Beginning and Continuing Korean CD-ROM

by David J. Silva, Ph.D.

Beginning and Continuing Korean CD-ROM is comprehensive multimedia language courseware. This 2 CD-ROM package is the equivalent of a textbook and workbook, with audio and video.

It can be used either by independent learners or by students in a traditional or self-instructional classroom setting, and covers material equivalent to a one-year college course.

What's Inside:

See it in action and learn more about all of the exciting features of Beginning and Continuing Korean CD-ROM.

Watch an example video on YouTube
(Note that this does not include the text, translations, and footnotes from the full lesson)

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About the Author

Dr. David James Silva received a bachelor's degree in Linguistics with Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University in 1986, and a Ph.D. in linguistics from Cornell University in 1992. During his tenure at Cornell, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for study and research in Seoul, Korea (1989-90). From 1991-1996, he served as a Korean language program consultant and examiner for several colleges in the New England/New York area.

He is currently Associate Professor of Linguistics at The University of Texas at Arlington, where he teaches courses in general linguistics, phonological theory, acoustic phonetics, and second language acquisition. Dr. Silva has been recognized for excellence in teaching, both by Cornell University and the University of Texas. Recent presentations and publications include work on Korean phonetics and phonology as well as language variation in European Portuguese.

Additional information can be located here.

Author's Introduction to the CD-ROM

Introduction by
David J. Silva, Ph.D.


Congratulations on your decision to learn one of the world's most important languages: Korean. Given the continued and sustained growth of Korea's economic, political, and cultural influence on the world scene, knowledge of the Korean language is becoming an ever-increasing asset to a range of individuals across the globe: business men and women, economists and industrialists, diplomatic and military personnel, academics, students, tourists, etc. Whether you are a person of Korean heritage looking to explore your linguistic roots or a non-Korean embarking upon a challenging linguistic enterprise, studying Korean can prove a valuable means of learning more about the history, culture, and people of the Korean peninsula.

Learning Korean via CD-ROM

In using these CD-ROM materials to acquire Korean, you should realize that the key advantage is flexibility. Whether you are studying on your own, in the context of a self-instructed language program, or as part of an organized class, the materials contained on these two discs have been designed such that you (or your class) can move as quickly or as slowly as need be. For example, some users may decide to skip the initial lessons on learning to read and write Korean script ("hangul"), as they may have already acquired these skills (perhaps in a "Hangul Hakkyo" as children). For other users, however, mastering Hangul may prove a more formidable task. No problem. The beauty of CD-ROM technology is the marriage of sight and sound. Repeat a lesson as often as you need without worrying about rewinding a cassette. Review Korean at 2:00 AM during a bout of insomnia. Take as long as you need to practice, practice, practice. The CD-ROM will always be here, waiting for you.

For more details on how to use the CD-ROMs effectively, see the page of helpful hints that appears at the beginning of each unit.

Adaptive Learning

No language learning materials can provide students with everything they need to know in 10 or 20 lessons. All the same, high quality materials should provide users with models of the target language and allow students the opportunity to adapt the fictional situation of the CD-ROM to real-world contexts. With this in mind, I have created materials that encourage "adaptive learning." If, for example, you encounter a lesson in which two teachers are discussing their course schedule for a week, you should be prepared to adapt their situation to one of your own making. If you are a student, you can talk about your class schedule; if you are a working mom, you can talk about what you have to do during the week; if you are a business person, you can talk about the various meetings and tasks you have to complete in the coming days. As the user, only you have the knowledge and power to transform the materials contained here into meaningful language tools that suit your own needs. As you work on mastering the finite materials provided in any one unit, look to adapt and expand those skills in an infinite number of real-world ways.

(If you are at a loss of ideas on how to apply the material in any given unit, click on the relevant link found at the end of most units; there you will find ideas on how to develop your language skills.)

Some Notes on the Content of the Materials

As is always the case, the developer of beginning language instruction materials is faced with some difficult decisions. In the case of Korean, some of these decisions are complicated by a range of socio-cultural and grammatical issues inherent in the language.

