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Learn Thai with Benjawan Poomsan Becker

Benjawan Poomsan Becker

Learning the Thai language with Benjawan…

It is an undisputed fact that Benjawan Poomsan Becker of Paiboon Publishing is the top producer of Thai language products.

With that jewel in mind… while I was working on the Benjawan Poomsan Becker Interview, I came up with a way to show just how proliferate she is.

Not only would I list each of her language courses, but I would share the details of each product. Most important? The table of contents and vocabulary count.

Vocabulary count is a popular way of keeping score. I don’t do it, but many language learners do. And when I contacted Benjawan about the vocab count in some of her courses, she kindly obliged (thanks Benjawan!)

Products from Paiboon Publishing…

Benjawan is constantly adding new products; below is what she has so far. And when her new products hit the market, I will edit them in too (foo foo to the ‘no editing of blog posts’ rule).

Thai for Beginners

Thai for BeginnersAuthor: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 1995
Pages: 262
Size:8-1/4 x 5-3/4 x 5/8″
Sound files: CD
Vocabulary: 880 vocabulary words + sentences
Dictionary: No

Overview: Thai for Beginners teaches speaking, listening, reading and writing at the beginner level.

Table of contents:

  • Guide to Pronunciation
  • Lesson 1: Greetings; polite particles; yes-no questions; personal pronouns; cardinal and ordinal numbers; the Thai writing system; consonant classes; determining tones in written Thai; middle consonants; long vowels; tone marks
  • Lesson 2: bpen, yuu (to be); more vowels; live and dead syllables; tone rules for middle consonants
  • Lesson 3: Colours; ja (future tense); daai (can) more vowels; complex vowels; final consonants; seven vowels that change their forms; tone rules for middle consonants (cont.)
  • Lesson 4: Telling time; high consonants; tone rules for high consonants
  • Lesson 5: Days of the week; months; tone marks with high consonants; low consonants introduced
  • Lesson 6: ao, yaak (to want); gamlang (to be …ing); tone rules for low consonants
  • Lesson 7: dai-yen (to hear); jam (to remember); noon-lap (to fall asleep); moong (to look); tone rules for low consonants (cont.)
  • Lesson 8: Body parts; everyday life’ special )))); silent hhhh
  • Lesson 9: Family and kinship terms; occupations; animals; how to use ddddd; other features of written Thai
  • Lesson 10: Comparisons; adjectives; classifiers
  • Appendix 1: Summary of the Thai writing system
  • Appendix 2: Test and writing exercises

Purchase: Thai for Beginners

Thai for Intermediate Learners

Thai for Intermediate LearnersAuthor: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2007
Pages: 211
Size: 8-1/4″ x 5-3/4″ x 1/2″
Sound files: 2 CDs
Vocabulary: 1200 vocabulary words + sentences
Dictionary: No

Overview: Teaches vocabulary, sentence structure, and conversation.

Table of contents:

  • Guide to Pronunciation
  • Lesson 1: Directions; Thai place names; public holidays; provinces
  • Lesson 2: More directions; Bangkok place names
  • Lesson 3: Using
  • Lesson 4: using
  • Lesson 5: Using
  • Lesson 6: Using
  • Lesson 7: Thai names; food; desserts; English names used in Thai
  • Lesson 8: More about kinship terms; pronouns
  • Lesson 9: Using particles
  • Lesson 10: The twelve year cycle; words from English
  • English translation
  • Test answers

Purchase: Thai for Intermediate Learners

Thai for Advanced Readers

Thai for Advanced ReadersAuthor: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2000
Pages: 208
Size: 8-1/4″ x 5-3/4″ x 1/2″
Sound files: 2 CDs
Vocabulary: 950 vocabulary words + sentences
Dictionary: No

Overview: Thai reader with vocabulary list, definitions, and pronunciation guide.

