Category Archives: Korean Resources

Korean Resources: All about Hangeul.

Last week while I was going through piles and piles of paper and notes of my time as a Korea studies mayor I found some quite useful information.

It was a piece of paper my Korean language teacher gave me with links to websites about  Korean alphabet or Hangeul. I’ve mentioned some websites to study Hangeul in my last Korean resources post, but here are 4 more!

The first one is all about the history of Hangeul and the Korean language in general. There are also great recordings of pronunciation of the Korean alphabet. Please note that with the pronunciation of the consonants they say the name of the letter and not just the pronunciation of the letter. However here is a quick tip for you; the way the name of the letter is pronounced reveals how the letter itself is pronounced at the beginning and the end of a syllable. For example the ㄹ or r/l it is pronounced as rieul or 리을 which means at the beginning of the word is pronounced as an R at the beginning of a syllable and at the end it is pronounced as an L.

The next two websites are both have great explanation of how each letter fits in a syllable with the only difference that one has audio that explains the pronunciation and the other has not.

Last but not least for the people who thrive by someone explaining it in a clear manner in a classroom like situation here are 2 videos for you . The first  explains the principle of creation of Korean alphabet and its historical background and vowels and consonants and their phonetic value.  The second video explains ending consonants and its phonetic value and write and read syllables.  The videos are a bit on the long side but defiantly worth watching for someone who really wants to learn Korean.

I hope you find this information useful, if you have other great websites explaining Hangeul. Feel free to share in the comment section below.

Love, Wietske

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Korean Resources: Dictionaries

All the dictionaries

Once you start learning a language, no matter what language, there is one thing you will always need. A dictionary. No matter if you are a beginner or almost fluent you will still need it. However, the question is, what dictionary do you need. A book, an online one, an electronic dictionary, or just a simple one on your phone. Is it worth investing in a good dictionary, or are the free options better?

I am going to compare a few different options.

First of all let’s start with the simple word for house in English and Korean () : This is no problem for all the tried options, however the online, electronic and phone dictionaries give me a wide variety of example sentences such this one from naver dictionary.

as I was looking for the key to my house. 열쇠를 찾고 있었다

Now the other way around. For the online and phone option you need to have a Korean keyboard installed. For most computers not a problem but this might be a problem for some phones. Again this is no problem on the online, electronic and phone dictionaries and gives a nice list of examples and translations.

Now for the NTC’s Compact Korean and English Dictionary it is a pain in the ass to even find a simple word if you are looking at Korean to English. Since the Korean words are listed by how they are written in Romanization. It took me a good 10 minutes to only find the word for house and it doesn’t even give me examples.

Now for something a bit more difficult. Let’s find the meaning of ~고 싶다.

Let’s start online with both Naver and Daum dictionary.

daumThis is what Daum dictionary could come up with.  Thanks to the bing translation there is an exact translation however I don’t trust bing and figuring it out from the examples given is possible but still a little bit difficult.

naverLuckily Naver dictionary gave me and exact translation and a few examples to go with it. Even my phone did better then Daum dictionary although I had to change the search word to 싶다. But it gave me an exact translation and quite a few examples to go with it. The same with my electronic dictionary, I had to adjust the search word but I did find what I was looking for. I gave up with the paper dictionary or else I wouldn’t even be able to finish this article.

Next up, something that is most difficult. Let’s find the meaning of a Korean proverb. 작은 고추가 맵다  is one of my favorite ones because it gave me and my friends a good laugh back in the day. Literally it means small peppers are spicy but it is used with the meaning don’t underestimate the small things.

Daum dictionary couldn’t find the proverb even when I changed up the keywords a little bit. Naver however, proves once again why I love it so much and it gave me this as a translation.

Don’t ever underestimate the little man. 작은 남자를 과소평가하지 말라. (작은 고추가 맵다.)
Once again, my phone surprised me with a wonderful translation when I looked up the word for 고추 (pepper), it gave me the proverb I was looking for and this translation: the smaller, the shrewder.
The electronic dictionary also gave me a translation when I put in the full search term however, the translation was in Korean. Which is fine for me; but a little bit too challenging for beginners.
Overall Naver dictionary was the best and the dictionary I use on an every day basis. The only downside is, is that you have to have internet connection and access to a device with internet connection (aka a computer or a smartphone).  I have to say though the dictionary app on my phone surprised me since I only ever use it too look up a word or two while I’m texting with my Korean friends.  I won’t throw out my electronic dictionary though since it is really helpfull with a subject I haven’t touched up on – looking up Hancha – and it could be helpfull if I don’t want to have my computer around while studying Korean (such a distraction!).
I will banish NTC’s compact Korean & English dictionary to the back of my closet though, it’s the worst dictionary I have ever seen and I do not recommend you buying it!
Now tell me, what is your favorite & least favorite dictionary and why?
Love, Wietske
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Review: Yes, you can speak Korean!

I got this book the 2nd time I left Korea from one of my Korean friends so I could improve my Korean during the 4 months I would be gone. An incredibly kind gesture but slighty insulting as well. By that point I had been studying Korean for a year but the book -Yes, you can speak Korean! – was meant for children, age ranging anywhere between 3 and 6+.

I did, however, learn something from this book when I opened it for this review. Because although there is no grammar explanation nor any audio to go with this book there were a few words that I did not yet know.

Another thing I appreciate about this book is the fact that it has answer sheets. Something that is not always commonly available.

If you have the money you could purchase the book because it does seem great for studying Hangeul (the Korean alphabet). It has separate chapters for each letter BUT you do need the help of a native speaker to get your started on the correct pronunciation.

So do you really want a book to spend 26 dollars on a book that doesn’t get you anywhere? Probably not, instead check these websites I myself used to learn Hangeul.

I do recommend this book for people like me trying to study Korean on their own. Just as the intro of the book states – it is probably best used for children of Korean parents or going to Korean school to get a better knowledge of written Korean.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Korean Resources

한국어 공부하자 These days more and more people are interested in studying Korean and studying in Korea. I was one of the people lucky enough to actually study Korean and study in Korean and I might be able to help a few of you finding the right books and websites to study Korean. Starting from next week I will give you my opinion on the different books I used and other helpful books and websites that might come in handy to achieve fluency in the Korean language. -Although I am nowhere near fluency yet!

If you have any useful information on this topic, or there is something you want to know about studying Korean, feel free to leave a comment or contact me on one of the other platforms I am using.

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: