write and I’m already at 중급 (intermediate level), since surprisingly, some books that are often overlooked upon can give you that basic knowledge that you may not even know of even if you’re already at the higher levels.

Some people actually get by using a language without learning how to read and write (shoutout to phrasebooks), which is not a bad thing anyway for the sake of travel comforts, but in my sphere it’s always knowing more than just the basics. I always have the itch for in-depth information about stuff so when I saw this book, I immediately picked it up.

I am honestly ‘not’ in the process of studying Korean when I was in Korea so I haven’t had any updates about new books and whatnots so this was a completely new book when I saw it. And when I’ve read from the cover that it was from Talk To Me In Korean, I had no hesitations. This was my first book from them, and it’s just fair for me to give back since I owe them about 20% of my Korean knowledge. I didn’t have any means to donate way back so buying this book would at least help them to continue spreading the love for the language, and I hope it really does! TTMIK 화이팅!!

한글마스터 | Hangeul Master
★★★★/ | 4 and a half stars

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“Go from being a novice to a Hangeul Master in a short time with this book! Hangeul Master is chock-full of everything you need to know about Hangeul!”

“Secrets of reading Korean Handwriting”

“300 writing samples from native Koreans”

To start of…

How do I buy books? (this includes English literature and novels)

  1. Design
  2. Author
  3. Price
  4. Promising content (without reading blurbs and book introductions)

1. I base on design. Yes. I believe that there’s nothing wrong in judging the books by their covers. We’ve reached the new millenium, guys please!! If authors can put their mind, heart and soul into writing a book’s content, they should be able to judge as well how the covers should look like. They’re not the designers of course but at least the publishing company should be able to match the content with the book’s physical attributes. Right??

2. Since this has been written and designed by Talk To Me In Korean, I already had the feeling that the book would be simple, easy to digest, and visually exceptional. And yes, it truly is.

3. Price is a bit ‘up there’ but then again, it’s me giving back to TTMIK so no hesitations at all, really.

4. Since this has been marketed as a book that will be able to teach you Hangul without buying any other books, that thought alone sounded very promising to me, so I didn’t bother checking the back cover for serious intro. I don’t read novel introductions as well lol. I breezed through the pages though to check how it looks like and it got JUST WHAT I NEEDED.

Basically, this book met my expectations whenever buying a book so let’s hop into the review. (This is me being very defensive why I bought the book, haha.)

The book is comprised of four (4) chapters:

1. The History of 한글

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This chapter is an overview of how the language came about. Basic stuff, really. I expected more but of course, people don’t always take particular interest regarding history of certain stuff so keeping this chapter short was just practical.

nook-exampleThe chapter talked about how 한자 was used before and how The Great King Sejong came up with the writing system to replace it, and when in October 9, 1446 한글 was announced (so it became 한글날 / Hangul Day) in Korea. Also about how it wasn’t at all embraced immediately by the people due to possible relationship issues with China, and how Japanese took over Korea for some time, hence the ban of the writing system in all publications… and all that stuff.

But then I was expecting more. I was particularly interested about 훈민정음 (Hunminjeongeum) or The Correct/Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People, but it was just mentioned. Furthermore, I was also very interested about Middle Korean; What those characters were, how they were pronounced, or at least a brief overview on how they evolved. Also when was the time they totally ditched the mixed script and went on publishing in full Hangul (sans 한자). This chapter felt incomplete, knowing that the entire book focuses on 한글. Maybe it’s just me again since I just needed an in-depth info.

2. Introduction to 한글

Totally just an introduction about the vowels and consonants, stroke orders and the c+v / c+v+c / c+v+c+c syllable blocks.

3. Learn 한글

This is the main part of the book where you can learn everything about 한글, from writing, to reading, to pronunciation and all that good stuff. Please be advised that audio files are available for download through this link.

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This includes appropriate illustrations and even the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) to match the standard pronunciation. Another chapter is also dedicated to 받침 (final consonants), since pronunciation for a certain character depends on where it is placed.

