An invaluable resource for Korean learners, Routledge's A Frequency Dictionary of Korean: Core Vocabulary for Learners catalogs the 5,000 most frequent Korean words with their pronunciation and an example sentence for each. This book is very useful for several reasons:
– Thematic vocabulary lists: 24 inserts throughout the book are dedicated to the most frequent words about a single topic. Useful to quickly memorize conversational words. See the sample page below for an example.
– An alphabetical index at the end of the book helps quickly find any Korean word present in the book.
– Each word is accompanied by a sample sentence. Really useful to understand how the word fits within a sentence and the grammatical patterns associated with them.
This book is to be used as a complement to regular studies for intermediate to advanced learners. Because the list order in this book is based on a corpus of many texts as old as 1980 and ranging from newspapers to scripts and scenarios, it can especially be helpful to review the book before a TOPIK exam to check any gap in knowledge.
Some minor problems include:
– The absence of an English-to-Korean index, which makes an English-to-Korean dictionary a necessity.
– The pronunciation of words is very hard to read because written in alphabet instead of 한글. 한글 pronunciation would have been useful for some difficult Sino-Korean words (see examples from this book).
– I noted some mistakes (e.g., word #894 담다 is translated as "wall, fence" although it is a verb).
Below is a sample page of A Frequency Dictionary of Korean: Core Vocabulary for Learners. The grey box on top is one of the 24 thematic vocabulary lists.
All in all, this dictionary is highly recommended for beginners to advanced learners of Korean.