For example, you may notice that from the very outset, many Korean sentences / expressions seem to end the same way, namely with the sound "-yo." This particle, "-yo," is an indication of speech that is informal but polite. Indeed, Korean possesses a range of such sentence endings, each of which provides information about the relative formality, politeness, and intimacy of the interaction. In developing the materials for this CD-ROM set, I have elected to begin with the "-yo" ending, as I feel it to be the "safest"; it is certainly polite and not so formal as to come across as stiff or unfriendly. As you work through the 20 units, you will learn more about sentence endings, thereby increasing your repertoire of language skills for a wide range of social contexts.

In each unit, you will have access to both a "monologue" and a "dialogue." Both components are important to your language development. Generally speaking, the monologues have been written in a style that is more written; you can, for example, ignore the video and audio and use the monologues to practice reading Korean. The dialogues, however, have been written in a more interactive, conversational style. As you listen to the audio and watch the video, imagine yourself in place of the actors; imitate their inflections and expressions; make their language your language.

Speaking of the actors, you may note that the CD-ROM materials have been written around two main characters, Ms. Kim and Mr. Park. Having access to both a female and a male speaker will give you, the learner, a better sense of how the language might differ between the sexes, particularly in terms of intonation. In addition, by making Ms. Kim and Mr. Park co-workers of a similar rank, you will have the opportunity to learn Korean forms that used by individuals who are polite to each other, without being too formal; such a style is perhaps the most realistic to acquire first.

In addition, you should consider Ms. Kim and Mr. Park your own personal Korean language tutors, available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Get to know them over the course of the twenty units and enjoy the relationship you develop with each.

Finally, it is important to admit that Korean--like any language--encodes a huge range of variability in how an idea can be expressed: there is always more than one way to say the same thing. With this point in mind, you should be aware that the Korean you learn here is a "sample" of what Koreans say and hear on a regular basis. As you interact with native speakers of Korean, you will undoubtedly encounter variations in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. That's perfectly normal. Be confident in what you have acquired, and use such encounters with the inherent variations in real-life language as learning opportunities.

About the Author

You may be wondering why somebody with a decidedly un-Korean name has taken on the task of developing Korean language materials. The answer is two-fold: professional responsibility and personal gratitude.

As a non-Korean who has invested considerable time and energy studying Korean from a linguistic perspective, I have been constantly overwhelmed by the language's beauty and fascinated by its complexity. While I have been privileged to have learned from excellent teachers, I have sometimes found my instructors struggling to relate certain concepts to me, a non-Korean. As such, I thought it worthwhile to share my own experiences with others by developing teaching materials that provide a fresh perspective, that of the "outsider." I sincerely hope that my insights will help others learn the language. Moreover, I have undertaken this task with the utmost respect for those Korean language teachers who have come before me (Korean and non-Korean alike), and offer my own efforts in thanks for their continuing commitment to students of the language, such as me.

A Final Note

Given that I am not Korean, it goes without saying that I have been greatly assisted in this work by the input and insights offered by the finest group of young Korean linguists studying here in the United States. Working with these talented men and women, I have endeavored to produce multimedia materials that provide you, the learner, with a sense of how contemporary Korean works grammatically and how it "feels" both socially and culturally.

Enjoy the journey.

David James Silva, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Linguistics
The University of Texas at Arlington


Table of Contents

System Requirements

 To run the Critical Languages Series CD-ROM software, your computer will need to meet these requirements:

  • Windows XP, Vista*, 7*, or 8*
    Products have been tested to work on Windows XP, but we can no longer recommend it due to the end of support by Microsoft.
    *Windows Vista 64, Windows 7, and Windows 8 require a downloadable update
  • CD/DVD-ROM drive
  • 9MB hard drive space
  • Microphone recommended

This disc requires a PC and will not play on a standard audio CD or DVD movie player.

Supplemental Materials

Beginning Korean: A Grammar Guide is a supplement for the CD-ROM. View or download it via the links below:

Getting Started | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Register Your Purchase

Beginning and Continuing Korean CD-ROM is being used at The University of Arizona, Rice University, and many other institutions and schools. .