Table of contents:

  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Part one: Passages in Thai: My family, When I was a student, Thai food, Thai geography, My hobbies, Songkran Day, My university life, Muay Thai, religions in Thailand, Loy Kranthong Day, Thai language, climate of Thailand, Hill tribes of Thailand, education in Thailand, Thai people in America, a brief history of Thailand
  • Part two: Practice reading the newspapers: Brief news, world news, horoscope, help wanted, advertisement
  • Part three: Miscellaneous Thai: Thai National Anthem, Buddhist prayer, tongue twister, Ai Mai Muan, Thai songs, Thai proverbs, Provinces in Thailand, the ten Asean countries
  • References

Purchase: Thai for Advanced Readers

Practical Thai Conversation 1

Practical Thai Conversation 1Author: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2005
Pages: 81
Size: 7-1/2″ x 5-3/4″ x 1/2″ (hard case with booklet)
Sound and video files: 1 DVD
Vocabulary: 430 vocabulary words
Dictionary: No

Overview: See and hear Thai conversations. You are given a choice of subtitles: English, transliteration, and Thai.

Table of contents:

  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Conversation 1: Greetings and introductions
  • Conversation 2: Asking for directions and taking a taxi
  • Conversation 3: Asking for directions II
  • Conversation 4: Asking for personal information
  • Conversation 5: In a Thai restaurant
  • Conversation 6: On the telephone
  • Conversation 7: Shopping
  • Conversation 8: In a hotel
  • Conversation 9: Talking about yourself
  • Conversation 10: Talking about Thailand

Purchase: Practical Thai Conversation 1

Practical Thai Conversation 2

Practical Thai Conversation 2Author: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2006
Pages: 52
Size: 7-1/2″ x 5-3/4″ x 1/2″ (hard case with booklet)
Sound files: 1 DVD
Vocabulary: 211 vocabulary words
Dictionary: No

Overview: The conversations are targeting intermediate Thai learners. As with volume 1, there is a choice of subtitles: English, transliteration, and Thai.

Table of contents:

  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Conversation 1: At the bank
  • Conversation 2: Making phone calls
  • Conversation 3: Talking about work
  • Conversation 4: At the tailor
  • Conversation 5: Directing the secretary
  • Conversation 6: At the doctor’s clinic
  • Conversation 7: Looking for a place to rent
  • Conversation 8: Describing people
  • Conversation 9: Going to Songkran Festival

Purchase: Practical Thai Conversation 2

Speak Like a Thai 1

Speak Like a Thai 1Author: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2007
Pages: 80
Size: 7-1/2″ x 5-3/4″ x 1/2″ (hard case with booklet)
Sound files: 1 CD
Vocabulary: 500 key words and phrases
Dictionary: No

Overview: Basic and common expressions in Thai.

Table of contents:

  • About the book
  • Politeness
  • Characteristics of the Thai language
  • Guide to pronunciation
  • 500 Thai phrases

Purchase: Speak Like a Thai 1

Speak Like a Thai 2

Speak Like a Thai 2Author: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2006
Pages: 52
Size:4-5/8″ x 3-1/4″ x 1/2″
Sound files: CD
Vocabulary: 250 key words and phrases.
Dictionary: No

Overview: Thai slang and idioms. Includes 320 bonus words (not recorded on the audio CD).

Table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Practical Thai conversation

Purchase: Speak Like a Thai 2

Speak Like a Thai 3

Speak Like a Thai 3Author: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date:
Pages:
Size:4-5/8″ x 3-1/4″ x 1/2″
Sound files: CD
Vocabulary: 400 key words and phrases
Dictionary: No

Overview: Common Thai proverbs and sayings.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Thai proverbs and sayings

Purchase: Speak Like a Thai 3

Speak Like a Thai 4

Speak Like a Thai 4Author: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2008
Pages: 89
Size:4-5/8″ x 3-1/4″ x 1/2″
Sound files: CD
Vocabulary: 300 key words and phrases
Dictionary: No

Overview: Thai heart words. Includes 160 bonus words (not recorded on the audio CD).

