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Thai Language Phrase Books: A Mega Review

Thai Language Phrase Books

The guts of a phrase book…

Before embarking on this review, I held preconceived notions of what to expect from phrase books: handy phrases, brief dictionary, small in size, an easy to skim layout and design.

After the books started arriving (thanks Danny!) a serious rethink came into play.

I now know that most Thai phrase books have mistakes, some minute, some quite shocking. And after much thought and wringing of hands, I decided that there just wasn’t the room to make them a focus. Also, while it is my aim to point out features (or the lack), is not my intention to ruffle feathers.

Phrase book considerations…

If I might be so bold… here’s a suggestion for using this post. When reading through the reviews, look out for what you need out of a phrase book.

For instance: If you are a first time tourist or expat new to Thailand, along with Thai phrases, an introduction to Thai culture will be important to you; if you are older or have poor eyesight, you’ll need a decent size copy; if you intend on getting help from Thais, Thai script comes into it; if you have a Thai partner with poor eyesight, the size of the Thai script comes into it too; if you are a Thai language learner, a section on grammar is helpful; if a certain transliteration style bugs you, you need to know before you buy. And for all you design lovers out there, my, oh my.

NOTE: To see a sample page from each phrase book, click on the graphics. To be doubly sure to find a Thai phrase book that fits what you need, skim the table of contents included at the bottom of each review.

Below are the criteria I created to review phrase books:

  • Target market: Is it for tourists, expats new to Thailand, or Thai language learners?
  • Information: Does it weigh on cultural information, phrases or dictionary entries?
  • Dictionary: How extensive is it? Does it have Thai script, transliteration or both?
  • Sound: Is sound included to assist with the mishmash of Thai transliterations?
  • Size: Will it fit into a pocket, purse or backpack, or is it more suited for the coffee table?
  • Design style: Do the colour and font choices add or subtract to the experience?
  • Thai script: Is it too small to read in low light situations?
  • Transliteration: Do they have ก as a g or k; is จ a j or ch?
  • Overall design: Is the layout easy to navigate?

And before you ask, yes, the phrase books reviewed include most of the needed basic phrases. Some more than others.

What other people are saying about the phrase books…

When I interviewed seasoned expats, the opinions on Thai phrase books were mostly negative (some even included expletives). I received complaints such as, “Why are the sentences so long and complicated?”, “Thais don’t speak like that!'”,”Why alphabetise by transliteration?”, and “Why is the Thai script so small?”

When my Thai teacher scanned the phrase books, she was pleased to see the range of phrases (as I’m sure you are too) but was surprised to discover impossibly small Thai script, and at times, no Thai script at all. Her comments? “How can a Thai help when they can’t even read the Thai?” and “How can a Thai help when there is only transliteration?”

When reading reviews on amazon.com, I noticed that some reviews were copied across different languages, which tended to null the glowing reports. I was also surprised to find raving reviews about phrase books I thought were total cacca.

But a given, with people having different wants and needs, personal opinions on phrase books will be all over the place.

The personal opinions below (cacca or otherwise), are mine.

And now for the Thai language phrase book review…

Berlitz Thai Travel Pack

Berlitz Phrase BookAuthor: Berlitz Publishing
Publisher: Berlitz Publishing
Date: 2004
Pages: 192
Size: 5-6/8 x 4-1/8 x 1/2″
Sound files: CD
Estimated phrases: 2000+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: English-Thai-Transliteration 2000+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

This review is from the 2004 edition (2007 is nowhere to be found in Thailand) so until they upgrade Berlitz in May of this year, this one stands.

Overview: Albeit a bit old-fashioned, the CD with British-Thai speakers is the prize of this package. In the phrase book, the colour coding with subject titles along the edges of the pages helps with navigation. All throughout the book you’ll find tidbits on Thailand. Being able to find where Thai words are used in a phrase book is important, and Berlitz does it well. Acting as an index, the English dictionary and list of Thai words have page numbers pointing back to their usage in the book.

Possible negatives: Some of the information is (understandably) out of date. But more serious, by using a chicken scratch light font, the size of the Thai script is unbelievably small even for Thais. While it does have a short list of Thai words at the back, the English-Thai-Transliteration dictionary is not helpful for getting assistance from Thais.

