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3.7 out of 5 stars6
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 8 October 2003
Learning to speak thai is difficult enough. Getting to grips with constructing sentances is another matter altogether. I discovered this essential book a year into learning thai at evening classes. Oh how I wish Id discovered it sooner. The mystery of thai grammer has, at last, started to become clear. The book is easy to understand, follows a logical format and gives good clear examples of how to formulate sentances.
I thoroughly recommend that anyone seriously wanting to learn the language buys this book at the outset of thier learning process. Shortcomings? More examples perhaps? I cant really criticise anything else.
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on 1 December 2003
I have found this book enormously helpful in learning Thai: it covers a wide range of grammar and is very clear. It is a great source of information about everything from modal verbs to mood particles. If you are serious about learning Thai beyond the basic level, then this book is essential.
However it is flawed: it contains many errors. Some are not that serious (for example, the Thai does not always correspond to the romantisation such as at p134 line 7, or page 133 line 29). But more seriously there are quite a few examples that simply would not be said by Thai speakers (for example pages 119, 120, 135, 157, 166). Therefore to use this book to the full you need a good Thai teacher to keep you clear of these errors.
On balance I have still rated the book highly as it is still a tool that can move your learning of Thai forward a huge distance. The flaws are just irritations which ought to be sorted out in a later edition.
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on 4 April 2008
By the time I could understand what is trying to be achieved in this book I'd already been using two thirds of it!!!
It came across as too complicated (maybe I bought it too soon). His Teach Your Self is so much more useful with it's own little dictionary and fun attitude to teaching the Thai language.
This one is just so dull in comparison.
Even the index is puzzling and not nearly complete.
Sorry David!!!
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on 8 February 2009
I am considering buying this book to enhance my knowledge of Thai sentence structure and tenses, i have spent the past year in Thailand and the vast majority of that time solely with Thai people and am only going to buy this book because i can read Thai script, this is because from the 'look inside' function i am appaled at the quality of transliteration and hasten to add that anyone who was to attempt to read this out to a Thai person would find themselves completely unable to be understood. The biggest problem with learning Thai if you cannot read it is that transliteration differs hugely from one source to another but this is one of the worst..J in Thai IS J NOT C which is just one example of how incorrect it is!! The best source for learning all aspect of the Thai language fo begginers is 'Thai for Begginers/Intermediate Learners and the 3 way dictionary by Benjawan Poomsan Becker,it was because of this series i was able to live with Thai people who had no grasp on English whatsoever- the transliteration is perfect and simple, with all the vocab you are ever likely to need.. get yourself the CDs alongside for perfect pronounciation.
Do yourselves a favour and do not venture near this book unless you can read Thai!!
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on 29 January 2016
very happy
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on 7 December 2008
I haven't purchased this book, but I lived and taught in rural Thailand for a year.

I used the 'look inside' function of this book, and whilst it looks like there is a good general coverage of the language, I think people may be mislead by some of the ways to pronounce the Thai. For example on page ix, 'may day' and 'may chay' - I'd pronounce (as would all the Thai's I met!) 'mai dai' or 'my die' and 'may chai'. (does that help you?!!)

Also, on page 5, maybe they're explaining how they will spell things in the book and how you are to pronounce them, however, it's much more confusing than it needs to be! For example, j IS the letter j in both the Thai alphabet and pronunciation, not a letter c - what on earth does that have to do with anything?!!! 'To go' is pronounced 'bpai' - to me, really different from saying 'pay' (in the book) as in to pay for goods. If I spoke like that in Thailand, no-one would understand!! I asked my brother, who cannot speak Thai, to pronounce them and it was really funny! 95% were wrong!!

Overall, I'd say it may help you learn about construction of sentences or learn vocab or even how to write Thai, but please don't use it for pronunciation if you are a beginner!!!! A dictionary will definitely help you more!!!

SINCE 3 COMMENTS...I believe David Smyth was a Senior Lecturer in Thai at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. Who am I to argue with that. I can't rate the grammar because I don't have a degree in English, I'm sure it's perfect :) I can only rate from my experience of Thai from my year in rural Thailand, and I was just really trying to help people who were new to learning Thai making mistakes about pronunciation. I'm sorry for my obvious naivety of the different systems (IPA or otherwise) used...All I know is I studied three weeks at the AUA in Chiang Mai and it drove me nuts that they didn't simply translate, but used all these 'funny' symbols like upside-down e's; it felt like an extra unnecessary step, almost like I was learning two new languages at once. I tied myself in knots! Whilst on my year in rural Thailand, mixing with no foreigners, just Thai's with very limited English, I simply used a dictionary and learnt the Thai symbols/writing for it, thus missing this intermediate step that I personally found so confusing. Obviously, if you are familiar with this system already it's easy to understand. Also, at the time of my review it was awfully difficult to come by decent Thai translations/writing books to further my Thai, hence I was using all the 'Look Inside' functions I could to determine if it would help me. I did wrongly overlook the fact it was a GRAMMAR book rather than for pronunciation, so I apologise and have since changed my star rating.
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