Should have done this a long time ago but problems arise people get busy and I just didn’t get round to it hehe ^^ anyway. Lets start. I love Darakwon books ^^ I have used two already and I love the setup of their books they really take everything from a self-study point of view which is not common sometimes, avoiding the class-room like exercises in books (which I hate)  is a good point in their books.

Another plus one with Darakwon books is that they always contain an mp3 audio cd which is something we, as self study Korean learners, need in every book we buy for pronunciation and listening purposes its a must have hehe ^^  I am always so happy to listen to the cd that comes with a Darakwon book. It’s a load of fun repeating the passages/sentences (this is known as shadowing I think!)

Also major point with me its not one of those books that is setup in a way that looks like you need a masters to get to the last chapter its straight forward and to the point ^^

As in my previous reviews (1) (2) (3) you can just scroll all the way to the bottom and read the conclusion! Do I like it ….or not ^^ Enjoy.

CIMG3359frontpic1

First I want to look at the sections of this book.

TOPIK QUESTION EXPLANATIONS.

CIMG3372prt1reviwnanaylsis

I enjoyed reading this section because before this book my knowledge of to TOPIK setup was pretty limited seeing as I cannot take the exam its not something I even bothered to look into often, but, using this book I saw what its actually about. The ‘Explanation’ section is just that it explains the different types of TOPIK questions and how to solve them using either 1. Logic or 2. Your ability of Korean by saying you solve it using your logic it means your probably don’t know the answer but using simple elimination on some of the questions means you will probably nail it hehe. Using your ‘ability’ means you are pretty damn sure what the answer is – no need for any deduction in your mind (:

The setup of the explanations is something I took getting used to (and I found it tedious) having to read the question see the answer then look all the way down at the bottom of the page in the ‘blue box’ to see the explanation. It would have been much nicer if the book had breakdown style explanations instead of that stupid ‘blue box’ at the bottom of the page.

VOCABULARY.

Didn’t expect. I didn’t expect this book to have any form of vocabulary (was fine with that!) but it did have a load of vocabulary in the Part 1 section of the book where the topik questions are explained in detail. The vocabulary section was nice a lot of words I personally did not know hehe I was surprised at that and seeing those words aided me in later sections of the book. ^^ one thing I really did like that involved the vocab section was a particular page where there were synonyms and antonyms of the words! that was really good sometimes it saves the effort of getting it from naver

CIMG3375vocablist

WRITING PRACTICE SECTION.

It was weak. To me considering most people have a 멘봉 while having to write any form of essay in a foreign language it was very disappointing to see that the only advice provided was a generic “One should be familiar with the subject in order to write an essay” sorry but I know its impossible to give a magic pill and BAM. I can write the perfect essay this was on the weird side. Did though appreciate the sample essay provided in the ‘Questions’ section it was helpful to understand what the exam committee would be looking for. xD

LISTENING SECTION.

Phew. Up until about a week ago I had never attempted to do the listening section in any topik mock test  I had done (half of one in early 2013) so I was very curious to what my listening skills. Was I good. Bad? Somewhere in between needing some work? hehe. And I liked the listening section even though it was beginner [basic] the first questions where really simple and it was fun yet still required my focus but the last 5 questions really pushed the limits. That I liked very much. To me the listening section material they have provided in the book is excellent beyond. 😀

INDEX.

대박! The index/pages at the end where without a doubt the best feature in this textbook for me. It was loaded at the back of that book with translations to the listening practice and  Korean-English transcripts which I adore ^^ and its usefulness is proved time and time again.

CIMG3384readingtranscriptengkor

You can see the Kor-Eng reading transcript is really cool ^^ and there are a lot of them which is pretty damn cool (:

EXTRAS.

1.2.3. There is more to it than just some vocab words, examples, and what-not! Its an adequate book with a few tips here and there that may be useful to someone taking the topik needing an extra boost of confidence (however this is to the old topik not the new 2014 one). The explanations although lacking take the top spot in my heart for this book together with the mp3 audio cd. I am someone who needs explanations hehe without them I can miss the whole damn point of something. ;;

CIMG3379blueboxexplanation1

The explanations in the blue box. This is a pretty long one, longer than all the rest in the book and you can clearly see that the explanations are clear however not very detailed, and also the explanations are provided in both Korean and English. Wow. That is cool. Right?

CIMG3380blueboxexplanations

This one is my favourite, It gave a lot of info. Hehe.