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Some things that I STILL DON’T KNOW ABOUT are these compound final consonants. Without this book, I wouldn’t be able to know that there are 11 compound consonants and it’s still a good FYI especially for pronunciation since it’s baffling at first when you’re asked to read 읽다 and you don’t even know if it should be read as 일다 or 익따.

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Of course, the ever confusing linking sounds such as 좋다 [조타], 같이 [가치], 막내 [망내], 신라 [실라] and all that complex pronunciation rules are present in this book.

And of course one of the main reasons why I bought the book is…

4. 한글 Handwriting

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I am very fascinated about the writing system so I started learning how to read and write 한글 even before studying basic phrases (aside from the very basic 안녕하세요s and 감사합니다s). I honestly pushed myself to study the writing system since it’s more of like a bragging right to be able to read another language (even if I didn’t know what they meant).

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I can still remember how my writing looked like that one from above… and how it turned out to be like this…

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It’s really small, mind you but I like it just the way it is. However I still wanted to write naturally as how Koreans do so I really am trying to make an effort to mix and match the techniques from the book to come up with my own natural-looking handwriting.

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The handwriting part takes about more than 50% of the book so if you really want to try and emulate how Koreans write naturally, this book is filled with examples.

As simple as the book is, there are a lot of exercises and final exams as well. For convenience, answers can be found on the back of the book. There are also trivia like when Korean start to learn Hangeul, what are 한자s, Korean loanwoards, etc.

Will I recommend this book for first time learners?

Most definitely!!! There are a lot of amazing resources online and basic level 1 textbooks include 한글 as part of the first few lessons. But if you think you really need to be a modern 한글 master, this book is a good resource not just on how to read and pronounce, but to write in correct order and in cursive form if you challenge yourself to write as natural as possible right from the start of your studies.

Pros:

  • Very much beginner friendly. Relevant words and phrases when first learning the language for the first time are presented through examples.
  • Focuses on the Hangul writing system, the stroke order, pronunciation, and all that good stuff.
  • Supports Talk To Me In Korean (if you buy it, it will be a good help to the team).
  • The ‘only’ (please correct me here) Korean book targeted to foreigners that will teach you how to write like a Korean.

Cons:

  • More information regarding the history of 한글 particularly the Middle Korean characters that look like triangles or the triple final consonants, etc.
  • Pronunciation (I wouldn’t stress about this though, I reviewed a pronunciation book before 외국인을 위한 한국어 발음 47 | 47 Korean Pronunciation for Foreigners Book 1 and knowing that there are two books in the series, who am I to demand better pronunciation guide through this mini book?)

Conclusion

There can never be a better book in learning Hangul than this book right here. Like what I’ve said before, Hangul can easily be learned through resources online but to become a Hangul Master, this is definitely the book.

Technical facts about the book:

한글마스터 | Hangeul Master
Copyright © 2014 TalkToMeInKorean

Price: 19,000원
ISBN: 978-89-5605-719-4 (13710)

I hope this will help you on your way towards becoming a Hangul Master!

Intermediate Korean TV 3 | 중급 한국어 TV 3

Hi everyone. Finally, I finished my Intermediate Korean 1 (3급) through Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines, also an accredited Sejong Hakdang Institute (세종학당) where I started my Korean studies way back in 2012. I finished the class after not continuing it before due to work schedule and stuff.

Unfortunately though…

I did not pass.

Which is still okay, since I expected it anyway. I’m actually very lazy when it comes to studying so I know this would happen. I’m lazy in a sense that I shy away from the textbook and whenever I’m studying about the current lessons, I would procrastinate and look up words, topics, or grammar patterns that appear until eventually I’m too far away from what I have to study at the moment. So that’s what happened, and since I think I already reached the point where I can already come up with more stricter study plans and habits, or at least get by without guidance from a proper teacher, I may have to just continue to study by myself through online materials, textbooks, immersion with locals and unorthodox methods. The foundation I got from Korean Cultural Center is definitely unbeatable. Even if most of the self-studying students are better than my level, I have no regrets that I was handled by one of the greatest teachers in KCC, 노옥진 선생님!!

