[Review] 서강 한국어 쓰기1 (Academic Purpose)

Okay, so finally here’s the long overdue review.  I wanted to do it last weekend, but the weather was just unbearably hot (we had a terrible smoky haze, and it made everything hot and smoky, and everyone got sick) so I just made up excuses in my head and watched youtube videos all weekend instead.

So it’s this weekend now, here goes! My review of 서강 한국어 쓰기1 (Academic Purpose). First things first, I’ve never done a book review before so if I miss out any details, or am not clear enough, leave a comment or a question, and I’ll try my best to answer you 🙂  Also note that I have flipped through the book, but have not worked on any of the exercises.


Product Description:
No. of pages: 218
Size: 210mm x 275mm (slightly shorter than A4 size)
Weight: 0.7kg
ISBN-13: 9788992491716 14710 / 9788992491723 14710
ISBN-10: 8992491719
Publisher: Korean Language Education Center, Sogang University
Publish Year: 2012
Buy it at: Twochois.com (Thank you for sending me this book!)

At first when I got the book, I thought that it might be beyond my level (I’m doing Seoul University’s Active Korean 4, or around end of Yonsei 1, start of Yonsei 2, just as a gauge).  But after looking at it in details, the grammar points featured are pretty much lower than or aroundT this level: ~이/가, ~은/는, ~을/를, ~고, ~만, ~에게, ~에서 etc.

Further thoughts are that, this book is really meant for classroom teaching, I do have some reasons for that conclusion. Maybe that’s also why it’s marked as an (Academic Purpose) textbook.

Another thing to note is I do study Korean in a formal-ish classroom setting.  It’s at the local community centre, my teacher is a very nice Korean lady who’s very experienced in teaching foreign students, my classmates consists of both older working adults and teenage full-time students, and I attend classes once a week. So I’m not used to self-studying at all, unlike many of the learning-korean bloggers that I follow.

On to the book! There’s a total of 8 chapters, and the book is built around the life of a first-year university student, especially that of a foreigner studying in Korea, so you get chapters such as 입학, 강의, 학생 활동  and 대학 생활.  Each chapter consists of the 주제, 일기, 연습, and 쓰기.

The 주제 mostly contains pictures or simple dialogues which I think serve as discussion points. So tutors or students are supposed to discuss about their 입학 experiences with each other, in Korean presumably 🙂 There also some simple Q&A in join-the-dot or fill-in-the-blank formats, and spaces where I guess you can write in your answers in full, to practice your 쓰기.

The 주제 usually has things like a short dialogue or pictures for discussion.

The 주제 usually has things like a short dialogue or pictures for discussion.

The 주제 also has some short Q&A portions, and spaces presumably to write in your answers.

The 주제 also has some short Q&A portions, and spaces presumably to write in your answers.

The 일기 portion comes with things like event posters, student interviews, school notices etc that you can read out loud for practice. The example picture I have is a bit short, but the other chapters contain much longer 일기 passages. There are also short Q&As in the form of fill-in-the-blanks or O/X formats.

An integral part of Korean textbooks,  일기, with questions to test your understanding

An integral part of Korean textbooks, 일기, with questions to test your understanding

The next portion of each chapter, 연습, focuses on grammar and conjugation practice. There’s also some parts where you get to practice short dialogues with classmates (?) and write them into your book.

연습 is mostly about grammar practice...

연습 is mostly about grammar practice…

and conjugation practice, with lots of fill-in-the blanks

and conjugation practice, with lots of fill-in-the blanks

The last portion of each chapter, and the longest, is the 써 portion. The textbook makes this quite interesting by changing it up in every chapter. You don’t just get a boring question like 자기 소개문을 쓰십시오. In chapter 1, they get you to draw a mind-map following an example provided, then write your 자기 소개문. Other chapters include writing a blog entry(yay!), prepare presentation slides, talk about MT culture, write emails, summarize students’ university-entrance interviews and more.

쓰기 comes in difference formts: You could be asked to create mindmaps about someone else's or even your own character and then write a 자기 소개문

쓰기 comes in difference formts: You could be asked to create mindmaps about someone else’s or even your own character and then write a 자기 소개문


or figure out how to write an email to your professor, maybe to request a report deadline extension?

My summary and thoughts: The format of this textbook is much like any other textbook (so far I’ve seen Seoul Uni, Yonsei Uni and Kyunghee Uni textbooks).  The difference is that for this book, the chapters are built around an ‘imaginary’ student, to coincide with what would be his/her experiences as he/she enters 1st year in university as a foreign student. It would be interesting to be able to talk about 엠티  culture or summarize student interviews, but again as a foreign student studying in foreign country, or on your own, this might not make sense.

