Step by Step Korean Penmanship (with Audiotape)

4 Korean, Books, Multimedia

March 10, 2013

Author  Hyonsook Shin
Publisher  Darakwon
Publication Date  2005
Price  $19.95
Skill Level  Beginner

I bought Step by Step Korean Penmanship at Koryo Books in Koreatown, because I was experiencing a language emergency!

Specifically, I had come to a dead end in both of the Korean textbooks I was using: I couldn’t understand them without first improving my grasp of the Korean writing system. As with many language-learning books, my supposedly beginners’ textbooks didn’t give me enough work on the alphabet before proceeding to use it.

What I like about this book, written by Hyonsook Shin, is that it has nice little grids for practicing the letters over and over. It’s fun, too. It has a childlike feel, with cute little pictures of babies, and eyeglasses, and shoes, and so on, next to more grids for you to practice new words. 

You learn numbers, you learn to write things like “doctor” and “shoe” and “run,” and you can also practice simple sample sentences.

A warning: this is not exactly the most current thing in the history of language-learning. Step by Step Korean Penmanship comes with an audio cassette, and if you actually want to hear it, you (young’uns in particular) may need to buy a tape player!

However, this book, in my mind, acknowledges what many basic texts do not: that learning a new writing system is a significant hurdle for students of foreign languages radically different from their own, and that books that start out with exercises of full sentences in Korean, or Hindi, or whatever, are not paying attention to how the brains of most mere mortals operate.

Step by Step Korean Penmanship: Look at the Happy Student on the Cover!
Step by Step Korean Penmanship: Look at the Happy Student on the Cover!

Comments (3)

diana • Posted on Wed, October 01, 2014 - 7:22 am EST

so did this book help you get over the hurdle??? or not so much

Ellen Jovin • Posted on Wed, October 01, 2014 - 11:34 pm EST

I really liked it, Diana. I wouldn’t say I totally got over the hurdle, but that was not the book’s fault. I needed more time for even the basics of Korean, which did not come naturally to me. The book was certainly far more appropriate for me, given how little I knew, than most of my other materials!

Diana • Posted on Thu, October 02, 2014 - 3:53 am EST

Oh I see.  I did end up purchasing the book. I have a good foundation in korean (I think). Lol. So, thank you for your review.

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