Highly Recommended Products
This page will list and review my favorite and highly recommended products for learning Korean. If these products are used, they will greatly
help your Korean language skills.
Elementary and Continuing Korean
The Rosetta Stone software is an amazing learning tool for any of the foreign languages. It is my most recommended piece of software simply because it will help out anyone with Korean. The software is definitely intense and contains roughly 250+ hours of material. It will take your Korean to the next level.
Please click here for an in-depth review of Rosetta Stone Korean Level 1.
My second favorite program for learning Korean is the Pimsleur course. Now I admit, I have not been able to try and test out the new comprehensive Pimsleur Korean course yet. It was just very recently released. I have however done the basic Korean course that Pimsleur has had. It consists of 10 30-minute lessons. The comprehensive course will contain those 10 lessons plus 20 more.
The 10 lessons I have done are excellent lessons for Korean. The speakers are native speakers and the Pimsleur courses really help you to develop an ear for the language. As I have learned a few languages, one of the hardest things for me was to be able to listen to it and understand it. It always seemed like the native speakers spoke so fast. My mind couldn't process it that fast. This is a course that will help you a lot with that. It is a complete audio course. The comprehensive edition will have a few basic reading exercises included, but the lessons are 30 minutes of listening. This helps a lot with listening and speaking. You can use it in the car, cd player, your new ipod, anything you want.
Now, although I haven't actually used the comprehensive edition yet myself, I do know that it will be very good. This is because I have done both the Spanish I, Spanish II, Spanish III, and French I comprehensive Pimsleur courses. Korean is a little behind. They just made the Korean I comprehensive course. If it is anything like their other comprehensive courses, it should be great.
What I have noticed the comprehensive courses tend to do is they will teach you basic stuff at first. They will slowly build your vocabulary and grammar and sentence structure. The whole time it improves your listening and speaking abilities for the language. Also, they seem to cover polite styles of speech first and then later on in lessons will switch to a more casual style. That is what I expect will happen in the Korean series as well. The first 10 lessons (the course I did) are in the formal style of speech. I have a strong feeling that it switches to a polite style that isn't so formal later on. With both the Spanish and French courses this was the case.
I do highly recommend this. If you combine this with a good book on Korean such as Integrated Korean or Elementary Korean (to help with writing and spelling, etc.), your Korean will improve drastically. Your listening, speaking, and writing will turn out to be excellent.
I looked around, and buying from the Pimsleur website costs too much. If you click the title Pimsleur above the review, it will take you to the best price available. It is more than $50.00 cheaper than other websites. It still costs more money than some other products (I believe it is currently costing $147.00 at this site now). However, it and Rosetta Stone are the most complete and best courses. They just cost more. They are both worth it. If you are interested and click the link above (Pimsleur title), it will take you to the home page. Simply go to Korean on the left. There are three products, two of which are for learning Korean. One is the 10 lesson one that I have personally done (Compact Korean) and the other is Comprehensive Korean, which is 30 lessons.
Also, this site currently accepts paypal as an the main payment method. If you don't already have an account, it will require you to set up an account (completely free, no worries. Easy and quick to set up as well). It takes a few extra minutes, but it is easily worth it since you will be saving over $50.00. It only takes a few minutes and will not cost you any extra money. Paypal lets you pay by both credit card or directly from your bank (you're choice).
Elementary and Continuing Korean
First off, Elementary Korean is the first half of a two book series. Continuing Korean is the second half. Elementary Korean contains lessons 1-15, while Continuing Korean contains lessons 16-30.
This is an excellent series if you are interested in learning Korean and can handle tons of content. I say this because these two books do lack pictures, and all the other stuff that could make reading more "enjoyable". They really just present the material and grammar, but do explain everything very well. There are no pictures or colors to distract you from the learning. If you can handle this and stay focused, then these books are excellent resources for learning Korean.
Both books do come with 1 audio cd. The audio cds mainly contain the dialogs (also written out at the beginning of each chapter). The cd for Elementary Korean has more than dialogs on it because it must first teach you to read and write Korean. It has all the sounds, examples, etc. It also will contain the full vocabulary list for the first "real" lesson (the first lesson that teaches vocabulary and grammar after you learn to read and write Korean). From there on, the cds mainly just contain the few dialogs at the beginning of each lesson.
