Item description for Thai Reference Grammar by James Higbie & Snea Thinsan...
"Thai Reference Grammar" was written to meet the need of students and teachers of the Thai language for information on advanced sentence structure. The book is divided into chapters based on common grammatical-structural categories. There are over 500 separate topics, and the most important feature is the sample sentences for each topic, of which there are over 2,000. These sentences are not stuffy, old-fashioned grammar examples, but samples of typical, idiomatic spoken Thai.The authors, an American and a Thai both with advanced degrees in linguistics and language teaching, analyzed thousands of Thai sentences to formulate clear and concise explanations for all the important sentence patterns of the Thai language. Examples are given in both Thai script and transliterated Thai, written in the English alphabet with no special phonetic symbols. Tones are marked with a special font that shows the level of the sound of each word, essential to pronunciation in tonal languages like Thai.Originally published in 2001, "Thai Reference Grammar" is now in its fourth printing. This is the only book to explain higher-level Thai sentence structure and functional vocabulary. It presents clear explanations of advanced structure, illustrated with examples of typical Thai speech.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Thai Reference Grammar?
improve your Thai Feb 12, 2007
This is a fabulous book. It explains so many aspects of Thai grammar in a very clear and understandable way. It also gives specific examples that are extremely helpful. This book is probably not for someone who is just beginning to learn Thai, but if you already have a basic foundation in the language and want to improve your skills, this book is a must.
Essential for Thai language students Jul 22, 2005
If you are looking for a book on Thai grammar you will not do better than this one. It is clear and to the point. It lists many examples for each subject that it presents. I have been trying unsuccessfully to get Thai people to explain to me what I have found clearly laid out in this book.
I was both happy and disappointed when I discovered this book. Happy that my confusion is now over. Disappointed that Peace Corps did not distribute this to its volunteers in training.
These are the chapter listings of what this book has to offer:
1. Fundamentals; basic word order, to be, addressing people etc 2. Referring to things; it, possessive, number of things etc 3. Referring to people; Numbers, who, myself/yourself, etc 4. Questions; covers most questions 5. Expanded Sentences; I think that, Did you know, etc 6. Tenses; present, future, past 7. Using Verbs; long chapter dedicated to many verb uses 8. Using "Hai" / Requests; let/allow, cause, for me etc. 9. Conjunctions; And, also, because, but, except, if, etc 10. Using Gaw; various ways of using this word 11. Quantifiers; very, all, each, enough, some, etc 12. Comparisons; similar, different, equal, like, even, etc 13. Prepositions; about, around, between, by, far, etc 14. Particles and Interjections; Ka/krup, la, na, tee, sa, etc 15. Time Phrases; times of day, past and future time phrases, 16. Order Of events; Before, after, then, as soon as, etc 17. How Long?; period of time, spending time, etc 18. Frequency; Times/occasions, sometimes, usually, etc
I gave just a sampling of each chapter but there is a whole lot more than what I have listed. My only problem with this book is that it could list some of the instructions in Thai. That limits the book to being a self study book instead of a book a Thai instructor would be able to use to help teach with. That being said it is a truly wonderful tool. If you are planning on studying Thai seriously then you need to get this book.
PC Volunteers: This book is available in Bangkok for half the price listed here. You won't need it right away so you can cut down on your allowed baggage weight limit by getting it here.
Comprehensive Study of Thai, None Better! Feb 23, 2004
A new book on the grammar of spoken Thai has been released, and it must be the best book on Thai I've seen. Thai Reference Grammar, by James Higbie and Snea Thinsan, is a reference book rather than something you're likely to polish off in one sitting. The authors analysed examples of spoken and colloquial Thai, then came up with their own examples to illustrate how sentences are built. It comes to more than 400 pages, and must represent thousands of hours of work.
The authors consulted Thai speakers interested in passing on the language, to find out what makes it tick. The transliteration system is good: it gives you the length of vowels as they exist in spoken Thai.
This can be different from their value in written Thai, and in fact the authors change the Thai spelling of some words, given in their examples, to show the way the words are pronounced (kao, for he, has a high tone in spoken Thai but rising tone in written Thai) in cases where this differs from the written version!
The book does not confine itself to spoken Thai, however; for any given word ('so', for example, in the sense of consequently or therefore) it will give you the six or seven Thai words in use, and show you how they are deployed; and will tell you which are in every-day use and which you're likely to encounter mainly in writing ie the formal ones you can avoid.
The authors seem to know exactly what trips up or holds back a learner. You'll find an entire chapter here devoted to the order of events (before, after, in three days time), another to tenses, another one again to the use of 'gor', and yet another to end-sentence particles.
This book is a serious and comprehensive study of Thai. I know of none better, and have read plenty. It is accessible, though will take you a while to get through: I spent three hours with it today, and covered less than half a chapter!