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Teach Yourself Thai Complete Course
Where To Buy This Item
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (June 11, 1996)
- ISBN: 0844238783
- Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.5 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces.
- Average Customer Review:
based on 13 reviews.
Avg. Customer Review:
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
pace, interesting and fun to work with, March 17, 2004
I've just finished Thai for beginners by Benjawan Becker and i think
this is a great follow on book. Even through it's not touted as an
intermeediate book, I think the pace of this would be too fast for an
This book is way more interesting than Thai4beginners however. Each
key word and sentense structure is explained very well and the constant
Q&A is great. Thai4beginners is much more repetitious and spends too
much time on nouns you will likely never remember or need.
This book also uses an easier to follow romanization method than the
proper phonetic backward 'e' and all that crap used in thai4beg. My only
complaint is their insistance on using 'u' for our 'a' sound which seems
completely unnecessary and highly confusing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
the best one out there, February 19, 2004
This book is quite good to be modest, the main dialogues are provided
both in romanized form as well as thai script, the thai script version
is for later on when you can read the script better so you can go back
to previous chapters and re-read the dialogue in script.
The book gradually teaches you to read and write the script, I have read
other books teaching thai script and this one is by far the best one,
you can tell the author knows the language.
Understanding the tapes can be hard at first since they speak at natural
speed, but after some chapters you get the hang of it and its not too
hard, and there are enough listening excercices for each chapter.
The grammar is clearly explained and is easy to understand, as with many
asian languages the grammar is the easy part - pronounciation and script
is the real challenge.
In each chapter you get to practice your knowledge of the script, you
gradually build up you skills.
The only shortcoming of this book is that I think there are to few
excerices to practice the grammar, so you might want to get a extra book
on practicing grammar.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Effective!, July 10, 2002
I am about to be transferred to Thailand and will be taking formal
and intensive Thai instruction next month. I wanted to get a head start
on the language and after reading the..reviews purchased the Smith book
with the two cassette tapes. After three weeks of study I find myself
(to my surprisE) learning to read and speak Thai. First let me mention
some things I do NOT like (but remember I am a pure beginner). The
transliteration is confusing and frankly often does not match what I
hear on the tapes. Second, there are disconnects between the tapes and
what the book says I am supposed to be hearing. Third, the tape's intro
to tones is not sufficient. Now what I like about the Smith book. I am
learning to actually read Thai! It is a complicated alphabet (no matter
what David Smith says) but I am progressing. The text progresses easily
from one step to the next. Contrary to some reviews I like the practical
application in the dialogues e.g shopping, menu ordering. etc. But most
of all I like the easy and maybe even chatty way the book guides you
into the language. I must admit I certainly enjoy studying this language
with this book. And Smith is correct that 20 minutes a day is more
effective than one 2 hours session weekly. Yep, a new edition of the
tapes is needed but it is the best 20 bucks I spent in a long time!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:
drawbacks, but else good, April 22, 2002
First of all good news. The Thai course of David Smyth has the
advantage to be a good introduction to the Thai script and pronuntiation.
Covering of the grammar is a little bit sketchy, but anyway it is enough
for beginner and the grammar is certainly not the most difficult part of
Now the inconvenient points.
The course unfortunately gives too much place for specifically
tourist things such as haggling for price, ordering drinks and food,
taking taxi, visiting places etc. - which would be much more in their
proper place in a "Lonely Planet" conversational guide as in a more
serious language textbook. One could have rather included
texts/dialogues on Buddhism, on Thai history, way of life.
A very bad transcription system - letter "r" is used where it should
be not pronounced, the aspiration is not shown, and the most
disconcerting thing is using "u" to represent the sound of "a".
Similarly "air" is used to represent open "e"(more convently to be
represented as "ae") and so on. It has taken a certain time for me to
out that "wun" (day) shoud be actually pronounced as "wan", or "bpairt"(eight)
as "pae:t" or "nakorn" as "nakho:n". I wonder why David Smyth has not
used the signs of the International Phonetical Association which are far
more understandable for beginner and for experienced linguist alike.
A second inconvenient thing is that D.Smyth does not use Thai script
in the exercises, at least in the beginning of the book. This is very
inconvenient when making revision. One would like to remake excercises
using Thai script.
Anyway I wonder whether there is need to use Romanised transcription
for a Thai course at all. Certainly the Thai spelling is not exactly
phonetical, but one could give the transcription of irregularly spelled
words with Thai letters themselves. Only tones would require special
markers in the beginning until one has not yet learned the tone rules.
Another thing what should be needed in such book is a table showing
the Indian(Pali-Sanskrit) values of Thai letters. This would help to
figure out the class of letters(high, middle or low) with much more
ease, greatly facilitate understanding the alphabetical sequence of
Thai, to help recognize South Asian borrowings (which maybe make 30-40%
of Thai vocabulary) for those who have learned a South Asian
language(Sanskrit, Pali, Hindi, Bengali etc).
Nevetheless I give 4 stars to this course since as it appears there
are not too much better courses of Thai, if any, as this one.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
of the experts, December 30, 2001
I'm with the US Peace Corps in Thailand, a job (the toughest one?)
that requires learning Thai, and it's not by coincidence that more of us
have Mr. Smyth's book than any other.
I found learning to read essential in learning Thai, and this book
teaches better reading better than any other book I have seen. As for
teaching the letters out of dictionary order, well, I haven't found that
many Thais who could answer a question analogous to "What letter comes
before S?" without reciting the whole alphabet. It's just not how they
learn, therefore, most Thai dictionaries have an index of the letters in
the beginning. The lesson here is that you are a lot better off learning
the letters by class (and therefore tone rules) than you are by
dictionary order, which will come later as you use a dictionary more.
I've only listened to someone else's tapes briefly, but they seemed
to give good assistance separating the tones and learning to pronounce
the sounds that we don't have in English.
If you are just going to Thailand for a week, I imagine any number of
books would suffice, but if you want to learn Thai more than
"snake-snake-fish-fish" (bits and pieces), then get this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
have not found one better, August 30, 2001
Let's face it. Learning Thai is not easy regardless of the teaching
method. This book however was exactly what I was looking for as it also
teaches how to read and write the language. I found some mistakes and
the audio is not cooridinated very well with the book but you will have
to losten to it MANY times anyway in order to ever learn it. After a few
times you learn to find the corresponding section in the book. So, all
in all the book is well worth the money and it does what it says it will
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