I'm an American living in Tokyo, and until coming to Japan, I'd never been outside of America (and in America, never north of, say, Arkansas XD;). Here, now, I can now say "I've never been to a country where I didn't have at least a conversational grasp on the language". Meaning, I've never been to a country where, if I found myself lost on the street, I couldn't somehow navigate myself home with the help of the kindness of strangers.
So, now that I'm headed to Korea in a matter of months, I'm keen to speed-learn as much of the language as possible! This is where I'd appreciate some basic help.
1) Any good teach-yourself-Korean books? I'm not talking Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone or anything like that, just a typical, shortish book you might find browsing Borders or something. For example, I learned Japanese from 2 books (this and this) and filled in all the rest with anime/manga/native speakers to perfect pronunciation and learn the subtleties of the language. It was far from the ideal method, but it worked for me, as I'm a very do-it-myself, in my own way, kind of gal. I liked the books for teaching me the basics--like how to identify verbs, adjectives, etc., plus kana deciphering and particle usage. A nice base like that really helped me find my feet in what was otherwise about the furthest you could get from English, my native language. Are there any good "teach yourself Korean" books? I'd prefer something with as little romanization as possible, as I'm sure that'll just confuse me in the end ^^
2) Any good teach-yourself-Korean youtube videos (or any site, really), for help with pronunciation? I think what frightens me most about the language is probably this! I've always prided myself on not sounding "foreign" when I can possibly help it, and the 10 or so vowels Korean apparently has is really intimidating me (yes, the English speaker is intimidated by a few extra vowels, go figure XD).
3) Any idea what level I can expect to get to with casual studying on my own for 5 months, with the intention to actually USE that knowledge (so, studying with a purpose, and hopefully studying more intently then)? I'm definitely not expecting to be able to philosophize with people on the street, but basic things like asking for directions, being able to read street signs, maybe ordering from a menu (or at least being able to READ the menu)? I understand no matter how well I may pick up grammar/memorize the alphabet, vocabulary will always be tantamount to my understanding anything spoken to me, but barring that, what are your thoughts, Korean speakers/students?
Thanks for delving through the tl;dr above, and if you've got any relevant communities to pimp, please do!
PS - Given my familiarity with Japanese already, can I expect to have ANY easier a time learning Korean? And are there any built-in Windows utilities for typing in Korean?