I’m trying to compile a list of sources that I’ve personally used that have helped me study Korean. The links to the side will either connect you the website in question or to the amazon product page so you can buy it (assuming you don’t live in Korea already).
1) Anki- http://ankisrs.net/
Anki is a powerful flashcard program that has really helped me. I would go so far as to say that 80% of the vocabulary I know is a direct result of my anki study. You write the Korean on one side with the English on the other side. You can actually use any language. It really helps to use example sentences also. There are many ways to use it, but typically, I create my own decks of flashcards as opposed to downloading them. I think it’s easier to remember cards that you personally create and you can also perform your own quality control. I’ve downloaded decks with tons of spelling and grammar mistakes. Go to the website and learn more about it, because I’d say it’s the most important tool you can use. Grammar is great, but if you don’t know what words to put into that grammar, you’re going to sound like a broken record. Also, this is FREE. It only costs money if you buy it for the iphone (25$) but it’s well worth it for when you study on the bus.
2) Integrated Korean-
Integrated Korean Beginning 1
Integrated Korean Beginning 2
Integrated Korean Intermediate 1
Integrated Korean Intermediate 2
Integrated Korean Advanced Intermediate 1
Integrated Korean Advanced Intermediate 2
Integrated Korean Advanced 1
Integrated Korean Advanced 2
Integrated Korean High Advanced 1
Integrated Korean High Advanced 2
Integrated Korean is my favorite series of textbooks. I had tried out a lot of different ones first, but they all had problems. Some of them were merely for beginners and never progressed past survival phrases. Some of them were for beginners but only had instructions in Korean and so I never knew what I was supposed to be doing. This series does an excellent job of explaining each grammar point really well. For me, it’s really important to know what the English equivalent (if any) is. Every chapter has 5-10 grammar points and probably a hundred new vocabulary words. It’s not a fun book though. There aren’t tons of cartoons or phrases for you to use at the bar. It’s actually a real book that people use in universities. There are 2 beginner books, 2 intermediate, 2 advanced intermediate, and 2 advanced books, 2 intermediate advanced books, and 2 high advanced books. I believe each book also has a separate workbook you can buy as well. I think it’s the most comprehensive series out there that I know of and it’s not for the faint of heart.
3) Talk to me in Korean- talktomeinkorean.com
A great site with different levels and multiple lessons. You can download mp3′s and pdf’s from each lesson. Each lesson has a new grammar point, but they don’t really introduce vocabulary. That is my main complaint. If you want vocabulary, then you have to pay for it, which I refuse to do. The pdf’s are good at explaining the grammar points and while the mp3′s are wonderful for pronunciation, they are often long-winded and I have no time to listen to a 12 minute long conversation about a single grammar point that I got in 30 seconds. I know I’m being hard on them, but I have to stress that this is a very useful site and it really has a lot to offer.
4) Koreanclass101- KoreanClass101.com – The Fastest Way to Learn Korean Guaranteed
This is the original “Learn Korean” site. You can easily get a free account through them, but I recommend going with one of the paid options (premium) since a) it’s cheap and b) you can download pdf’s and mp3′s from itunes easily. There is also a useful grammar bank which I use often. I use this most often since the lessons are quick and easily digestible. I highly recommend this site if you are someone that just wants to take your laptop or ipad to the coffee shop instead of mountains of books. I printed off all the beginner lessons and it was a massive back-breaking stack. It does a good job of reinforcing previous knowledge as well.
5) 500 Verbs/Adjectives
Two great books. Buy them in Korea though because they are only about 20,000w there. Each entry has all the regular conjugations in the different politeness levels and really helps with irregulars or if you are unfamiliar with how to conjugate certain levels. These books also include sample sentences, which I type into my anki cards when I make cards for these words. There’s also a cd with all of the words and sentences in mp3 format, which you can also drag into your anki. Overall, I think these books are a great resource.
This book is good if you just want to dive right in. It’s sort of no holds bar and treats you like a serious student from the beginning, teaching you piles of words and grammar. Maybe it’s not for everyone and I use it mainly for review purposes.
7) Making Out in Korean
Making Out in Korean
A staple among foreigners learning the language. The title is misleading as it is a relatively tame book, except for one chapter. It’s a good basic phrase book that also teaches you cheesy flirting phrases, which will not work except that they are so cheesy that it will be charming. This is just a fun book, but you will not have the courage to ever say most of the stuff in it.
8) As much as a Rat’s Tail
As much as a Rat’s Tail : Korean Slang
Similar to Making out in Korean, but newer and with more useful everyday slang. When I read my friends’ posts on facebook, I don’t understand half of it because they’re using modern slang like we do, I guess. My girlfriend didn’t want me to read this book because she thought it could get me into more trouble than it could help me out of. That’s fair enough. You can learn some pretty terrible things from this book as well as some just run of the mill stuff people say everyday.