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Dick Grune (Netherlands)
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Collins Gem Korean Dictionary (Collins Gem)
Collins Gem Korean Dictionary (Collins Gem)
by Collins Dictionaries
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Well-balanced little dictionary, giving “fair coverage” to both Korean and English, 13 Jan. 2016
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Very pocketable dictionary with more than 9000 Korean and about 9000 English entries, both with pronunciation guide, all in a 7 pts. font, which forces me to use a magnifying glass. Before this I used Hippocrene Korean-English English-Korean Dictionary, but this one is far superior, except for the font size.
The booklet has two unusual properties.
1. Unlike most dictionaries called “Language X Dictionary”, which are geared to speakers of language X who want to learn English (usually a commercial majority) and which are thus less than useful for speakers of English who want to learn language X (usually a negligible number), this the dictionary is well-balanced, not aimed specifically at either Korean or English users, giving “fair coverage” to both languages.
2. Given the unusual semantics of some Korean verbs, some verbs are translated by sample sentences only. An example is the verb 흠쳐가다, which means something like “to steal something and run with it”, which is translated using a sentence implying that meaning. This method actually works quite well.


The Languages of Japan (Cambridge Language Surveys)
The Languages of Japan (Cambridge Language Surveys)
by Shibatani
Edition: Paperback
Price: £44.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting and often original., 30 Nov. 2015
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The book consists of 2 parts, 85 pages of Ainu grammar, and some 300 pages of information on Japanese; both parts are very interesting and often original.
Grammars of Ainu are rare (and expensive), so this one is very welcome. Ainu (Classical Ainu and its several modern dialects) is described as a relatively simple language of the agglutinative and incorporating type, with limited morphological and syntactic complexity, unlike the surrounding Japanese and Korean languages, but with two very uncommon features: 1. the basic meaning of the verb is static, so often it represents a past tense or a passive; and 2. the use of "applicative particles", particles that are prefixed to a verb, which allow the indirect object or the location to become the direct object. The consequences and interplay of these features are discussed with enough examples.
The 300 pages about Japanese cover its genetic affiliation (hesitantly Eurasian), history (including information about Old Japanese), lexicon, phonology, dialects (with pitch differences), word formation, and grammatical structure (130 pages).
Japanese emerges from the description not as a single language but as a language group consisting of between 30 and 50 often mutually unintelligible dialects, which in many cases might as well be called separate languages. A historical explanation of this state of affairs is given, with examples of developments and innovations spreading from the cultural centers.


Introduction to Sumerian Grammar
Introduction to Sumerian Grammar
by Daniel A Foxvog
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The facts, with translation hints and exercises, 29 Nov. 2015
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Matter-of-fact description of the Sumerian language, based on lecture notes, with warnings and hints for avoiding pitfalls when particles or constructions might be confused or misinterpreted. The author is not given to theorizing, and does not even begin to suggest why there would 7 different signs that are pronounced 'gu', although sometimes alternative analyses are presented. The explanations are clear, with neat tables and enough examples, but their relationship to the surrounding material is sometimes puzzling. There is an appendix of 16 exercises, ranging from simple to serious; the exercises refer to a "glossary" but it is not in the book, nor is it an accompanying publication that I can find.
The book is a typographical disaster, printed in a spidery non-proportional font with very long lines, and any structure present in the text is hardly mirrored in the layout. But, for 5 quid what am I complaining.


Languages and History: Japanese, Korean and Altaic
Languages and History: Japanese, Korean and Altaic
by Roy Andrew Miller
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Heated discussion of Macro-Altaic, 15 Nov. 2015
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Highly polemic discussion of the deplorable state of affairs in the research of Altaic, in which all opponents are eloquently and mercilessly put to the sword, in rolling paragraph after paragraph. Very amusing, but in all this expert lambasting the matter at hand --the relationship between Altaic, Korean, and Japanese-- sometimes gets pushed into the background, or worse, delegated to a reference to one of the author other works.

Still, sifting the linguistics from the chaff, many interesting etymologies can be uncovered, and a cogent case is made for some relationship between Japanese, Korean, and Altaic, although the author refrains from drawing a family tree, and shows that, in addition to genetic relationship, there is also borrowing.

Among the chapters are "Japanese and Korean in Altaic", "Altaic in Japanese and Korean", and "Borrowings", which shows how knowledge about the cultures can help identify borrowings. The book has two excellent indexes, one general, and one with the words from the various languages, ordered by language.


