[Review] Talk to Me in Korean: Level 1 textbook
I am finally finished with Book 1 of Talk to Me in Korean! It has taken me almost three years, believe it or not lol. I just couldn’t bring myself to move on from this book. I’ve completed it twice and have even gone through many other times to review lessons and write notes. I think this book serves as a great base for Korean language beginners and will definitely get you talking in basic sentences immediately. I found my self continually coming back to this books just to flip through and brush up on my basics.
The structure of the book is simple and easy to navigate. Each chapter is short and straight to the point. I like to call the lessons “bite size” lol. Because the lessons are so short and easy to consume, I think this book will be great for working adults who desire to learn a language but don’t have much time to set aside for it.
Each chapter has a small amount of vocabulary that I actually enjoyed. I am used to language textbooks having an insanely intimidating amount of vocabulary per chapter. But that is overwhelming and has been the reason that I’ve stopped using books in the past. But TTMIK keeps the vocabulary at a low amount that does not overwhelm the user but is still enough to learn and put to use with the grammar points presented in the book.
Each chapter also ends with learning exercises and a very brief dialogue showcasing the grammar point taught in that chapter. The English translation of the dialogue is right next to the Korean dialogue if needed. I first purchased and started using this book back when TTMIK had their old website so I could click on the individual audio clips and listen that way. Now, with their new website, you have to listen to the entire audio lesson and there are no individual audio clips. (If there are, please correct me if I am wrong. I have the free account and only have the option of playing the whole lesson audio which is mostly the book lesson verbatim).
Before listening, when reading the dialogue, I liked to cover the English side and see how much of the Korean I actually understand to practice my reading. Most times, I was able to understand everything. Other times, new vocab was introduced, and I needed to read the English side to get the translation. I like this because it made my reading practice simple.
The TTMIK books are very self-study friendly and all the answers are in the back of the book, which I like. I hate it when textbooks don’t have an answer key yet market it towards self-learners.
Overall, I really enjoyed TTMIK Book 1. It is a fairly thin book and if you have more time than most to devote to languages, you will be able to breeze right through this book. The reason I stayed with this book so long is because I just didn’t feel ready to move on. The information in here is very basic and I kept feeling like I’m not ready to move on to a higher-level book simply because my knowledge and vocab retention wasn’t up to par. I understand how counterintuitive that is though, lol. I will never get to a higher level if I keep stalling and reviewing the same old book. But I guess I had attachment issues or something lol. This was the first Korean textbook that I’ve ever completed so it kind of felt like it was my baby. I’m weird, I know.
But if you’re looking for a textbook to start your journey with the Korean language, I 100% recommend Talk to Me in Korean. They have been around since 2009 (maybe 2008?) and I have been using their online material since 2017. The TTMIK staff are very present online and respond to questions from language learners daily. So, give TTMIK a try if you haven’t already.