Table of contents:

  • Guide to pronunciation
  • 300 Thai heart words
  • Featured ‘jai’ word
  • Review of Thai phrases, slang and sayings with the word ‘jai’
  • Other Thai phrases and sayings with ‘jai’
  • Thai names with the word ‘jai’
  • Thai last names with the word ‘jai’
  • Thai songs with the word ‘jai’

Purchase: Speak Like a Thai 4

Speak Like a Thai 5

Speak Like a Thai 5Author: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date:
Pages:
Size: 4-5/8″ x 3-1/4″ x 1/2″
Sound files: CD
Vocabulary: 500 key words and phrases
Dictionary: No

Overview: Phrase book for the Northeastern (Issan) dialect. Includes 190 bonus words (not recorded on the audio CD).

Table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Northeastern dialect
  • Bonus Issan words

Purchase: Speak Like a Thai 5

Speak Like a Thai 6

Speak Like a Thai 6Author: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2009
Pages: 83
Size: 4-5/8″ x 3-1/4″ x 1/2″
Sound files: CD
Vocabulary: 525 key words and phrases
Dictionary: No

Overview: Twenty real-life conversations.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • Greetings and introduction
  • Directions 1
  • Directions 2
  • Personal information
  • Restaurant
  • Wrong number
  • The telephone
  • Shopping
  • Seeing a friend
  • Describing yourself
  • Thailand
  • Directing your secretary
  • The bank
  • Small talk
  • Teaching English
  • Doctor’s office
  • Internet shop
  • Describing people
  • The election
  • The museum
  • Good luck

Purchase: Speak Like a Thai 6

Improving Your Thai Pronunciation

Improving Your Thai PronunciationAuthor: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2003
Pages: 44
Size: 4-5/8″ x 3-1/4″ x 1/2″
Sound files: CD
Vocabulary: 94 vocabulary words
Dictionary: No

Overview: This book is guaranteed to help improve your listening and pronunciation skills. The low number of new vocabulary words in this product assumes the student already knows vocabulary words and is seeking to improve their pronunciation skills.

Table of contents:

  • Guide to pronunciation
  • The five tones
  • The vowels
  • The consonants
  • Clusters
  • Confusing words
  • Poly-syllabic words
  • Thai intonation
  • Tongue twisters
  • Thaiglish

Purchase: Improving your Thai pronunciation

Thai for Travellers Phrase book

Thai for Travellers Phrase bookAuthor: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2006
Pages: 182
Size: 4-5/8″ x 3-1/4″ x 1/2″
Sound files: CD
Vocabulary: 1450 vocabulary words
Dictionary: A vocabulary in the back of the book is arranged by subject.

Overview: Phrase book with sound files.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Greetings and introductions
  • Often used phrases
  • Language difficulties
  • At the hotel
  • Getting around
  • Shopping
  • Services
  • Phone conversations
  • Food and drinks
  • Health matters
  • Emergencies
  • Small talk
  • Love and romance
  • Vocabulary

Purchase: Thai for Travellers Phrase book

Three-way Thai-English Dictionary

Three-way Thai-English DictionaryAuthor: Benjawan Poomsan Becker and Chris Pirazzi
Date: 2009
Pages: 982
Size: 5-4/4″ x 4-1/4″ x 1-1/2″
Sound files: No
Vocabulary: 26,000+
Dictionary: :-)

Overview: Three way dictionary Thai-English English-Thai English-Thai transliteration

Table of contents:

  • How to use the dictionary
  • Speaking and understanding Thai
  • Reading and writing Thai
  • Section one: English
  • Section two: Thai
  • Section three: Thai sound
  • Appendices
  • Quick reference

Purchase: Three Way Thai-English Dictionary

Thai-English English-Thai Dictionary

Thai-English English-Thai DictionaryAuthor: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2002
Pages: 658
Size: 5-3/4″ x 4″ x 1″
Sound files: No
Vocabulary: 16,000+
Dictionary: :-)

Overview: Dictionary with transliteration for non-Thai speakers.

