Using Korean: A Guide to Contemporary Usage
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  • Using Korean: A Guide to Contemporary Usage
  • Miho Choo and Hye-Young Kwak
  • Published by: Cambridge University Press
  • Level: Intermediate
  • First Published in: 2008

Using Korean is a language guide for students who have already acquired the basics of the language and want to continue improving their language skills. The book focuses on grammar structures that English speakers struggle with the most and it helps students learn common expressions and language styles appropriate for certain situations.

REVIEW BY Chris Saldana Book EXPERT
Review posted: 08/01/2014
Have you used this book?

Using Korean: A Guide to Contemporary Usage is a great book to turn to when you’re wondering how to properly express yourself depending on specific situations; the book mainly focuses on different contexts, sentence structures, and formalities to help students communicate with others while living in Korea.

Using Korean is set up like your usual language book with plenty of examples, charts, and language review. One thing to watch out for is that there aren’t any actual activities in the book. Although there are examples written in English you will notice that many of the texts written in Korean do not come with any pronunciation assistance or Romanized versions of the text. For this reason I feel that it’s very important for students to have at least an intermediate level of Korean reading/writing skills .Throughout the book’s 22 chapters the book goes over important vocabulary, grammar, idioms, verb tenses, language for daily situations and much more. One good thing about the book is that it truly is contemporary. It covers many modern day language points that typical Korean course books don’t go over (e.g. casual language use).

" The book can be somewhat plain and monotonous at times. The book is completely made up of text and there aren’t any pictures, illustrations, or even color (other than black and white)."

In each lesson students will work on a reading activity that focuses on a specific language point or grammar structure. After going over the reading activity there will be some examples in English, followed by some example sentences written in Korean. Each chapter follows this structure, but the book can be somewhat plain and monotonous at times. The book is completely made up of text and there aren’t any pictures, illustrations, or even color (other than black and white).The book does however cover a variety of language points, and it clearly explains some of the most technical aspects of the Korean language.


· Lots of language points are covered in the book.

· The book focuses on casual language skills (Idioms, proverbs, common phrases).

· The book explains difficult grammar structures in a detailed manner to help students fully understand what is being taught.


· Students must be able to read and understand Korean before working with this book.

· The chapters are heavy on text and don’t offer any real practice.

· The book does not come with any listening activities.

Recommended For:

· Students who want to understand the more technical aspects of Korean grammar.

· Students who want to learn the more casual and informal forms of the language.

· People who want to improve their reading comprehension skills.

Depending on what you’re looking for this book could be of some use to you or your students. If you’re looking to improve your speaking skills or if you’re looking to work on exercises to improve your knowledge of the language rather than reading straight text, then this book may not suit you. This book might be useful as complementary material for an intermediate level class, but personally I would not recommend this book as the main material for a Korean course.



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