Learning Aids for Korean


Dick Grune

I am trying to learn Korean, and I am trying to make it as easy as possible (even if that's sometimes a lot of effort). Here are a couple of notes that helped me. Some of it was distilled from Internet sources, some of it is my own invention; I hope it is helpful.

See also my home page under "Korean".

* The Korean Speech Levels
The descriptions of the Korean speech levels in different text books match one another more or less, but not very well. This is how I understand the situation.

* The Korean Vowels
Text books make Korean a language with more vowels than consonants: 21 vowels against 19 consonants. This text explains how Korean got its 21 vowels. (Hint: it's partly in your definition of "vowel".) Also why are there three characters, ㅙ, ㅞ, and ㅚ, all pronounced “we”? And why is ㅚ pronounced “we” by some and “ø” by others; and ㅟ both as “wi” and as “ü”?

* Chul Young Lee's "Korean Grammar Textbook", indexed
This is a 61 page sketch of the Korean grammar textbook `Essential Grammar For Korean as a Second Language' by a Chul Young Lee from 2004, which I find very useful. It is very dense on information, and has long lists of many features of Korean. I have added an index so the roughly 140 entries can each be accessed at a click.
I have tried to contact Mr. Lee, to ask what became of the book, but failed. If anybody has more information, please tell me.

* 그래요, 그러면, and all that
There are at least a dozen words like that. Why do they look so similar and yet so different?


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