Table of contents:

  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Some basic expressions
  • Arrival
  • Hotel-accommodation
  • Eating out
  • Travelling around
  • Sightseeing
  • Relaxing
  • Making friends
  • Shopping guide
  • Your money: banks-currency
  • At the post office
  • Doctor
  • Reference section
  • Basic grammar
  • Dictionary and index
  • Thai index
  • Map of Thailand

Collins Thai Phrasebook CD Pack

Collins Thai PhrasebookAuthor: Collins UK
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Date: May 2008
Pages: 256
Size: 4-5/8 x 3-1/4 x 1/2″
Sound files: 1 CD
Estimated phrases: 1000+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: English-Thai-Transliteration / Thai-Transliteration-English, 1500+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: Collins includes a CD with British-Thai speakers; the sound files are separated by subject. The book has an excellent layout, is easy to read, and is the smallest phrase book of the lot. The colour coding on the page edges helps with navigation. On the footer of some pages are hints directing you to similar subjects. Useful information about the Thai culture is dotted around without weighing the phrase book down with too much information. The menu reader with Thai-Transliteration-English is practical when reading from a Thai menu without English, same goes for the signs and notices section.

Possible negatives: The eating out section could use more food choices. For cross-checking words used in phrases, adding page numbers to the dictionary entries would greatly add to the usefulness of this book (any phrase book actually). After a little use, the plastic coating on the cover started rolling off so if you do buy this book, perhaps have the bookstore cover it with a book protector.

Table of contents:

  • Using your phrase book
  • Pronouncing Thai
  • Top ten tips
  • Talking to people
  • Getting around
  • Driving
  • Staying somewhere
  • Shopping
  • Leisure
  • Communications
  • Practicalities
  • Health
  • Different types of travellers
  • Reference
  • Eating out
  • Menu reader
  • Grammar
  • Public holidays
  • Dictionary

Easy Thai

Easy ThaiAuthor: Assistant Professor Boonjira Thungsuk and Professor Dr. Cholticha Bamroongraks
Publisher: Book Promotion and Service Co., Ltd
Date: 2006
Pages: 238
Size: 5-1/2 x 4 x 1/2″
Sound files: No
Estimated phrases: 700+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: English-Transliteration-Thai 1500+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: This informative phrase book has clearly been written by authors living in Thailand, and going one further, both are Thai. The phrases are not merely generic to phrase books (a beef of mine), but relate directly to what you will need for Thailand. The tips also reflect an insider’s knowledge of Thailand. The illustrations are wonderful (hats off to illustrator Tammasak Sittipongsutti). And while decent illustrations might not matter to some, they do give a pleasant holiday feeling throughout the book. There are titles both across the top of each page as well as along the sides, making navigation a breeze. All fonts are legible (and that includes the Thai script).

Negatives: There is no Thai-English dictionary, so no sharing this Thai phrase book with your Thai buddies. Marketing to short time tourists, the authors decided to omit tone markers so you are on you own there too. Without an accompanying CD, you’ll need to take extra care when using Thai words on the danger list (if you don’t know of any danger words, just keep on eye out for telltale signs of a Thai in distress).

Table of contents:

  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Basic Thai grammar
  • Social customs and home life
  • Your arrival in Thailand
  • At your hotel
  • Travelling around
  • Eating and drinking
  • Shopping
  • Emergency terms
  • At the doctor s office
  • Post and telephone
  • English-Thai vocabulary

English-Thai Phrase Book with CD

English-ThaiAuthor: Bangkok Book House
Publisher: Bangkok Book House
Date: 2007
Pages: 144
Size: 6-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2/8″
Sound files: 2 CDs
Estimated phrases: 500+
Transliteration: ก=k, จ=j
Dictionary: English-Transliteration-Thai 1000+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: A shrewd move, the index is incorporated with the dictionary, enabling the reader to find where words are used in the book. The CDs, recorded with American-Thai speakers, made me smile when they came into iTunes titled Diary of a Sinner by Petey Pablo, and Obscured by Clouds by Pink Floyd. Sweet. And gals, the sound files are in female voice (yeah for us!), so if your travelling mate is using this phrase book and starts saying คะ (ká) or ค่ะ (khâ) instead of ครับ (kráp ) at the end of sentences, you’ll know why.