THINGS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BETTER.

There are a few things that I just wish were ‘more’ or (less?) in the book and they are ~

  • Better more detailed explanations on selected grammar points.
  • I wish the question examples were more, they put a lot but just a few more variations I felt would be better in aiding understanding.

SOME IDEAS/TIPS ON USING THE BOOK!

I thought I would share some ideas/tips on how I used the book and maybe it would be helpful to any of you ^^

1. First thing I did was take the first mock test as more of a ‘diagnostic test’ just for fun because it was cool. Also to me it was helpful in understanding which ‘examples’ I should read and which had no relevance to me at all.

2. Never. Not once. Did I write down a single word when it came to the vocabulary lists because I felt it would be better to leave it to my mind (and it worked!) ^^

3. Listen to the audio before you take the ‘Listening’ section mock test as a warm up to really listening to it when you take the mock exam in the book.

4. Time yourself. This was something I had fun with timing myself and now I have forgotten everything about the mock test and will do it again hehe.

5. Don’t worry too much about getting them wrong or not understanding much! Just let it go and have fun with the book. That is why you bought it heh? ^^

And of course there is a section that shows you how to use the book in the beginning of the book which was real nice.

CIMG3367hwtousebook

I think that is about it ^^

One more thing.

The TOPIK is changing so is this book still useful or even relevant? ^^

This is my answer. In the new TOPIK are you going to need grammar? Yeah! So there is grammar in here. Are you going to need some vocab and ways to use said vocab? Yeah, right? So there is all that in here. Also on a learners note, you want to have reading, listening, and writing practice. Right? Well this book provides you with the tools to do that, and its a pretty cheap book at 18$ so I would buy the next level if I had the money hehe.

#CONCLUSION

Overall I give the book a 7/10 its a good book to ‘have’ but not to use as your sole basis of Korean knowledge and it certainly would not be the first book I bought to study with. No, its not that kind of a textbook. For learners who like having (writing down.) vocabulary lists then this is for you because there is vocab in abundance in this book for me it was a waste of time I learnt one word overall that I remember. Learners that appreciate the accompanying audio cd to help with pronunciation and listening then you will appreciate this, maybe more than I did. If you are somebody (learner) who likes to have detailed explanations to understand grammar then don’t rely on this because to be all that honest to me I didn’t see anything that could make me ‘learn’ more about the grammar with such vague and lack-lustre explanations.  You must have another grammar source or the book is useless! Use it together with another textbook that would serve you much better.

Learners looking to gain some confidence for their TOPIK exam will appreciate this very much because although I have never personally taken the topik this seemed like it helped me understand some things about the exam and also some of the questions, learning about them was fun too ^^ favourite being the ‘Review and Analysis of Previous TOPIK questions’ since I was a noob.

One more thing, this book is based on the (now) previous TOPIK exam the exam will change in October 2014 sitting. ~

AVAILIBILITY.

Book is widely available from online bookstores I paid 18$US for mine on twochois.com its a very reasonably priced textbook and worth a chance if you aren’t certain if its for you xD

Thank you.

#Yonsei Korean ^^

#Yonsei Korean ^^

Finally I am at least somewhere in the book and now I have sufficient information to write a review I think I am happy with and maybe will help people who are thinking of getting the Yonsei series books an idea on what the book/s are, and what they contain ^^

If you want to get to my conclusion and not read the whole thing ^^ just scroll to the end 🙂

Pros

  • really good quality paper
  • supplement mp3 audio CD for all dialogues
  • vocabulary section is actually really nice
  • the ‘culture’ write-ups at the end of chapters is very nice and informative!
  • exercises galore ^(^_^)^
  • the illustrations are very very nice!

Cons

  • No answer key
  • written in Korean (no English in this volume)
  • not enough grammar in the book
  • the books are actually a bit expensive
  • may not be suitable for some people who are self-studying*

Let’s start with the good things this book has first 🙂

This book is printed with some really nice glossy high-quality paper and although it sounds silly but I like books that are printed on soft and glossy paper ^^ makes it more attractive to look at and study from ㅋㅋ? and the illustrations in the book are so wonderful its actually one of the first things I noticed about the book to me my favourite bit of illustration in the book is a ‘comic’ set-up just like Naver Webtoons has!

Beautiful illustration ^_^

Beautiful illustration ^_^

Pictures like that are engaging to a learner, makes you feel less anxious about the book even though its hard ; the pictures help you to see the words in a contextual manner ^^ as opposed to a black-and-white textbook you have to guess your way to a meaning.

