Item description for Everyday Thai for Beginners by Wiworn Kesavatana-Dohrs, Ph.D....
Everyday Thai for Beginners is a language textbook that lays the essential groundwork for mastering authentic spoken Thai. The textbook provides an introduction to the basics of communication using Central Thai vocabulary and idioms. Professor Wiworn Kesavatana-Dohrs has developed and perfected the methods and materials used in this volume over her many years of Thai language instruction at the University of Washington. The course book has proved effective in teaching university students, and it can be used more widely in a variety of teaching and learning contexts. Organized into a total of seven units and thirty thematic lessons, the book is designed to be used for a one-year study of Thai, taking a total of thirty weeks and 150 hours to complete. Basic Thai reading and writing ability is assumed from the outset in order to avoid using transliteration systems that hinder the mastery of correct pronunciation and intonation. Accompanying the book is an easy-to-use CD containing recordings of the vocabulary and drills in MP3 format.
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Studio: Silkworm Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6.5" Height: 9" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Oct 30, 2007
Publisher Silkworm Books
ISBN 9749575970 ISBN13 9789749575970
Reviews - What do customers think about Everyday Thai for Beginners?
superb book, even with the strange CD Sep 28, 2009
As others have said, this is a great book that doesn't rely on transliteration. The learner needs to be aware that merely memorizing the characters and tone rules in the preface will almost certainly not be enough to allow one to get comfortably through the rest of the book. One really has to learn the writing system well so that they are not constantly struggling when they should be learning vocabulary and grammar.
I really like the reviewer Aidan McDowell's suggestion - learn the writing system by using Becker's first book, or perhaps her first 2 books. There is no shame or even damage in starting with transliteration, as another poster seems to claim. This is not Japanese kana. This is not Russian cyrillic. This is the hardest alphabet in use (Chinese characters aren't considered an alphabet), and takes many hours, spread out over many weeks, to get comfortable with it. Going through the first Becker book will give you vocabulary and grammar to reinforce the writing system as you learn it. The second book only provides transliteration for new vocabulary, thus weening the learner off of transliteration. At this point you will finally be good enough to use Everyday Thai for Beginners (ETB).
So why use ETB at all? After all, Becker is a beginner text too. 1) ETB covers more grammar, more vocabulary, and is better organized. It is written more like one would expect a western text book to be written, making it friendlier in many ways. 2) Thai is a difficult language. Covering the same material in a different way, this time without transliteration, is very helpful reinforcement.
It's a great text, but like so many texts, it comes with a not-so-useful CD. Ok many other language texts only attempt to give recordings of vocabulary and sentences in the book. This one does a little more, by doing some drills and patterns. But there is some really strange stuff here. 1) long vowels are way over pronounced. I understand the need to give good examples to distinguish long and short vowels, but this is ridiculous. The male speaker is fine. The female speaker does all the over-pronouncing, and unfortunately, it goes beyond long vowels. She also quite often pronounces too slowly. Very unnatural, and it's not recommended to imitate her. 2) there are 2 female announcers (I'm not talking about voice actors here). The native english speaker says the word "Patterns!" in a way that ensures the listener she wants to kill you. The native Thai speaker pronounces two phrases in English so poorly it took me a long time to figure out what she was saying. "question words" and "miscellaneous". I thought she was speaking Thai. It's worth buying the book just to hear this strange pronunciation - it cracks me up every time:) 3) This is the most important one. IMO, a CD should be able to stand alone. You should be able to play it in your car, without looking at the book, and use it. It's not so hard to design something like this, although I admit it would be more work that what they did here. Give us something we will find useful by itself, and we will play it again and again. Reading off a list of words and sentences in Thai is better than nothing, but not much.
The Best book to learn Thai Jul 15, 2009
This is the best book that I have encountered while learning the Thai language. Its best feature is also its seemingly drawback: it does not offer transliteration. This is in perfect compliance with the most important principle in learning Thai: you must be able to read first and not learn from transliteration. This is because Thai is not so difficult to read and if you rely on transliterations, these are diverse and often wrong. By learning the language in its written form, you will memorize the words in its written form, which will allow you to read them and write them. The book offers a perfect and progressive explanation of the Thai grammar. I have bought and read several other books, but in my opinion as a linguist, this is the best one. With regards to learning how to read, the preamble offers a good synopsis, but you must buy another book to learn to read first.
