Item description for Berlitz Korean Phrase Book (Berlitz Phrase Book) by Berlitz Guides...
Your first lesson in Korean: an-nyong haseyo means hello, good morning, good afternoon, and good evening! Learning essential Korean words and phrases doesn't have to be difficult. This easy-to-understand and easy-to-use phrase book features color-coded sections, a pronunciation guide, explanations of Korean characters, and dialog boxes of typical conversations. The Berlitz phrase book is the unparalleled market leader in its category..
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Reviews - What do customers think about Berlitz Korean Phrase Book (Berlitz Phrase Book)?
Berlitz is smarter than other reviewers Dec 2, 2006
This book is an excellent resource for the casual traveler.
It appears to me that the "mistakes" other reviewers, namely theemigre, find in the book are in fact not mistakes. For example, although in Hangul museum is written as "pak-mul-kwan", the words are not supposed to be pronounced this way, but rather "pang-mul-gwan". Think about English, a word ending in "t" then followed by "y" goes through a morphophonemic change becoming "ch": e.g. whatcha doin'?
In Korean, morphophonemic changes are everywhere between syllables. If you learn Hangul, you won't know what those changes are and your pronunciation will be wrong. Words in different contexts may have different pronunciations. So stick with the pronunciations in the book.
Here's a quote from page 8 after introducing the Hangul alphabet: "These are the main sounds connected with each letter, but they can vary and this is reflected in the imitated pronunciation for individual phrases."
It is also ok to not put accents on words in Korean and maintain a steady intonation.
It looks like the guys at Berlitz know what they're doing when they write these romanizations. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt, rather than some layman traveler who learned what the Hangul letter "k" is but didn't learn it can also be pronounced "ng" before a nasal consonant. Besides most travelers won't be attempting Hangul. Let's just be glad theemigre wasn't reviewing a Tibetan phrasebook.
I give this book 5 stars because it fulfills the expectations of a phrasebook and nothing more except a little bit of notes about history and culture and food. As a phrasebook I believe it meets the needs of the casual traveler. It fulfills the need for any kind of traveling situation like eating or shopping when you need to find the name of an item quickly and discuss the price. And the more serious language learner who doesn't have time to take classes can actually learn quite a bit from this book.
Get the Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook Instead May 3, 2002
The major criticism I have is the rather curious and confusing proprietary pronunciation and romanization system that Berlitz uses. Why not use the more straightforward and internationally accepted revised version of the McCune-Reischauer romanization system which was adopted by the Korean government in July 2000 (used by Lonely Planet)?
Other issues I have are:
1. The pronunciation section on pages 7 and 8 does not cover the double consonants and double vowels that are common in the language and appear in the rest of the book. Even the Lonely Planet Korea Guidebook (which is not even a full phrasebook) covers this in its brief language section.
2. The Berlitz romanization for the very basic and essential phrase "I'd like" is inconsistent between p.18 and p.129 "chooseep-seeyo" vs. "chooseep-seeaw"
3. The pronunciation of the word for "museum" is incorrect on p.13 and 99 and in the dictionary. It should be "pak-mool-gwan", not "pang-mool-gwan", I believe.
I would not have thought a company as reputable as Berlitz would allow these types of deficiencies in its phrasebook.
Get the new Lonely Planet Korean phrasebook instead (unfortunately not yet published when I took my trip).
Something Important Missing Aug 23, 2000
The major problem with this Korean phrase book, is that it does not show any accent marks for the words it lists. Seeing the pronunciation is not helpful at all, if the reader does now know which syllable(s) to accent. Otherwise it seems to be a good book.
Small, Convenient, and Annoying May 5, 1997
I like Berlitz' little guides. They are handy enough to put in a pants pocket as I traipse across a land where I'm illiterate and unable to speak good (insert language here). This book, however, was a more pointed example of another Berlitz book trait: Most of the time, the Korean folks I met had a puzzled look on their face, not because of the (horrible) accent, but because of the archaic and stilted Korean this book translated my phrases into. One new friend borrowed it for a few minutes and couldn't stop laughing.
These books are useful but for this particular one I'd be forewarned.