The CD. Must be the best thing about any Yonsei Korean book I think because what causes some issues with self-studying Korean? Not knowing if you are pronouncing words in a natural manner, correct! But if you have an mp3 audio recording of the presenting dialogues then you are pretty much on the road to repair with Korean pronunciation. The CD has two tracks for the same presenting dialogues the first one reads the dialogue in natural speed then the second track is a ‘follow along’ so the Korean speaker speaks then gives you enough time to repeat what she/he has just said and this I am seriously loving I actually find myself doing this several times a-day ㅋㅋㅋ

Vocabulary section I’m not big on vocabulary so I was a little mad that there was such a substantial amount of words ; but now I like vocabulary and I find it calming to know I pick it up faster! The first chapter actually had 31 words of which I only knew about 1/4 of them xD although I wish that the vocabulary glossary or the list had 한자 in brackets. That would be really nice but sadly it doesn’t. Its not a knock on the book however 🙂 Overall I think the book has a total of 288 words ~

I counted them….I don’t know why just wanted to know how many they were ㅎㅎㅎ

Grammar section Not much grammar ㅠ.ㅠ but still there is 37 grammar points to be learned (of which I knew none) and they are presented in a nice way ; first the dialogue then there is a few places where there are exercises where you have to write the correct vocabulary words (these are called : 알맞은 어휘를 쓰십시오) and I find those really fun because it making you think of a word in a place you probably would never have though of.

Culture (문화) living where I do I don’t get a lot of Korean culture all I know is either from K-dramas (not reliable) podcasts (somewhat reliable depending on source) and books which to me seem to be the most reliable especially when it comes direct from a Korean university ^(^_^)^ Back on topic. In this book there are 문화 write-ups after every chapter! I actually started reading from the back with the 문화 (munhwa) culture.

Informative. Easy to verify in Google. Fun.

So many exercises There are so many exercises in Yonsei books (don’t know about other levels but this one is good) I have two that I really really like and I wish they were in 90% of Korean textbooks one is actually. The 알맞은 어휘 (correct word) is usually in most Korean textbooks but so far as I have seen not to this extent in one single chapter the Yonsei book can have almost 5 of these which is so lovely really. Then there is the “Interview” and although this is meant to be done in a classroom setting I find perfect to do on my own ~ what’s wrong with asking yourself a question (from the book) then creating a scenario in your heard of what you would answer if you were not YOU! Basically I see it as an opportunity to make up things and find ways of saying things in Korean I wouldn’t even think about. In terms of exercises I can hands-down has exercises for anyone. Definitely something for everyone’s learning style.

Dialogue the dialogues are not very long, actually they are the same length as the dialogues in Integrated Korean: Beginning 1 which is a little disappointing but there is a lot of new words incorporated and lots of grammar which is used in many different ways to help understand what the grammar can express.

dialogue in Chapter 1 #YonseiKorean 4-1

dialogue in Chapter 1 #YonseiKorean 4-1

Now for the ‘not so good’ sections of Yonsei Korean 4-1 >.<

No answer key Personally I don’t mind that there is no answer key, sometimes it irritates me and sometimes I see it as a good point, I can’t peak on answers 😀 #mixedthoughts. Although I have to say it is a downside either way, means its not exactly suitable for self-study usage but you can learn to get used to it and appreciate it but I don’t think you can do that when it gets to higher levels (Levels 5 to 6) for Yonsei 4-1 I can handle it /challenge though ^^

So, the no answer key is a downside for someone who is self-studying they have no way of knowing if their answers are correct ; just can’t check them! >.<

No English …anywhere The level I chose (4-1) is written in complete Korean there is no English in this book whatsoever. English is only available from Level 1 to Level 3 ; then from 4-1 upwards the explanations are only offered in Korean. Which is a challenge ^^

Yonsei books are pricey >.< These books are actually very expensive in my opinion one level is put in two volumes (4-1 and 4-2) which is about 30$ for one book which = 60$ for two books plus if you add the shipping it would be close to 90$ for one level ㅠ.ㅠ

Then, you would probably want to get the ‘Workbook’ for each level which is reasonable at least at about $17 at most online stores 🙂 that is a good price to me hehe~

Conclusion

I give it four stars (****)