Table of contents:

  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Thai writing system
  • Dictionary abbreviations
  • Section one: English-phonetic-Thai
  • Section two: Phonetic-English-Thai
  • Appendix

Purchase: Thai-English English-Thai Dictionary

Thai Hit Songs Vol. 1

Thai Hit SongsAuthor: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Date: 2009
Pages: 96
Size: 4.8″ x 7.1″
Sound files: Yes
Vocabulary: Unknown
Dictionary: No

Overview: The idea is to learn Thai language while singing songs.

Table of contents:

  • Thailand fever
  • Bangkok
  • Thai proverbs
  • I My Muan
  • Thai slang
  • Learning Issan
  • Thai consonants
  • Heart words
  • Abbreviations
  • Abbreviations song explained
  • Bangkok music
  • Thailand fever

Purchase: Thai Hit Songs Vol. 1

PS: There are no affiliate codes attached to this post.

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My passion is promoting the Thai language. Fullstop. Oh, and traveling. I'm passionate about that as well. And photography too.

16 Comments

  1. Prolific is an understatement. I bought Thai-English English-Thai Dictionary before my very first trip to Thailand and I still have it with me today…dog eared and battered it’s tops in my book.

    I also have Thai for lovers and Practical Thai Conversation 1. All have been invaluable to me and were well worth the money spent.

  2. What is noticeable is how Benjawan prices her products. Compared to others, they are extremely affordable.

    One of the biggies for me in the beginning was Improving Your Thai Pronunciation. It really got me to pay attention to tones.

  3. Since her materials mostly receive rave reviews from users, please allow me to play the devil’s advocate (my critic will focus essentially on “Thai for intermediate learners” and “Thai for advanced readers” since I did not test or barely used her other products) :

    1 – I think that her book titles are clearly misleading : genuine advanced readers would probably be quite disappointed by “Thai for advanced readers” which is more intended to low-intermediate learners in my opinion (and the huge font used is an additional evidence of that). The same can be said about “Thai for intermediate learners”. A book which core content is to introduce “การ”, “ความ”, “น่า”, “ใจ” as well as personal pronouns is definitively intended for beginners.

    2 – Exercises (Tests) in the different books are either uninspired (Thai for intermediate learners) or non-existent (Thai for advanced readers).

    3 – I also found that her books lack of important grammar explanations (buying a good grammar book such as David Smyth “Thai, an essential grammar” is a must for those using Becker’s books).

    I agree with Catherine that a noticeable feature of her products is their affordable pricing. However, I believe most products still have a lot of room for improvement. A new edition of her 3 main books (published between 1995 and 2000 unless I am mistaken) including additional exercises (such as questions related to the the documents presented in the book to test learner’s comprehension, gap-fill exercises, etc.) and additional grammar explanations is long overdue in my opinion.

    While I admit that her books are amongst the best currently available on the market, I believe it has more to do with poor competition on this niche market rather than with the quality of her products per se.

  4. Catherine looking at the big smile on Benjawan’s face in your header I think I might know the thinking behind it.

    ” I think I’m doing rather well in life.”

    That is one impressive list of books and I know from a little research I did, the network of books are spreading worldwide. I recently noticed that I appear to have lost my small Thai-English Dictionary, I’ve probably left it at the village house but if not then I’ll have to buy a new one and if I spot Benjamin’s 16,000+ vocabulary one I’ll grab it.

    That might get a couple more teeth showing in your next header photo of her. What a beautiful smile.

  5. Hi Kat,

    Great post, the woman is an institution in Thai language terms.

