By one of the leading scholars of East Asian languages, this is the first comprehensive book on Korean grammar in English. With a detailed analysis of modern Korean as it's used in both North and South Korea, Professor Martin provides explanations and translation tips for virtually all puzzling grammatical structures. In addition, modern usage is traced back to the fifteenth century, making this book essential to anyone reading older Korean texts.
Including character tables and an appendix of the radicals and their names A Reference Grammar of Korean will prove indispensable to students and is the definitive reference work for all those involved in Korean studies.
The authoritative reference grammar for Korean
By S. Henderson - February 14, 2010
As other reviewers have noted, this is not a useful tool for beginning or (most) intermediate learners of Korean. However, if you are looking for an authoritative guide to modern Korean grammar, there is no English-language work that compares to Martin. The lack of hangul is regrettable, but common in technical linguistic publications, of which this is one.
I have searched long and hard for authoritative treatments of Korean grammar in both Korean and English. Not only does Martin's work have no peers in English, it has few peers even in Korean.
Again -- do not buy this book if you are looking for something that will help you learn Korean. Buy it only if you are looking to work on the Korean language that is the functional equivalent of Smyth for ancient Greek, or CGEL for modern English.
Warning: very difficult to read
By Dr C. R. WRIGHT - August 6, 2008
My copy of this book just arrived today, so I cannot review its contents thoroughly. However, I am able to register massive initial disappointment. Korean text is not written in hangul, but is romanized. This makes the text extraordinarily difficult to read and will result in the reader making a mental translation into the correct hangul form every time he reads a piece of Korean text in the book. Given the depth and scope of this book, nobody who cannot read hangul will ever use it. I cannot understand why the author should make things so difficult for the reader by romanizing the Korean text. Regardless of what other virtues the book might have (and judging from the contents I am convinced that it has many) I can only give it three stars because the Korean text is romanized.
Overall Excellent Source of Reference
By J. van Rossum - August 15, 2012
I have had to reference this book countless times while studying Korean linguistics as graduate student. As such, it should be noted (and has been by other reviewers) that this book is not targeted at language learners. It is targeted primarily at linguists. It has massive amounts of information on both modern and historical Korean grammatical elements and structures. I would highly recommend it for anyone with an academic interest in the Korean language.
More importantly, I think Martin deserves some defense against the major criticisms of this book. While I would agree that the varied use of different Romanization systems and adoption of non-standard conventions is cumbersome, it is not without justification. Martin himself explains the reasons on pages 5 and 6. Most of the changes, to me, seem reasonable and aren't too difficult to adapt to. Additionally, it is important to remember that this edition published in 2006 is not the first edition. This book represents... read more