Video Presentation for Graduation

So yesterday’s our graduation. The program includes the graduation of Basic Korean classes, Elementary Korean 1 and 2 classes, and the only Intermediate Korean class which was our class. Per usual, graduation day is the moment when everyone can showcase what they’ve learned for the whole term. Mornings are for language classes and afternoon comes cultural class presentations (K-Dance, K-Musical, Taekwondo, Traditional Music, etc.). The only way we can present how much we’ve learned about the language easily is through video presentations.

Ours is actually the third from the Intermediate Korean TV series which was started by my classmates from the Intermediate class that I was unable to finish. They have tackled about Korean proverbs way back, and since I had previous classmates who took the following Intermediate class, they followed and created the second episode of the series tackling about onomatopoeia and mimetic words (의성어, 의태어) for their graduation video.

This time, we talked about 성격 / Personality and shot the entire show through an iPhone. My classmate, James (second top student 추카추카!!) was in charge of the flow and the script. I edited the whole show, including the selection of music and some of the directing when I’m not editing simultaneously while they were shooting. I had no high hopes for the video since this was my first time to do a video as crazy as this (though in all honesty we had a higher edge than the lower classes since we have a better command of the language), but watching even the video presentations of Basic classes got me surprised. Everyone’s video had it’s certain charm and everyone really did their best.

IMG_9019.JPGBut of course, the Best Video Presentation award went to us!!  We won P5000 pesos worth (about 120,000 KRW) of gift certificates for a Korean restaurant and we planned to eat out with our 선생님 next year at 정월대보름. It was a very pleasant experience anyway, so even if I failed the class, I definitely have zero regrets! And I promise to study better from now on.

 

 

Happy New Year! | 새해 복 많이 받으세요!

DISCLAIMER: This is an update post. Please feel free to catch up with what happened to me for the past two months during my absence.

On Welcoming 2014

I haven’t had any blog entries for months now, turning two months exactly tomorrow. The new year was great as usual. Not forced or highly festive, just right. It was good learning tons of Korean, meeting new friends, losing old ones, drinking lots of coffee and milk teas, and reading a whole lot of books. I am actually planning on doing a dramatic and reflective sort of blog entry in my personal tumblog but I can’t seem to find any deep emotional stuff I can get inspired to write with, so I blogged here instead, and also to update this blog because I finally want to break my ‘Ningas Kugon(not finishing what you started) habit from now on. So for some updates…

Work and Intermediate Korean 1

 

I FAILED TO FINISH MY INTERMEDIATE KOREAN 1. It sucks right? I know 😐 Work had been hectic after my previous entry here on my blog. I had lots of designs to do for a pharmaceutical company, and it was frustrating since I had to do minimal revisions everyday, which is baffling because they can actually send revisions in one go, instead of pointing errors and have it corrected right away. So stupid >.<

Anyway, because of the hectic schedule, sometimes, I had to do revisions at 4pm something, in which I have to leave office at 5 to attend my classes. I had to finish the materials so I don’t have a choice but to work and delay my departure. It was frustrating at first, but then I got into the flow, that I actually enjoyed work, and got lazy attending classes. Maybe it’s a mixture of a very huge number of vocabularies per day and the ever confusing grammar patterns. And add up to that, our almost daily or bi-weekly assignments, PURE ESSAY. It was cool though, because I love writing a lot, but then there’s this homework when we were asked to write a news report about the calamity that happened, WHICH WAS HARD! I failed to do the homework, so I don’t know how to catch up anymore. I did the next homework successfully after that, but then thought about the news report homework, that I still have to submit it, but in failing so, my homeworks piled up and eventually, stopped attending classes for good.

It was a very hard decision for me, since I know that Intermediate Korean 1 will not be offered until later this 2014, and now I’m stuck at home deciding for myself if I should self-study while waiting or just keep on doing my job, or READ.