Possible negatives: The pages do not have subject titles on the top or along the sides. The Thai script is small; in the dictionary the script is smaller still. The tone marks are squashed into the line of copy above, at times making them difficult to read. The sound files come one to a CD, so if you want to listen by subject, you’ll need to edit them using Audacity or similar. Lacking is a Thai-English dictionary, and nowhere do they have the Thai script first. There are no tips on pronunciation, Thailand, or Thai culture.

Table of contents:

  • Thai language
  • Useful stuff
  • Welcome to Thailand
  • Numbers, days and date
  • Shopping
  • Eating out
  • Travel
  • Weather
  • Leisure and sports
  • Sightseeing
  • Bank, post office and police station
  • Doctor, hospital
  • Small talk
  • Index and dictionary

English-Thai Pocket Book

English-Thai Pocket BookAuthor: Bangkok Book House
Publisher: Bangkok Book House
Date: 2008 (5th edition)
Pages: 194
Size: 6 x 4-1/8 x 1/2″
Sound files: 2 CDs
Estimated phrases: 400+
Transliteration: ก=k, จ=j
Dictionary: No (but there is an index)

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: This book is intended to go with their English-Thai Holidays Language-Guide. And while it is not listed as a phrase book, it is a decent mini-intro to Thai phrases. The two CDs (American and Thai speakers) with files separated into subject increases the value of this book. All copy is legible, even the odd graphics used to denote tones. Subject titles are placed along the top of each page. The circles around important issues are old-fashioned, but effective.

Possible negatives: The nine full page ads are invasive. Nowhere does the Thai script come first. If you need a dictionary, the lack of one in Thai or English will be a problem.

Table of contents:

  • Thai language
  • Greetings
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Question and answer
  • Numbers and counting
  • Time and date
  • Shopping
  • Living
  • Working
  • Family
  • Doctor’s office
  • Post Office and bank
  • Telephone
  • Nature
  • Travel
  • Feelings
  • Love
  • Important phrases
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Index

Hide This Thai Phrase Book

Hide This Thai Phrase BookAuthor: APA Publications
Publisher: APA Publications
Date: Sept 2008
Pages: 129
Size: 5-7/8 x 4 x 3/8″
Sound files: No
Estimated phrases: 1000+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: Transliteration-English, English-Transliteration

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: The marketing ploy of this phrase book is the title, “Hide This Thai Phrase Book” with a cover blurb that yells, “WARNING: Highly inflammatory language inside. Discretion is recommended when using with locals”. As a red thermometer graphic marks where the bad words are used, they are quite easy to find. All two of them. Aiming for a young audience, the writing and design is modern, with copy that is (mostly) easy to read. The Thai script is bold (at long last) and legible. The subject titles are along the page sides. On the inside of the book, the red and black grunge titles help with navigation.

Negatives: If you are of the opinion that learning cuss words in Thai is a negative, then this book is not for you. If you expected more than two cuss words, then, well, well, this book can’t win for losing. Nowhere is the Thai script first, not even in the dictionary (which has no Thai script at all). So gals and guys, if you bought this book to get close to a sweet Thai, totally forget about waggling it in their direction with the aim of asking for help (sounds drastic when I say it like that, yes?) The only bad style choice is the handwriting font, which is too small in places.

Table of contents:

  • Intro
  • Speak Thai – the easy way
  • The basics
  • Getting around
  • Money
  • Hotel
  • Food
  • Drinks
  • Havin’ fun
  • Sports
  • Makin’ friends
  • Shopping
  • Tech talk
  • Dictionary

Eyewitness Thai Phrase Book

 Eyewitness Thai Phrase BookAuthors: David Smyth, Somsong Smyth
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd
Date: April 2003
Pages: 128
Size: 5-5/8 x 4 x 1/4 inches
Sound files: No
Estimated phrases: 400+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: English-Transliteration-Thai 1000+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: The overall design is better than average. Except for the section paragraphs with copy crammed together, there is plenty of white space between the blocks of text to scan for information. As with Collins Thai, the Thai script comes first in the menu guide and sign section.

Possible negatives: The Thai script is very small, and the light black ink on light green background makes it doubly difficult to read. The dictionary is limited to English-Thai so you cannot ask a Thai for assistance. The dictionary entries are not accompanied by corresponding page numbers.