Also, as mentioned, I feel that this serves it’s purpose better as a classroom textbook, because from what I see, a lot of it revolves around teacher-student or group student discussions.  From my POV, it’d be rather boring to write about 엠티 culture, whereas it would serve as a very lively discussion among students who are experiencing it ‘right now’.

Certain parts, like dialogues, don’t have proper section titles or intros and begin rather abruptly, again, maybe requiring tutor-student interaction/discussion. Other parts, especially the writing portions, at least have proper explanations as to what to do.  But personally sometimes, as a basic-intermediate student, I am at a loss as to what to think/write about.

There’s not one English word in the book by the way, so even though the grammar points are quite basic, beginner students will have a bit of a problem comprehending some parts of the book. I mean, I don’t consider myself a beginner student anymore, and I have to have my Android app Korean dictionary beside me for this book.

There is a lot of practice provided for writing, of course. I do like the different scenarios presented, because you get to practice making different types of sentences. The usual textbooks just come up with very similar questions until after a while you can’t be bothered to think up new sentences anymore.

But again, in terms of 쓰기, sometimes you just need someone who actually knows what they’re doing to correct your sentence structure or your grammar. If you do have a Korean friend or teacher around who’s willing to do it in their spare time/out of the goodness of their hearts/for free, that’s be great. If not, the book is great for practicing writing or making up sentences, but you never know if your answers are right…not correct per se, there’s no right or wrong answer for open-ended questions after all.

Also, because it is a university textbook, you don’t find any sort of ‘set’ curriculum that leads towards the TOPIK exam, unlike many other books out there.

I don’t have any major likes or dislikes about this textbook. I think that in the correct setting, this would be a fantastic book for sentence/passage/essay practice. In the wrong setting, it doesn’t seem like it would be an extremely useful book for learning.  Again, as pointed out, I’m not used to self-studying Korean.

I know some other reviewers do give number of stars or ratings for certain categories, but I don’t think I’m a good enough reviewer for that right now. So I’ll end with this:

Conclusion and Personal recommendations:
Good for practising writing
Good for reviewing basic/intermediate vocab and grammar
Good for actual university classroom rather than self-study
May not have enough space for writing
Pet Peeve: bad choice of paper for writing and reading (in certain light)

The one pet peeve I do have is for almost ALL Korean textbooks out there (not workbooks though): semi-glossy paperrrrr!!!! I’m really peeved when I see glossy or semi-glossy paper in textbooks. The main reason is because I’m a scribbler. I’ve loved to scribble in my textbooks ever since primary school. It could be actual study notes, little words or thoughts when I get distracted, or even just random colouring here and there.

I also found that while learning Korean, I attribute certain vocabulary or certain grammar towards certain chapters, it’s just the way my brain functions.  By scribbling within the chapter itself means that using this weird attribution method, flipping to the chapter equals finding what I need.  This glossy paper. really. is. not. good. for. scribbling. I end up having to tear notepaper out of whichever notebook is handy and slotting them in where they should be, and slotting them in means they have a tendency to fall out later.

Also you can see light reflects off the pages at certain angles (bad bad). I usually have to prop these books up just to read them.

glossy paperrrrrr in the Sogang textbook

glossy paperrrrrr in the Sogang textbook

born scibbler!!

I’m a born scribbler!! This is my Seoul National University Active Korean 4, also glossy paperrrrrr

Oh well, that’s just me. I just get weird peeves or dislikes sometimes.

So that’s my review of 서강 한국어 쓰기1 (Academic Purpose).  I hope this review was okay or at least coherent enough for your understanding.  I have a tendency to blab on and on sometimes, so this review has become rather long. If you want more details about any parts of the book, leave a comment!

Also, sorry about the bad picture quality! the lighting in my room is very dim, and the desk lamp I have isn’t a reading lamp, so everything turns out dim and yellow, sorry!!

Again, thanks to TwoChois.com for selecting me as a winner in their lucky draw! I love you guys! I’m going to send in my order once you’re back from holidays! Happy holidays!


I Love Parcels! Especially From Korea!

It’s here!


I love parcels! Especially from Korea!

I reblogged about the Lucky Draw Bonus Week from the twochois blog a few weeks back, and who knew, I was actually the lucky one who got it, the very first time I tried out for it.  I’ve been waiting eagerly for the book, and now it’s here!

As promised, I will do the book review for 서강 한국어 쓰기 1, but it won’t be this weekend.  Busy busy weekend coming up unfortunately.


1Choi and 2Choi hard at work shipping all over the world, as seen on their About Us page

But first, more about twochois.com. They are basically an e-commerce site set up by 2 sisters  whose family name is ‘Choi’ (they call themselves 1Choi and 2Choi, 귀여워요!) ^_^ As per their About Us page, they “understand the difficulties of payment processing in many of Korean online stores, so twoChois.com place orders on behalf of our customers and send items to their home.”