Murakami and Books

Just after reading ‘Kafka on the Shore’ by Haruki Murakami which I was talking about the last time, I’ve read about 12 more books! That was only from November take note. I’m doing work busily but I found quality time in my commutes, reading and reading nonstop. Reading amounts to 50% of the reason why I also had a break in studying my Korean and I’m not sure what to feel about it. Yes I love reading, but I also love Korean, but maybe I just reached the cycle where my K-Pop days are way below the wheel. Usually I have this pattern:

Western Music (Beyoncé, Lana del Rey, Lady Gaga, etc.) → Books and reading → K-Pop and Korean → Western Music → Books → Korean…

I’m currently reading a lot more literary novels (I’m not into young adult fiction anymore) for 2014, just from October after buying Kafka on the Shore, I bought all his novels in its entirety!!! 15 novels to be exact. It was a huge sum of money but I don’t have any regrets. Looking at my books in my bookshelves (from two shelves to three) and the huge number of unread books makes me super happy.

Christmas in Baguio and Year-end

We went to Baguio for Christmas and a lot of Koreans are present just around every corner. Koreans in the Philippines seem to be particularly concentrated in the area, but unfortunately and as always, I fail in meeting acquaintances or even people to bump into and say sorry to, or bow to. I’m a complete forever alone Korean :(. Maybe it’s because I know more Korean than others, so it would be easy for others to go ‘Annyeong, annyeong.’ some Koreans they bump into, and since I know better, I wouldn’t even know how to start conversations or even catch their attention. I am really hungry for Korean friends because I have none, and it’s not very practical for a Korean student like me because it’s just plain hard to practice by myself, learning things by myself without someone close to correct and improve my almost stagnant knowledge about the language.

Anyway, just to share some pictures from Baguio:

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Commemorating my distant relatives who fought

Commemorating my distant relatives who fought

Year-end in K-Pop is a time for every K-Pop groups to unleash everything they can show. Unfortunately, since I’m in book mode, I haven’t watched any single year-end performances from ‘가요대축제, 대제전, 대전’. And it’s sad because I really want to watch, but I know that I couldn’t enjoy it as much if I try to. But then thinking about it, it’s actually okay for me because I’m usually a late spazzer, only spazzing about stuff when it happened or was released two months ago, lol. I’m very certain that I’m gonna watch CL and Hyori’s collaboration first before anything else when I’m back to Korea.

EXO의 쇼-타임

The only fun thing that happened to me in K-Pop world this year-end is that I started to watch EXO’s ‘Showtime’. Being free from office, starting my long holiday at December 24 up to January 1, I didn’t miss the opportunity of lying around in my bed, laughing super loud at Korean variety shows, so I decided I have to watch EXO’s because I’ve been waiting for a regular program from them since their debut. And as usual, my bias is really my bias. Kyungsoo (D.O.) and me are very similar in many ways. We appear to be both introvert, loves being alone, shopping alone, watch at movie theaters alone, and do weird and crazy stuff. Alone. D.O.’s really cute, warm and fuzzy too! I just wanna hug the kid because he can actually be a stuffed toy, lol.

Future Korean Plans

Right now, I’m still fixated on books so I still don’t have any definite plans about my Korean. I’m still working as a graphic artist, and it’s going smoothly so far. I’m planning to resign soon enough, though, and I can choose to be an English teacher because my mom’s friend can refer me to another friend, who owns a Korean school and I can be a teacher. I might do it if I resign here, and then decide if I should try learning Korean colloquially then (from my students if ever). But I don’t know if that would happen because if I eventually befriend them, I should actually speak to them in English so they can practice, rather than me practicing my Korean.

I might plan to go to Korea in the fall, but that might still be a punch on the rock, so I still have to save, and wait, and pray.

Everything’s blurry for now, but let’s see after a few months.

How about your 2013 guys? I hope everyone had fun and I also hope for a brighter 2014 ahead. I missed you guys.