Teach Yourself Thai Conversation
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  • Teach Yourself Thai Conversation
  • David Smyth
  • Published by: McGraw-Hill
  • Level: Beginner
  • First Published in: 2008

Teach Yourself Thai Conversation is a beginner level course book that focuses on helping students develop their listening and speaking skills. This book comes with an audio CD and it also offers students a variety of example dialogues, pronunciation exercises, vocabulary lists, and much more!

Review posted: 08/01/2014
Have you used this book?

So you want to learn the language spoken in the “Land of Smiles” but don’t have a teacher? Don’t worry; the Teach Yourself series by McGraw-Hill has the perfect book for you; Teach Yourself Thai Conversation. If you are truly dedicated to learning the language, this self-study book and audio CD set can have you speaking and understanding basic Thai within a matter of months.

As this is a conversation book, you will find that there is no written Thai taught at all. You don’t have to have any prior knowledge on the Thai system of writing as the entire book is written in a Roman phonetic system. Early on in the book, the author explains how the Roman letters and phonetic symbols are used. Thai has five tones and this is very important to understand so as to say the right things. For the average westerner, mastering tones may be the toughest part about learning Thai so pay extra attention from the get go.

Teach Yourself Thai Conversation is for beginner students who wish to move beyond “Sawasdee” and “Mai Pen Lai”. The book is divided into ten “conversations” (which are pretty much units). Each conversation has two parts and both can be heard with the help of the CDs. In the book, the conversations are also written out in Romanized Thai and English.

"For the average westerner, mastering tones may be the toughest part about learning Thai so pay extra attention from the get go."

At the end of the conversations, you will find a short section with grammatical explanations. This section is only a few pages long and it only explains a few grammatical concepts such as parts of speech and asking questions. If you are serious about learning Thai and not just “getting by” then this book alone is probably not sufficient enough. It is advisable to get a Thai language teacher as well as a few other books to help you really learn how to speak and understand Thai.

CD 3 has ten additional conversations that cannot be found on the book. One can consider these as “bonus tracks” that are given to the student to further practice his/her listening skills. Since there is no book portion to this CD, if you don’t already have a Thai teacher, then you might want to consider getting one to help you out at this point. Your Thai teacher will come in handy to make sure you really understand what has been said and to give further explanation of any grammatical or vocabulary questions that will certainly arise.

If you are a Thai teacher, this book and audio set is a great thing for you to use for the purpose of assigning homework. You can tell your students to listen to the audio at home and practice saying the lines provided in the book. In the classroom, you can spend more time explaining the grammar and general meaning. This book can be used as a basic course book for listening classes, but you may find that each conversation is short and there isn’t a lot you can do with them as far as assigning comprehension questions and other assignments. While one can make do with this book and audio set, it’s definitely not the best one out there.



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