Tag Archives: korean culture

A Review of √Root Korean: A Dictionary of Korean Root Words (Hanja)

Basic info

Title: √Root Korean: A Dictionary of Korean Root Words (Hanja)

Author: Andrew Livera

Pages: 725

Price: $10.99 on Kindle and PDF

*Please note that I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*


Many learners of Korean are not familiar with the Hanja relationship that many Korean words have. Just like many English words have their roots in Latin, many Korean words are based on Hanja characters.

Most don’t study these characters extensively (as it can be quite boring), but knowing many of them can help you remember vocabulary easier and quicker as you can quickly see the deeper meaning of a word and its relationship to other words.

For example, the Korean word 입구 (entrance) can be written in Hanja as 入口 where 入 means ‘to enter’ and 口 means ‘opening.’

Another benefit to learning Hanja is it will give you some knowledge to help you when traveling around countries like China and Japan. Many characters that you will learn are used there (with some slight differences).

Koreans learn hanja during their school years (but many forget) and most Koreans know how to write their name in hanja (it’s sometimes needed for certain documents). Hanja is also still used in many newspapers and restaurants when ordering.

The Book

So here’s where √Root Korean comes in. The author, Andrew Livera has compiled quite a bit of info in this book.

In this book, there are two sections. It is broken down into the Korean-Hanja dictionary, and the Hanja-Korean dictionary. If you know the Korean pronunciation but not the Hanja, you would use the Korean-Hanja dictionary. If you know the Hanja but not the Korean pronunciation, you would search in the Hanja-Korean dictionary.

All words contain the simplified Chinese character of a Hanja word, its pinyin reading, its Hanja, the Yale romanization, it’s stroke count, and finally, its definition. (See images below)


The information in this book is very thorough and extensive containing over 700 pages of information. It may be overwhelming to beginners just starting out (however I’d still find it very useful), but can be very helpful for those are deep into their Korean studies.

I myself found it very useful as I never really focused on learning any Hanja outside of the most basic ones I would see throughout my daily life here in Korea. I still haven’t had near enough time to get through even a quarter of the book, but I plan on using it to search for words as I continues to build my vocabulary.

I’ve even created a separate section in my study notebook for Hanja characters that I plan on studying/reviewing once a week or so.

You can purchase this book on Kindle over at Amazon. A paperback version will be released soon and we will update this page when it does.

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How to Say No in Korean

Now here is a simple word that you should know in any language. You don’t want to be caught in an awkward situation where you want to tell someone no, but don’t know how to.

Like many other phrases we’ve covered, there are formal and informal ways to say no in Korean as well as other variations.

Let’s start with the ones we covered in the infographic.

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How to Say Heart in Korean

How to Say Heart in Korean

How to Say Heart in Korean

One of the more confusing things for a beginner learning Korean is when they come across the many meanings for the word ‘heart’. In English the same word is used to describe the physical organ and things related to love and feelings of the mind.

However in Korean, these words can be broken down into three words that have a specific meaning.

Let’s talk about the first word in the infographic.

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Korean Flag Meaning: What do all the Symbols Mean?

Korean Flag Meaning

Korean Flag Meaning

The South Korean flag is probably one of the more immediately recognizable flags of the world. It has a very simple and easy to notice design. However, there are deeper meaning behind the colors and symbols on the flag.

The first things you might notice on the flag are the blue and red colors that make up the circle in the middle of the flag. Most of you might realize it looks like the commonly known yin/yang symbol and that’s because it is.

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How to Say Cat in Korean

How to Say Cat in Korean

How to Say Cat in Korean

Korea is known for it’s animal cafes. There are plenty of dog and cat cafes around so check them out if you’re ever in Seoul.

The word cat in Korean is 고양이 (go-yang-i) and sounds very similar to another word ‘고향’  (go-gyang) which is a running joke among many Koreans. Many Korean kids who are just starting to learn Korean and form sentences often get the two confused.

Meow in Korean

If you want to describe the sound of a cat meowing, you would say 야옹 (ya-ong). It’s actually pretty interesting how Korean and all languages differ in how they describe the sound a certain animal makes.

For instance, woof woof for dogs is 멍멍 (meong-meong) in Korean which to me, sounds nothing like a dog barking. Click here for more on animal sounds in Korean.

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Best Books to Learn Korean: Our Best 7

Ready to take your Korean studies to The next level?

Whether you’re a beginner, or intermediate and higher looking to up your game, we’ve compiled the perfect list of textbooks for learning the Korean language.

Our list consists of books that are very simple, yet thorough in how they teach you Korean. Sometimes it’s hard finding that perfect textbook that doesn’t bore you to death or seem so hard that you just want to give up.

Although I still have some work to do to become fluent (help me out Hyo!), I’ve used several of the books below to help get me from no nothing beginner to where I’m able to hold most conversations now. Some of the others are books that many of my friends have used. I’ve asked their opinions and compiled some of them into reviews.

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