You can get Korean products two ways.  Firstly, by their selection: the twochois make a variety of Korea-published books (magazines, language textbooks, cooking books, stationery, even drama scripts!) available for purchase on their e-commerce site. I’ve already got a few in my shopping cart, just waiting for me to click ‘PAY’!

Secondly, if you have products you want to buy from other Korean online shopping sites, you can put in ‘special order requests’ with twochois. They’ll get everything calculated, so all you have to do is pay them, and they’ll get everything ordered and shipped to you!  So this is the “代購” method that I mentioned in my earlier post. I can’t find a specific translation into English or Korean for this word, but it’s a huge thing now with online shoppers who frequent China shopping sites.

Their site is set up really professionally too, so you really feel safe while shopping there. The 1st time I visited their site, I was really surprised that it could even detect my location, and listed all prices automatically in SGD! (Or is it already set up that way?)  Even if you don’t want to pay by credit card, you can still pay via Paypal too.  Shipping rates, polices, and refund rules are also listed very clearly.

The packages they send out are also very nicely and carefully wrapped.  Books are wrapped in thick plastic, and then in bubble wrap. Everything is placed nicely into the shipping carton and shipping labels were also clearly typed and labelled.  Even though my package was only through a lucky draw, I could tell a lot of care was taken with it.  I’m the type who loves my brand-new books and can’t even stand one little dog-ear on them (it’s a different story once I’ve had them for a while 😛), so this means a lot to me!

Ok, I’ve said a lot, but no review yet! It’ll be coming soon, I promise!  In the meantime, if you have anything you want to buy from Korea, go to Twochois.com! ^_^

[Apply Now] 6th Book Review Lucky Draw.

Twochois.com is having their 6th Book Review Lucky Draw. That’s really fast! Anyway the 6th draw is for the Complete Guide to the TOPIK Basic. All you have to do is Like their Facebook page, leave a comment on the lucky draw post and share the post on your blog or Facebook. The way they choose the winner is really cute too!



다들 잘 지내셨나요?

제 5 회 Lucky Draw에 많은 관심을 보내주셔서 감사합니다.

오늘부터 진행되는 여섯 번째 Lucky Draw도 많은 관심 부탁드려요- >_<

This book is suitable for people who are willing to take TOPIK.

Book Info.


Complete Guide to the TOPIK_Basic
Author : Seoul Korean Language Academy Book page : 200 pages Supplement : 2 Audio CDs

‘Complete Guide to the TOPIK Basic’ aims to be a perfect preparation book for the TOPIK tests for the basic level, which is, a proper standardization of Korean language principles. This book is focused on understanding of the TOPIK through sections divided by question type and includes in-depth explanations of questions from previous TOPIK tests. The book consists of Part 1, 2, and 3 in the order of expression (vocabulary & grammar, writing) and comprehension (listening and reading) according to the question types on the TOPIK. Thus, the learners can prepare for…

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I have no reasons to learn Korean???

ah, ok, I finally figured out the TOPIK website and logged in to get my results! Level 2 Pass! I’m happy about that, although I feel that my marks in certain areas, especially 쓰기 could have been a lot better.

I’m now inspired again to study just that little bit harder, as I’m hoping to try for Intermediate TOPIK in 2014.  So much so I’ve been lingering over some books on Twochois.com and wondering if it’s worth spending S$60 on a couple of Intermediate TOPIK books (erm, plus the Reply 1997 novel).

16 May was actually my 2nd year anniversary since starting Korean lessons and that, plus my TOPIK results plus the inspiration to do the Intermediate TOPIK, got me thinking as to why I’m doing this. I’m spending quite a bit of money on Korean lessons. Lessons with my teacher at the CC cost an average of S$150 a term, textbooks are about $20-$40 a pop. Lessons with the other class are double that. I’ve also bought some Korean textbooks here and there, either last year when I went to Korea, or like now, where I’m eyeing those books, oh so longingly, on Twochois.  I occasionally visit TTMIK and download their lessons, and am still considering getting their textbooks too. 현우 선생님 and team makes learning Korean a lot of fun!! (Is it me, or is everyone tempted to get all their TTMIK textbooks? I absolutely don’t need Level 1 or even 2 books anymore, but I’m just so tempted to collect the whole series.)

I’m not intensively working my way towards working in a Korean company. I love the country, the language, the people, the culture and the history, but that strict hierarchical system that’s inherent in every Korean company is just not for me.  I’m just more westernised when it comes to working styles: everybody should be able to call their bosses by name and be able to speak their minds (to a certain limit) about their work.