Don't be without it! Jul 4, 2009
This is the book every beginning student of the Thai language has been waiting for. The GREAT strength of the book may be a weakness for some readers. It is that the book doesn't rely on Roman transliteration at all. It assumes that you know how to read and write Thai script, and above all, that you know how to pronounce the language. There is no uniform system of transliteration for the Thai language. This is good, because it should get students of Thai over the idea that they need one. Transliterations are a crutch, and should be dispensed with as soon as possible; better yet, don't even get used to using them. There are a few Thai courses out there which rely entirely on transliteration, or introduce Thai script only late in the course. Such courses are useless, and you shouldn't even bother looking at them.
So how does one learn how to read,write, pronounce, and listen to Thai? I would highly recommend "Thai for Beginners" by Benjawan Poomsan Becker. Her book teaches the tone rules for Thai better than any I've ever found. Work through that book, and you'll have a basic vocabulary and lots of practice with pronunciation--more than enough to begin "Everyday Thai for Beginners." I also recommend that you buy the CDs and software that come with Becker's book. If you want a lot of extra practice listening to Thai, I would recommend Becker's two books "Practical Thai Conversation," Volumes I and II. These can be profitably used with "Everyday Thai for Beginners." Both have accompanying DVDs. (Becker's "Thai for Beginners" is so good that I used it to teach English to Thais when I was living in Thailand.) You might also get the course "Pimsleur Thai," if you want to listen to Thai being spoken while you're driving. Its major defect, however, is that there is no worthwhile book accompanying it, and the moderator makes frequent mistakes. And too, when you've gone though the entire 30 lessons, your vocabulary will be extremely limited. And worst of all, the course is very pricey.
I've been busy learning Thai for over 12 years now, and so I speak from experience when making these recommendations. I can't emphasize enough that if you want to learn Thai, you've got to do more than simply memorize a vocabulary list, and then try to string words together. If you do it that way, I can assure you that you won't be understood when you try to speak Thai with a native speaker, and you won't understand them either. Words MUST be used in complete sentences, at the very least. You've got to learn how to recognize them as part of an oral presentation--much like listening to a song. Unlike other tonal languages, the tones of Thai are quite subtle, and easily missed in everyday usage if you don't know how to listen for them. Like any other language, unless you learn how to make the same "noises" which native speakers of a language make, you won't be understood. No child ever learned his or her native tongue by picking up a book on grammar or vocabulary. Language is a form of life, and must be "lived" to be used and understood.
By the way, another very effective way to get used to hearing and pronouncing Thai (which, however, is not a substitute for a good text and CDs or DVDs, or practicing with native speakers) is to try to find a local Thai restaurant or bar that has karaoke. Try to get your hands on karaoke DVDs, listen to them, and practice singing. I've been doing this for some time now. It's a fun way to reinforce what you're learning. And when you visit the restaurant and try out your skills, even if you bungle it, your efforts will be appreciated. Thais really do love foreigners who take their language seriously enough to make the considerable effort it takes to learn it. And when you visit Thailand, being an American you'll become an instant celebrity if you know even a little Thai. People will want you to teach them English.
Thai Language Beginner Mar 20, 2009
A great find! Written with American teaching methods in mind. Each lesson starts with vocab, then grammar, then a series of drills along with a variety of extra activities to reinforce the lessons goals. The CD is extremely clear and many examples are given in male and female voices. The only other example of such a logical layout is the AUA series of books, but theyre difficult to find and outdated. You wont find any transliterated text in this book, so buyer beware! But if you can read Thai, even at a basic level, this would be a good follow-on.
Review of books for beginning Thai Language Students Nov 4, 2008
This book introduces the Thai Language concurrent with the Thai writing system. In my opinion learning the Thai writing system is indispensable to the proper understanding and pronunciation. Most of the beginning books try to teach using a transliteration of english, which end up being really ambiguous, and, in the long run will waste alot of the students time trying to understand Thai sounds. The type of system used in the book will yield good results, and lay a good foundation for the student willing to put forth the necessary effort. Have fun!!