Parenting Hack – English Phrases Book

I remember wandering Seoul aimlessly, eighteen years old, with about five months of beginner Korean under my belt. I stumbled into a bookstore (one of my favorite places) and perused every section. I was in awe of the beautiful cover artwork, the cute stationery and random home goods. But, I made my greatest discovery in the English language section. I walked out of that store with a small 3″x5″ book of “Survival Travel Phrases in English.” Clearly, I didn’t need any of those. But, by paying attention to the Korean that accompanied the English, I found it to be more helpful than any beginner Korean phrasebook I could find at the time.

This was so long ago. And, I had completely forgotten about that tool until a friend recently showed me an book with vocabulary for current topics she planned using the same way. It got my moving and I started to look for a book of parenting phrases!

I’ve been taking Korean classes on and off for the last few years through a program organized by the Korean General Consulate of NY and Also-Known-As (a group for adoptees and adoptive families.) It was in that class that the professor recommended reading as a wonderful way to improve vocabulary and grammar. Even more, he told our class about Ridibooks where you could download books in Korean (some even for free.)

This was perfect!

After a little bit of research, I landed on this one, 매일 써먹는 1일1문장 엄마표 생활 영어. It covers few phrases each day for 100 days total. It also gives tips and advice (on learning and exposing your child to English) but a lot of them can be used for Korean. For example, they suggest singing songs in the target language.

Similar to the TTMIK book, each day focuses on a topic like “getting dressed” or “sharing.” The phrases are practical and there is usually a song you can sing, too. Since this is a book for Korean speakers, the tips and advice on how to use the book are in Korean. And, because this is for people learning English, the Korean translation is only in Hangul.

The last two chapters are practical advice and parenting tips. My Korean level is intermediate at best, so I haven’t really done more than quickly flip through those sections. But, for less than ten dollars, I felt the 100 days of phrases were a good value.

This website gives you a step-by-step walkthrough on how to sign-up and download books on Ridi. (Since, it’s also fully in Korean.) Whether you’re a Korean speaker or still a student like me, Ridi is a great resource. There are also a lot of books you can download for free.

Since I didn’t grow up speaking or hearing Korean, I find myself awkwardly searching for the vocabulary for regular daily life. You don’t usually go over, “wipe your face” or “put that down, please” in basic language class. So, books like these are really wonderful to get an idea of how native speakers handle everyday life.

Are you a native speaker? Second generation? I would really love to know more about your journey learning or passing on Korean.

Thanks for reading! – Katie

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