Table of contents:

  • Pronunciation
  • Cross-cultural notes
  • Useful everyday phrases
  • Days, months, seasons
  • Numbers
  • Time, the calendar
  • Hotels
  • Driving
  • Rail travel
  • By bus and taxi
  • Eating out
  • Menu guide
  • Shopping
  • At the hairdresser
  • Post offices and banks
  • Communications
  • Health
  • Mini-dictionary

Practical Thai 15th Edition

Practical ThaiAuthor: Suraphong Kanchananago
Publisher: APA-C
Date: 2008 (15th edition)
Pages: 320
Size: 5-5/8 x 4-1/4 x 5/8″
Sound files: No
Estimated phrases: 2000+
Transliteration: ก=k, จ=ch
Dictionary: English-Thai 2000+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: This phrase book is chockablock full of Thai words and phrases, tips and information on visiting as well as living in the country. Thailand is a veritable smorgasbord when it comes to choice, and this book has a well-rounded food and shopping section to match. And kudos to them for finally dealing with servants. The book is printed in one colour with a legible Thai script; subject titles can be easily found across the top of each page.

Possible negatives: White space between some of the information would come in handy. The phrase book is missing Thai-English in both the dictionary and restaurant sections. The English-Thai dictionary entries could use page numbers pointing back to where the Thai words appear in the phrase book.

Table of contents:

  • Pronunciation
  • Rudiments of grammar
  • Social customs and home life
  • Words and phrases in common use
  • Your arrival in Thailand
  • Travelling around
  • At your hotel
  • Eating and drinking
  • Shopping and bargaining
  • Making friends
  • Living in Thailand
  • At a doctors office
  • Post, telegraph and telephone
  • Ministries and government departments
  • Some official titles
  • English-Thai vocabulary

Thai for Travellers (Asia Books)

Thai for TravellersAuthor: Suraphong Kanchananaga
Publisher: Asia Books
Date: 2008 (12th printing)
Pages: 309
Size: 5-5/8 x 4-1/8 x 1/2″
Sound files: No
Estimated phrases: 1000+
Transliteration: ก=k, จ=ch
Dictionary: English-Transliteration-Thai 1000+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: Thai for Travellers book has information on Thailand, Thai words and phrases, and samples of Thai grammar. The Thai script is small (borderline tiny) but under good conditions is not impossible to read. The book is printed in one colour, with subject titles easily found across the top of each page. At the back of the book are three pages for jotting down notes.

Possible negatives: It could be improved with an increase of white space in some areas (but mostly it is fine). Nowhere does the Thai script come first. There is no Thai-English dictionary and the English-Transliteration-Thai dictionary does not include page numbers for word entries.

Table of contents:

  • Introducing Thailand
  • Guide to pronunciation
  • A bit of Thai grammar
  • When you enter Thailand
  • Checking in at a hotel
  • Eating and drinking
  • Marketing
  • Products made in Thailand
  • Going about
  • A journey by railway
  • Living in Thailand
  • Travel tips
  • Reference section

Thai for Travellers with CD

Thai for TravellersAuthor: Benjawan Poomsan Becker
Publisher: Paiboon Publishing
Date: 2006
Pages: 182
Size: 5-1/2 x 4 x 3/8″
Sound files: CD
Estimated phrases: 550+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: No

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: The American-Thai speakers on the language CD cover basic Thai phrases with the sound files being separated out by subjects. This is a phrase book that doesn’t strain the eyes with tiny Thai script. The design is old-fashioned, but the copy is mostly easy to read.

Possible negatives: There are no subject titles across the top or along the sides of the pages. And although the copy is easy to read, there are no indications of where you are, so you are forever flipping around. All through the book is English-Transliteration-Thai so this is not a book to share with Thais. There is no dictionary or information for those new to Thailand.