The explanations of the grammar are very easy to understand and very thorough. The vocabulary lists are very good as well. I just highly recommend these books because they are very easy to understand, nice hardback books with a good binding, include an audio cd, and also present good vocabulary and grammar.
Also, one other thing that I really like about these books is the practice they provide. At the end of each lesson there is a lot of practice. This book will provide you basically all the practice you need unlike many other books. Also, the book contains the answers in the back of the book, which is definitely needed when you are teaching yourself. There are many different kinds of practice exercises as well for each chapter.
The books are reasonably priced for a nice textbook as well. Each book is definitely worth the money and contains a lot of content. Here is the cheapest price I have found as of now. The two links below take you to the cheapest price if you are interested.
Integrated Korean Series
The Integrated Korean series consists of 8 books. It is a great series for learning Korean and contains lots of content. The series is divided into Beginners, Intermediate, Advanced Intermediate, and Advanced. Each "set" consists of two books, meaning there is Beginners 1, Beginners 2, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, and so on. Each book contains roughly 8 lessons.
The Integrated Korean series explains the grammar very well. There are a few pictures but not too many. There is no color in this series just like Elementary Korean. The content is definitely good though. Integrated Korean covers a few things Elementary Korean does not, and Elementary Korean covers a few things Integrated Korean does not. However, they both do an excellent job and both do cover the major topics very well. I find that Integrated Korean books are pretty well organized into categories for each lesson. Each lesson is usually pretty specific to a certain topic and then contains grammar after that.
For practice, the Integrated Korean books alone are just alright. Each book does contain some practice after each lesson. If you want plenty of practice however, you will want to purchase the Integrated Korean workbooks. There is a workbook for each of the lesson books. Unfortunately they do not come packaged with the lesson book so you will have to pay an extra $15.00 or so for a workbook. There are not cds included either, but there are audio files available for users to listen to online.
The content more than makes up for the lack of included exercises in the lessons books and lack of audio cd. This book series is probably the most in depth book series I have come across. The only downside of it is the series is spread out across 8 books. The books are fairly cheap however at least. Here is a link to the first two in the series. You can find the other ones from those links easily.
Learn Korean Language now provides an in-depth review for each Declan product here.
Declan Software has produced four Korean products that are highly recommended (hence I am adding them to this page!) and also very affordable. They are: Korean Hakgyo, Korean Flashcards, Korean Dictionary,and ReadWrite Korean.
Korean Hakgyo is a Korean course that contains 15 lessons. The program is pretty good and contains some good grammar and vocabulary instruction. It is not as in-depth as some other courses, but it is very clear with what it says and easy to understand. There are examples provided as well, including audio for each sample sentence. There are also some pretty good exercises within each lesson. It is a good and affordable basic Korean course.
Korean Flashcards is probably my favorite of the Declan Software. It is one of the best flashcard programs I have seen and is also cheap. It is basically a flashcard program made to help you learn vocabulary. It comes with sets of flashcards, and there are more to download for free from the website if you have the program. Also, you can make your own flashcards and flashcard sets if you want to. All the flashcards have sound for each flashcard so you know how to say the word. Also, there are exercises with each set of flashcards that you go through. These flashcards really helped me learn vocabulary quickly and efficiently.
Korean Dictionary is a nice Korean-English dictionary for your computer. It runs very fast and has a pretty good amount of words in it. Also, it provides examples for the words when you look up a word, and provides related words as well. It is really easy to use and works a lot better than the free online dictionaries.
ReadWrite Korean is the final program. It does a very good job at teaching someone to read and write in the Korean alphabet, Hangul. Also, you learn how to type in the alphabet as well. This teaches you the proper stroke order instead of just the basic shape of the character as well. There are audio files for this program as well, along with exercises.
Each one of these programs is very good and very affordable in my opinion. Declan Software also gives you a good discount if you purchase all four together (30% discount - pretty much buy 3 and get the last one free.) This is a very good deal for everything you get. I still use the programs every day (with the exception of ReadWrite Korean). I just really highly recommend these programs because they are really good and the price is unbeatable.
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