The Korean Language (Cambridge Language Surveys)
The Korean Language (Cambridge Language Surveys)
by Sohn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £39.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Jewel, 10 Jun. 2015
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Extensive description of all facets of the Korean language, including genetic affiliation, history, dialects, writing systems, pronunciation, syntax, grammar, and usage etiquette. Written for the interested and linguistically non-naive public, it keeps away from too much linguistic theory, as promised in the blurp. It is not a book to learn Korean from, but then that is not its purpose. For content and quality it would have rated five stars.

Its main drawback is the use of the Yale romanization system (apart from a romanization table there is no Hangeul in the entire book). The Yale romanization system is a disaster. It is very far removed from the pronunciation: the word "guronde" (= "by the way"), which is pronounced roughly like that, is romanized as "kulentey"). Although it allows the Korean writing to be reconstructed (almost!) exactly, it takes considerable mental effort to do so. This makes using the book hard work where one should be concentrating on the language. I suppose the use of Yale is a carry-over from Sohn's 1994 book "Koreean" (Routledge), which followed the Lingua Questionnaire format. Pity.

The use of the Yale romanization rates a one-star penalty, hence four stars.


Wild Korean: A Fieldguide to Real Korean Conversation
Wild Korean: A Fieldguide to Real Korean Conversation
by Sanghyun Ahn
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Korean not for Beginners, but not too advanced either, 9 May 2015
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Definitely as much fun to read and study as it promises on the cover! Lots of words, lots of anecdotes, all dialogs as mp3 files on the internet for a total of 60 minutes, keys to all exercises, and the translations of the dialogs at the back of the book, so you'll have to figure it out for yourselves first, excellent grammatical explanations available as pdf files on the internet. The typography is a little bit low-brow, but somehow that's to be expected. The drawings are hilarious, but perhaps not always suitable for classroom use... I think it 's a very good follow-up book to "Korean for Beginners", by Henry Amen & Kyubyong Park (which I also enjoyed a lot). Definitely worth the money (and time).


Integrated Korean Workbook: Beginning 1 (KLEAR Textbooks in Korean Language)
Integrated Korean Workbook: Beginning 1 (KLEAR Textbooks in Korean Language)
by Mee-Jeong Park
Edition: Paperback
Price: £18.95

1.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't use it., 30 Mar. 2015
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"Integrated Korean" by the same authors is an upbeat book with ample sound tracks and charming pictures. I find nothing of that back in the accompanying workbook: it has hardly any listening exercises and the audio files, promised on the cover, cannot be found on their web site. And there are no answers. I saw no way to use it and sent it back.


Dear Leader: North Korea's senior propagandist exposes shocking truths behind the regime
Dear Leader: North Korea's senior propagandist exposes shocking truths behind the regime
by Jang Jin-Sung
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life, fall from grace, and escape of an honored North-Korean artist, 30 Mar. 2015
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The book consists of chapters describing his adventures, from his meeting with Kim Jomg-Il through his escape to his settling in South-Korea, interspersed with chapters about the situation in North-Korea, in the famine years of his escape and later. The chapters set in North-Korea are very interesting for their detailed information on life there; the chapters about his escape show how he was helped and betrayed by many people.


Say It Right in Korean: TheFastest Way to Correct Pronunication
Say It Right in Korean: TheFastest Way to Correct Pronunication
by N/A Epls
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2.0 out of 5 stars For niche use only, 17 Feb. 2015
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The strong points of the book are that it keeps to very simple but useful sentences + a sentence assembly system, and that it is in large print, which can be useful when you need to show the Korean texts to Koreans. This makes it easy to use.
Its weak points are that it is often inconsistent and is full of small errors in the pronunciation. For example: optional particles are given in the Hangul text between parentheses (as in a text book) and omitted in the pronunciation; whom does that serve? The consonant assimilations (which abound in Korean) sometimes are and sometimes are not shown in the pronunciation; this is not much of a problems because Koreans will understand you either way. As to small errors, starting at a random page: page 75, one entry from the bottom, a syllable is missing in the pronunciation; page 77: the ending -으로 is present in all entries but its pronunciation is not; page 78, first entry: the Korean has do-, the pronunciation has po-.
The book may be useful to a traveler who wants the comforting feeling of having something in his (large) pocket for an emergency; also any user will be saved by the almost infinite ability of Koreans to understand bad Korean. As a travel companion Berlitz Korean Phrase Book and Dictionary is smaller and covers much more, but is admittedly more complicated to use. As a Korean learning aid it is useless.


Clean Step Mat Super Absorbent Doormat Just Step to Clean 18" x 28
Clean Step Mat Super Absorbent Doormat Just Step to Clean 18" x 28
Offered by BFC
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Does not clean dirty cat paws, 16 Feb. 2015
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It looks great, gives a firm grip when you enter the house, but the cat still makes dirty paw stains on the carpet in the house.


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