Book Reviews

From a review by Dr. Ross King
Professor of Korean, University of British Columbia
Dean, Korean Language Village, Concordia Language Villages
for the NECTFL Review

The books are well-organized and well sign-posted; they make excellent use of color illustrations, clip art, callouts/bubbles, reminders, cautions, “language points,” and other design elements for a dynamic and attractive look that catches the eye and motivates students. … This is definitely the most attractive and user-friendly KFL textbook to appear to date.

the authors are truly attuned to the errors that North American non-heritage learners are most likely to make…

The cultural notes are excellent and highly entertaining. The “Culture Shock” sections in Book 3 are rich in content, up-to-date, and relevant…

Overall, the grammar notes/structural explanations are concise without being too sketchy …, and well-exemplified…

The authors adopt a thematic approach [to vocabulary], with useful and enjoyable items throughout … such a useful and pleasurable vocabulary set for a beginning KFL text…

One of the great innovations in this book is its use of catchy mnemonic devices to help students remember different things. Thus, the ‘Mnemonics for Vowels’ and ‘Mnemonics for Consonants’ are brilliant and a major contribution to teaching Korean script in North America…

[on the inclusion of songs and poems] the authors are to be commended for reaching out to both literature and popular culture…

The authors use a broad array of stimulating and fun quizzes, bingo games, True or False sections, word searches, fill in the blanks, complete the picture, excellent Reading Practices, as well as more traditional translation exercises…

In my opinion, this series will soon establish itself as the best, funniest, and most popular KFL textbook series for non-heritage learners. It is a major accomplishment and valuable contribution to the fields of Korean Studies and KFL pedagogy, full of creativity, originality, humor and sensitivity to North American university circumstances…


User comments:

I also want you to know that this is the best text book I've ever used! ... yes, you can use my comments on your website. I do think that the textbook is the best one among all the Korean textbooks.

-- email from Seattle, WA


I am very impressed with the quality of both the text and the workbook. It’s probably the best series I've seen. … As I said, I love your materials so much. I was previously trying to use "[X]", which was okay, but "You Speak Korean" is definitely top notch. … I hope that more people find out about your textbooks. It’s very difficult to learn a language like Korean on your own, and most of the resources available are lacking. I've spent so much money on other books and CDs. I feel like with You Speak Korean!, I will finally be successful in learning Korean. I look forward to working through all of the books in the series and will be recommending your books online and to people I meet who are interested in learning Korean.

-- email from Los Angeles County, CA


I really love both volumes of You Speak Korean! [Volumes 1 and 2]. Are there any plans to publish books for second-year students (a volume 3 and volume 4)? …I really hope you will publish additional volumes because this is by far the clearest and most user-friendly Korean language textbook I've ever used. … This series is so good; I just can't say enough how much I wish it would continue. Many thanks.

-- email from Maryland


I have really been enjoying using Book 4; it was definitely worth the wait. The explanations of vocabulary and grammar are really what sets ParadigmBusters’ Korean books apart from everybody else’s textbooks. I have recommended these books, and announced the release of Volume 4, on 3 different Korean language learning web sites so I hope they will get the recognition they deserve.

-- email from Maryland


Thank you for making such a good learning aid. I've bought other textbooks such as [X], [Y] and [Z] and this You Speak Korean book is definitely the best.

-- Jory Pestorious, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Most beginning-level language materials suffer from awkward dialogues due to the students’ level, but “You Speak Korean!” offers natural everyday dialogues, the direct result of well-structured lessons and systematically-introduced vocabulary and grammar. Each lesson lays out a core grammar point plus additional small grammar points, which helps the instructor plan a weekly teaching schedule. The grammar exercises that follow the grammar lesson also encourage everyday vocabulary, making Illustrating that “You Speak Korean!” is written for real-life application and not just for studying the grammar of Korean. (*Grammar for Grammar’s Sake) … Full-color pictures and charts are aptly used in various places for easy and fun acquisition of vocabulary and grammar.

-- Taeyoun Ahn (University of Washington, Ph.D. in TESL)


The series explains grammar points from the view of learners in a comprehensive way, so it is very easy for non-heritage learners to preview and review outside of the classroom. Moreover, dialogues in each lesson and colorful clip art illustrations enhance students’ understanding and keep them from feeling bored. The series is also excellent for teachers to use in the classroom since it comes with a lot of activities (exercises).

-- Minsook Kim (University of Wisconsin, Ph.D. in Linguistics)



I am very impressed with what you've done with YOU SPEAK KOREAN! … I just think your book is a really wonderful piece of work.

– letter from publishing professional


“The first thing I notice about ‘You Speak Korean!’ is that it makes learning Korean look easier than other textbooks. … other textbooks don’t even try to really explain the difference between subject and topic markers. I’ve noticed that the point was introduced early, tested and reinforced often [in “You Speak Korean!”]


…While I was aware that word order in Korean is flexible, “You Speak Korean!” was the first time the importance of word order (the focus position, putting words nearer the noun) was discussed at all. As my language goals include a lot of conversation, I hope that drilling those points early and often will lead to more natural speech and writing. …


Other Korean textbooks I’ve seen are tough on Korean culture but the culture notes in “You Speak Korean!” seem more informative (or at least well placed).”