In an earlier post I mentioned that I like the Sogang writing book we are using, so I thought I would talk a little more about that.
Sogang is generally well known for their heavy focus on speaking, but this book appears to be from their Korean for Academic Purposes course rather than their Korean for General Purposes course. I have never attended Sogang for Korean language, or anything else, and I can’t find exactly which textbooks they use for each, aside from their standard textbook. In any case, keep in mind that this is a review of the book, and not of how well Sogang actually teaches writing.
So, there are 4 books in the Writing series, and I have books two and three. We are using book two now in level 5 at KNU, but I would say that it would be useful and usable around level four (maybe three?). I bought book three by accident, but we’ll be using it next semester anyway.
Book Two is divided into 8 chapters with 4 extra appendices at the back. Each chapter talks about a different topic such as “Major and Future Plans” or “Studying a Foreign Language.” Each chapter also focuses on a specific goal of writing and the related grammatical expressions, such as “Comparison,” “Explanation,” and “Explaining Survey Results.”
On the one hand, the writing instruction is sometimes very basic. If you have learned how to write in your native language (or like me, have taught people to write in your native language) some things may seem like common sense (topic sentence, etc), and not worth learning again. Or it may not. Different languages do have different writing styles.
But, the grammar introduced, while not difficult, is useful to review because there are some things that you probably don’t use often in everyday conversation, and they are applicable to a variety of academic situations, including the dreaded TOPIK, and even academic presentations.
Each chapter includes several short essay samples demonstrating the style being introduced, explanations of the grammar/vocabulary points, practice writing sentences using the grammar, and a topic for writing an essay of your own. Self-study of writing is always hard because you don’t have anyone to check your mistakes, but the book does include an answer key for everything but the essays, so you can at least check your answers against their examples. It also includes notes about frequently made mistakes, so you can check yourself against those as well. BUT the explanations are all in Korean, so you should be comfortable enough with Korean that that is not a problem. There is, however, a vocab list for each chapter at the back, which does give definitions in English and Chinese.
I think no matter what book you try to use, if you are self-studying there will be limitations to how useful it is. When possible it is always best to have a native speaker who can check your work. But all things considered, I think this is one of the better books I’ve seen for academic writing in Korean, and of use even to self-studiers.
I would especially recommend it to people looking to improve their TOPIK writing score. It will give you a lot of practice and useful expressions for the essay questions in the TOPIK exam.
And then there are the appendices! These are about writing various parts of the application for applying to a Korean university. The first is general information about preparing documents for your application, the second is about writing your self-introduction, the third is about filling out the application forms, and the fourth is a sample set of application forms. If you are considering applying to a Korean university, or would like to write your KGSP application in Korean, then this will be very useful to look at.
Sogang may not be the first place you think of when you think of writing skills, but I do think they have done a good job on this one.
서강한국어 학문목적과정 쓰기 2
1과 진로와 전공
2과 대학 생활
4과 온라인 의사소통
5과 우리 생활의 변화
6과 여가 활용
7과 외국어 공부
8과 외모 지상주의