The best English grammar books for foreigners are written in English.
The best Japanese grammar books for foreigners are written in Japanese.
So I thought that the best Korean grammar books for foreigners must be written in Korean, too.
That’s why, from the very start of my learning, I decided that I must be able to read grammar explanation in Korean . So, then, I bought a Korean grammar dictionary, written entirely in Korean: 외국어로서의 한국어 문법 사전.
First, because I read a review about it on HangukDrama blog. Second, because I knew that it had been translated into Japanese and published in Japan so it must be good, right? The Japanese title is 韓国語文法辞典 ￥4,830.
But I ended up regretting buying it. I was a beginner, then. Even after I looked up every single word I didn’t know, I couldn’t understand the grammar explanation in Korean. f(^^;) 괜히 샀어.
It was not until I had finished TOPIK Essential Grammar 150 for Intermediate Level, that has bilingual grammar explanation: in Korean and the translated version (Japanese, in my case), that I found myself finally able to understand the entirely-in-Korean explanation in the grammar dictionary. I needed to get used to reading and understanding long grammar explanation written in Korean first, and I couldn’t do it without translation.
But the irony is, once I could read the dictionary, I found that it was not very complete, many grammars were not explained there. So I looked for a more complete grammar dictionary. But I didn’t want to repeat the same mistake (buying an expensive dictionary that I couldn’t even read) so I bought the translated version of 외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 2 (in Japanese, the title is 標準韓国語文法辞典 ￥6,510). Oh, Panggapseumnida blog reviewed the original Korean version. Go check it out.
So do you really need a Korean grammar dictionary to learn Korean? I don’t know. Maybe not. Maybe if you have entire series of Korean textbooks (usually book 1 to book 6) or Korean Grammar in Use (basic, intermediate, and advanced), you don’t need a Korean grammar dictionary, which is very expensive. But for me, from the very start, I didn’t have the patience to follow chapter-by-chapter or step-by-step learning, so I just read stuff of my interest, translated every word and looked up grammars. That’s why a grammar dictionary comes in handy, for me. (←So I don’t have the patience to follow a textbook, but I have the patience to do this.).
And do you really need to understand Korean grammar explanation in Korean? Maybe not. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I mean, in the end, I got a Korean grammar dictionary written in a language I know better. And the advanced Korean grammar book I’m studying with right now actually has Japanese translation. (Korean Grammar in Use – Advanced). But it doesn’t hurt to be able to do it. And you can’t call yourself an advanced learner if you can’t read grammar explanation in Korean, right? Right? Maybe. I don’t know. Haha. Do as you like. Just learn something new every day. Bye. 안녕! Thank you for reading my rant. ###