Up until this point, co-founders, Lee-Anne and Sungju have been working on making Lang-Wich a language-resource business for low-level language learners as many times graded readers are forgotten about.
We want everyone to know what our vision, mission and values are so that you know what the people behind Lang-Wich stands for. We also want to tell you what problem we are solving through our project.
There are many existing Korean-language resources that provide good materials for learning Korean but very few resources to expand and practise reading for leisure where you can combine all your independent studies.
Our vision is to create fun, easy-to-read stories for Korean-language learners. This is important to us because we know that it has been difficult to find good reading resources for low-level learners that offer a challenge to your language journey.
There is almost an assumption in the Korean language community that learners will somehow get to intermediate stages of their studies and know how to read without much practise at the beginner stages.
This is where we come in.
We make sure that each stage of reading is covered for you to notice your own progression in reading in Korean. We ensure that the stories we write are:
Fun: No one wants to read a boring story so we create stories that have some tension, some drama, some friends issues, some romance (that’s what we’ve covered so far) which also have different genres to expand your vocabulary and introduce you to different scenarios. That’s where the fun is – going on a journey and learning more about Korean culture, grammar and vocabulary without being so obvious.
Short: This is important. Each story is a novella that captures a snippet into the character’s life. It’s just enough to whet your whistle in Korean and move you onto the next book. The aim of making stories short means you can feel accomplished. Feeling accomplished means you are feeling more confident. Confidence improves your journey – you get the gist here. Short and sweet makes a happy reader in the early stages of reading.
Modern: As a beginner/pre-intermediate learner, you first need to build up vocabulary of what relates to you, your interests and your needs before you can take a deep dive into the history/folklore literature or whatever else tickles your fancy. Making the stories modern helps you adjust to the Korean culture and know what certain culturally important words are in Korean.
Easy-to-read: This is the one key features we wanted to focus on. After reading very hard texts and putting them down frustrated (usually never to return to them) we wanted to make sure that the text was easy and still had a story that was understood.
We wanted to make sure that if you only have enough time to read on your commute then you can read a chapter and get on with your day. No pressure because you would not be need to have a dictionary by your side.
Some other features of our book is that there are large spaces in between the words to make notes around, short chapters, simple grammar stuctures from the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIK) and various textbooks, well-designed illustrations and footnotes in English to help you read.
There is not any English translation on the other page – you are encouraged to use all your Korean knowledge as you
read to help you think and imagine the story in Korean.
Our mission is to help Korean-language learners expand their imagination in Korean through stories in Korean.
In our native language, we can listen to someone speak or read a story and imagine what we have read or listened to. Why would that be any different in Korean? We are aware that there are many folklore books in Korean with the intention to help Korean-language learners. While these are good, it is way too hard to understand for low-level learners. For learners to understand the story, learners would need to build up an imagination in Korean – as skill that is not taught, it comes with knowing more of the language and is necessary for comprehension entirely in Korean.
Using our easy-to-read novellas or graded readers helps to develop confidence in reading in Korean as the content is level-appropriate.
Our slogan, you may have seen around is, ‘Connecting you to your target language through stories.’ We are not teaching you how to read in Korean. We have seen some great resources to enhance your reading skills. We assume you have the foundational knowledge of Korean to comprehend our Level 1 books. Even if you have not been studying Korean for a long period of time, there is no harm reading the story multiple times until you begin to comprehend the story in Korean even if it is one sentence at a time.
Solving the problem
The main problem we have seen has been this: reading in Korean has been a challenging task for low-level learners as they have been forgotten about. Lang-Wich creates easy-to-read novellas for low-level language learners.
What we are doing is using stories to be a bridge to your grammar lessons, practically putting your vocabulary lists to work to build your comprehension skills entirely in Korean. We have not seen good graded readers in Korean. There have been many graded readers that are well written in other Asian and European languages – Lang-Wich is making sure
that Korean is a part of this list.