The book is good I would buy it actually. The lack of an answer key gives us as self-study learners a disadvantage because we won’t know where we are going wrong if there is no one for us to ask. The lack of English explanations would make it harder to study with as well! But there are a lot of dictionaries and books you can get to help with all that, even just asking someone can help. I myself use Yonsei together with Korean Grammar In Use when I study, and it helps to clarify some things ^^

The dialogues are really good ^^ good reading practice too.The CD provides a great way to practice pronunciation with the “follow along” exercise. However it does leave gaps ^^ because their is no English u.u

ISBN : 978-89-97578-92-4
ISBN: 978-89-97578-91-7 (SET)
RECOMMENDED PRICE : 20,000원

 

Feel free to leave your opinions 🙂

My first review ^^

I will be trying reviewing Korean Grammar In Use – Intermediate grammar book!

I’m really glad I bought this book (:

korean grammar in use - intermediate

First impressions! its not a very big book so carrying it around is not a big deal ^^ you can lag it around and study when you have some free time away from home or where ever (: and the paper is really good quality its like a smooth quality paper ~ glossy is the word I am looking for ….but because the paper is really pretty I can’t bring myself to write in the textbook ㅠㅠ I prefer to write in my notebook XD

/Structure of the book/

Chapter 1

  • Grammar point presentation
  • introduction (with short dialogues introducing the grammar point)
  • investigating the target grammar (different tenses and types of speech)
  • restrictions and/ or irregularities with the grammar point
  • a comparison using the grammar pattern being learnt
  • (Make a Dialogue) section to make a dialogue of your own!
  • practice in target grammar
  • double-check ( at the end of each chapter) for review of the grammar learnt and bonus is that the questions are in the form of the TOPIK test paper to help familiarize with TOPIK ^^ #awesome

And! that handy CD that brings the whole book together ^^ there is accompanying audio files for all the dialogues ^^

Grammar Explanations

This is my first ever Korean grammar book so what other explanations other grammar books have I don’t know ~ I only know this one (:

And when I first paged through the book it was the first thing I noted /explanations/
was that they were all in Korean 😀 /scary/  for me as a somewhat in-between levels I found that very intimidating at first but looking at it made that all go away because the explanations of grammar although are not in English/ or much of anything they are visual explanations which are better I think (: even for me who is pretty much a beginner when it comes to thinking 😀

Dialogue 

the dialogues are awesome to me because they make learning less intimidating and bring the whole grammar lesson together ; then add the CD with the dialogue spoken and you get a trunk full of happiness when learning grammar ㅋㅋㅋand I like the “Make your own dialogue” section allows for thinking (:  and expansion with the topic (:

2.8.2013 025

the CD

Great!

What I like

How informative the book is ;so far I am on Chapter 4 and not once have I come across something that is explained in a way that makes me completely confused …and pushes me into an “omfg….this is insanely difficult” moment! none of that stuff which is awesome it gives you more motivation and confidence when the book itself is a simple layout 🙂

The supplementary CD ; it’s the perfect touch to this book because most times when your reading something your most likely repeating in your head to make it sink in?! but you’re not actually 100% certain of the pronunciation that your  making but with the CD you hear what they are saying and it brings the whole thing together (the grammar ; the  dialogue ) so when you get to the practice questions and “create a dialogue” section your pretty much set for the job ^^

What I don’t like

Sometime although the usage of visual explanations actually works best it can also be a huge downer when you would prefer to read it : so I don’t like how sometimes it can be vague when it comes to meanings ~ I’m not in the author’s head so when there is a slight difference of thought I feel like I have missed the point of the whole grammar point just because my thinking is different! But that’s a minor problem …actually not even a problem it’s just a thought (:

Book info

Price : 23,000₩

ISBN : 978-89-277-3078-1

Publisher : Darakwon

Bottom line

It’s a good book and even though it is labelled as an “Intermediate” book and it is Intermediate in my opinion but it is still usable for someone who is somewhat in beginner to intermediate transition mode (a.k.a me I dunno where I am :D) it has its challenges which are always a driving force to be better ; if you don’t have a challenge sometimes you can just give up on things but with this book its challenging enough and engaging that you never stop, I actually over read it the first few days but I loved it I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a push forward plus anyone studying for TOPIK ….which I am sadly not doing ㅠㅠ but one day (maybe even this year!!!!!) I will write it right now though I don’t feel like I can do it ^^

I have one question though ~ a lot of people mention the TOPIK 150 book does anyone know where I can get that book?!