[Book Review] Hangeul Master

Hangeul Master by Talk To Me In Korean.

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I purchased this book because I am a “from scratch” learner of the Korean Language. Hangeul used to just be strange shapes on a paper to me, so I needed this book (or any Hangeul book) to get me started in the language. The very first time I was introduced to Hangeul was in 2016 when I stumbled across this website here. It was quick and fun and I recommend reading it, but when I got serious with Korean I needed a bit more.

If I remember correctly, it took me about a month to complete the Hangeul Master book. The book starts off with the history of Hangeul followed by an introduction to the writing system. After that you will be taught the vowels, consonants, double consonants, and diphthongs (which they refer to as Compound Vowels). It is broken up into sections so as not to overwhelm the learner and each section ends with a short quiz.

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You are also able to download the audio from online to practice listening to the sounds the Hangeul letters are supposed to make. As an English speaker, certain sounds were super hard for me to distinguish from others no matter how many times I replayed the audio. But that will just come with time and practice, I guess.

The book also has some “Time Out” sections throughout so you can take a break. The time out sections are cultural tidbits that are interesting to read about such as abbreviations in Korean slang. I found this section especially interesting because I don’t have Korean friends nor am I a part of any forums or anything, so I probably would have never seen some of these slang words and abbreviations otherwise.

There are also practice pages where you can practice writing some Hangeul and even learn some vocabulary along the way. After finishing the book though, I have only remembered two words: 우유 and 고양이 (milk and cat). Since I was just learning Hangeul, I really wasn’t focused on retaining any vocab. I just wanted to learn Hangeul.

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After learning Hangeul, the rest of the book is just showing you the different types of handwriting styles. Samples of handwriting were taken from actual people to put in this book. I won’t lie, after a page or two, I just skipped through this section. The majority of the handwriting looked like chicken scratch anyway and I didn’t feel that it was very helpful.

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Overall, I liked the book and would recommend it but you definitely won’t be a “master” at Hangeul after completing this book. I mean, maybe, if you can read the sloppy handwriting samples that were submitted for this book lol. But mastering the sounds of Hangeul and memorizing the letters takes time. I personally struggle with diphthongs/compound vowels the most but I have no problem picking this book up again and flipping through to review it and listening to the audio downloads again.

Recommend: Yes 👌🏾

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