I’ve had dreams of, but will never, study in a Korean university, whether be it for a summer language course, or for a full-time degree. Mainly because I’m too old to do it by now, and secondly because I can’t afford to take any long periods of time off work. I might be able to secure a sabbatical if I were with a big multi-national, but I’m not, so that dream is definitely not coming true.

I don’t have, nor will I ever will have a Korean boyfriend.  That’s an even wilder dream than the studying one lol.

I don’t even have Korean friends. And the Koreans who are in Singapore (who I could potentially get to befriend) speak English pretty well.

So …. I have no reasons to learn Korean!! lol

But I still am! I don’t care! I think part of me just wants to excel do well at something that’s a bit different from my friends, and maybe becoming a polyglot is just one of those ways 🙂

*rant mode over*

I’m gonna go do my homework now.  I’m finding it really hard to construct sentences that say more than just 심심하니까 영화를 보고깊어요. Does anyone have any tips on slightly more complicated sentence construction? help!

How Do You Say ‘Slacker’ in Korean?

Because that’s what I really want to call myself.  Other than spazzing on korean dramas and just attending Korean class, I haven’t done anything Korean-study-related since the TOPIK paper.  I’ve been spazzing so hard that I didn’t even realise the TOPIK results came out … 3 days ago.

So now I can’t access the TOPIK site, likely because the whole world has been trying to get in for the past 3 days. That’s what I get for being lazy and happily snacking on Jagabee and F44.


I’ve also got an essay to hand in by tomorrow…no, today actually, since it’s already 1am, but I’m sooooo uninspired right now.

I’m feeling a lot of respect right now for the all self-learners whose blogs I follow.  What inspires you as a Korean learner to actually sit down and study and do your homework???  Or if you know how to say ‘slacker’ in Korean, feel free to call me one. 🙂

[Lucky Draw Bonus Week!] We have one more. :)

[Lucky Draw Bonus Week!] We have one more. 🙂. via http://twochois.wordpress.com/

This is cool.  I only got to know about the Two Chois last week, through one of the many Korean learner blogs that I follow here on WordPress.  And I saw this lucky draw post pop up on my reader today via ♥♥SOSHI LOVE ❤.

I haven’t thoroughly explored the Two Chois yet, although I’m already loving their service.  It’s pretty much a 代購 service for Korean books and goods. And it’s so cool that they hold these lucky draws for their blog readers, and give away products esp textbooks for review.

I will put up more info as soon as I get some time to explore further.  But I think I might go broke first because they carry so many Korean textbooks!! I’m already eyeing this 응답하라 1997 novel? book? I don’t care! it’s 응답하라 1997!

The Big Day 한국어 능력 시험 제30회 초급

So the big day came…and went. I didn’t blog about it as the last 2 months have been crazy at work (and  I’d also been ‘busy’ being fixated on 2 korean medical dramas back-to-back).

한국어 능력 시험 제30회 초급 took place at the Singapore Korean School, which is located at a pretty hard-to-get-to location.  They do provide shuttle buses operating from a couple of convenient locations, but not having taken them before I decided to just make it there by cab.  Being very early on a Sunday morning, I made it with plenty of time to spare.

Things to note:

– If you’ve never been to the school before, give yourself some spare time to find your way around.  It’s small, but a lot of tests are taking place at the same time, and I didn’t think the maps or signages helped very well.

– Eat your breakfast beforehand, or at least drink your coffee at home. There’s no food available anywhere, just a couple of vending machines selling soft drinks. Well, at least this applies for Singapore, and for people who need breakfast in them.

Bring a jacket! This is THE most important point.  The basic test took place in the assembly hall, and all aircon units were on at full blast, probably to combat the number of people in there. But that Sunday morning turned out to be rather rainy, and the a/c was freezing.  Luckily they switched it off during the 듣기 section, so it felt a bit better.

– Be sure be sure be sure to take note of the time, especially in the first paper which consists of 어휘/문법and 쓰기. My brain was somehow blocked that morning and I kept thinking I had 2 hours, whereas the paper is only 1.5 hours. That meant that I left myself with only a bare 20mins to finish up the last, most important question in 쓰기 that carries the most marks.  *sigh*

– Don’t check answers, there’s not enough time. Be sure of your answer, mark it and move on.  Answers have to be ‘coloured’ using a marker, and to change answers, you’ll have to change the entire answer paper.  The paper was actually easier that I thought it would be, so I kept re-reading and checking myself, which led to that whole 2 hours instead of 1.5 hours fiasco.

So now comes 디-대이 or should it be R-day for results.  I doubt if I’ll fail, but I don’t think I’ll be getting that Level 2 pass after all.