    Funnily enough I recently bought the three way dictionary again after losing my original copy. It really is a gem which includes a section on reading and writing Thai (hugely helpful) as well as Romanicised phonetics for all words, and even a phonetic look up page.

    More expensive than other dictionaries (though a thoroughly affordable 500 THB) it has brought my reading and writing up to a new level so comes with a high recommendation from this customer.

    Will look certainly look at other books from Benjawan, thanks for the info.

  6. Thanks very much Catherine for putting this extensive list together. I just ordered three books off your site!!! I’ve found Improving Your Thai Pronunciation very very helpful. Listen to it frequently since it’s on my iPhone.

    There is one thing that does bother me and it’s the poor recording of the CDs. Later ones are better, but there’s one early CD set that has four or five speakers. Each person is mic’ed differently with one Thai man “in and out of the frame” so to speak. And Greg (or Craig) Becker rushing through script. He’s better in a later CD, the Thai Phrases set.

    But yes, indispensable and probably the broadest choice of learning aids.
    .-= SiamRick´s last blog ..Canadian boys need to toughen up =-.

  7. Hi All! Apologies for being tardy. I’ve been running around Chantaburi, collecting rocks.

    Rem – Have you read the interview with Becker? She explains how she came up with each of the courses: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.

    Martyn – Benjawan has a new dictionary out – the Three Way. It has now replaced her smaller dictionary as the one I use if I can’t find what I need online.

    Hi Jon – Like you, I’ve found that dictionary very useful. Especially when taking a stab at muffed up transliteration.

    Rick – I believe the earlier ones are from back when they were recorded for cassette players. Benjawan has mentioned updating the materials but I know it’s a big job so will take time.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Thai Language Thai Culture: Telephone Thai =-.

  8. Hi Cat
    Have you already tested the new Thai for Beginners Iphone app?

  9. Michel, I was one of the beta testers – and we just gave away six apps on a recent draw. But I still need to review it.

  10. Hi Cat!
    I thought you have given away 6 thai-English Talking Dictionnaries.
    I refer to the Thai for Beginner Course for the iphone app.

  11. Hi Michel, so you did. Apologies (I’ve been rushing around). Yes, I have the new T4B iPhone app. For the brief time I’ve played with it, I found it very well made. The app is set up around acquiring vocabulary and sentences by listening, reading, and then quizzing what you’ve learned. The Thai script is plenty large enough to read (a beef of mine with apps). I’m a visual/sound learner so for me this app puts Benjawan’s study materials into a format I would use more often.

  12. asaigirl4ever

    June 29, 2011 at 1:01 am

    I love her stuff!

    I finished Beginner’s this year and then reread it. Then whizzed through Intermediate. After rereading it I’ve started Advanced.

    I didn’t like how learning the Thai script was taught. Explanations were good, but not how to actually pronounce the letters. After learning the alphabet it all made sense. I loved Intermediate. Missing the quizzes in Advanced.

    I’ve used these books on my own to supplement going through the ULS modules. I love how grammar is explained by Bejawan way better than ULS/UTL. A friend is a big fan of her style too. I’ve got at least 6 CDs of Benjawans and would love to have all of hers!

  13. Great to hear :-) Have you sampled Benjawan’s iPhone and iPad apps? The dictionary is the best on the market and Thai for Beginners is handy as it offers quizzes (needed for beginners).

  14. I don’t have an iphone/ipad. I’ve seen her computer version for sale.

  15. Her software is the same as the app (Thai for Beginners) but I found the app version easier to operate as I have a Mac. Intermediate and advanced versions would come in handy…

  16. I am study your beginners bok and CDs. I really like it. I was stationed at Don Muang in 66-67. I am thinking about visiting Thailand maybe Chiang Mai or Bangkok to have some minor surgery next spring. I hope to be a little more proficient by then. I have just ordered your intermediate book and CDs. I know they will be as good as the beginners program. Thanks. L. David Morris in Tennessee.

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