Table of contents:

  • Guide to pronunciation
  • Greetings and introduction
  • 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

Thai in Your Pocket (Asia Books)

Thai in Your PocketAuthor: Globetrotter
Publisher: Asia Books
Date: 2009
Pages: 193
Size: 5-3/4 x 3-7/8 x 3/8″
Sound files: No
Estimated phrases: 600+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: English-Thai-Transliteration / Transliteration-Thai-English 3000+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: There are a few tips for the first time visitor to the Kingdom. Although the Thai section of the dictionary starts off with transliteration, the Thai script comes immediately after it is possible to get help from a Thai. The Thai script is a decent size, printed in a clear font on a mostly white background. Where the Thai script is printed on a coloured background, it is printed in strong black of a readable size. To separate out sections, colour coding graces the page edges.

Possible negatives: It is a first print run, so some of the more glaring snafus have not been tracked down. But all in all, they are not that big of a deal. Not really. Well, ok, I’ve never had to ask a Thai where the ski run is, or if they have avalanches or ice-skating, but there’s always a first time. As with most of the phrase books, the dictionaries do not include page numbers for easy reference.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • How to use this book
  • Pronunciation
  • Grammar
  • Basics
  • Transport
  • Accommodation
  • Eating and drinking
  • Money and shopping
  • Activities
  • Health and safety
  • Etiquette
  • Holidays and festivals
  • Dictionary

Thai: Lonely Planet Phrasebook

Author: Bruce Evans, Lonely Planet Phrasebooks
Publisher: Lonely Planet
Date: 2008 (6th edition)
Pages: 258
Size: 5-1/2 x 3-3/4 x 1/2″
Sound files: No
Estimated phrases: 2000+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: English-Thai-Transliteration / Thai-Transliteration-English with 2000+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: This phrase book is stuffed with phrases, as well as information on Thailand and Thai culture. The book has a pleasant design, similar to The Rough Guide.

Possible negatives: The Thai script is tiny, especially in the dictionary (which is difficult to make out even in good light). The Culinary Reader is alphabetised by transliteration, not Thai-English. I guess if you are quick enough, you could look up a dish after listening to a Thai waitress run through their menu, but it won’t work for reading menus in Thai script. Although there is a brief index in English, neither dictionary includes page numbers pointing back to word entries.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction to Thai
  • Pronunciation
  • Phrasebuilder
  • Language difficulties
  • Numbers and amounts
  • Time and dates
  • Money
  • Transport
  • Border crossing
  • Directions
  • Accommodation
  • Shopping
  • Banking
  • Sightseeing
  • Business
  • Senior and disabled travellers
  • Children
  • Meeting people
  • Interests
  • Feelings and opinions
  • Going out
  • Romance
  • Beliefs and cultural differences
  • Art
  • Sport
  • Outdoors
  • Eating out
  • Self-catering
  • Vegetarian and special needs
  • Culinary reader
  • Essentials
  • Health
  • Dictionary
  • Index

Thai Phrase Book with Tones

ThaiAuthor: Aaron Handel
Publisher: Tiger Press
Date: 2007
Pages: 155
Size: 4 x 5-5/8 x 3/8″
Sound files: No
Estimated phrases: 200+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: No

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: It has been a long time since I’ve seen a book with ruled lines instead of white space, but it does help keep the ideas together.

Possible negatives: If you are a design fan, you might be getting itchy fingers right about now. If you are an academic, perhaps not. This book covers basic phrases and grammar but does not include anything to do with Thais or Thai culture. With a language focus only, there is no information for tourists first coming into the country. It is also lacking a dictionary.

Table of contents:

  • Tones
  • Thai grammar
  • Greetings and questions
  • Numbers
  • Colours
  • Time and date
  • Shopping
  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Travel and driving
  • Money
  • Health
  • Romance
  • Appendix

Thai Without Tears

ThaiAuthor: Denis Segaller
Publisher: Books & Magazine Distributors (Thailand) Co., Ltd
Date: 2002 (2nd edition)
Pages: 362
Size: 5-1/2 x 4 x 1″
Sound files: No
Estimated phrases: 300+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: English-Transliteration-Thai 1300+ word vocabulary, Thai-English 1000+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: Warning: I enjoy reading Denis Segaller, so I might just be a wee bit biased. This book includes warm, personal insights into Thailand and Thai culture; the chapter on understanding Thainglish should be included in all Thai phrase books. The Thai script is a decent size and the transliteration explanations are broken down into American/English and British/English. Another person I know swears by this book too, happily using the phrases and vocabulary in his Palm Pilot for a portable reference.

Possible negatives: Due to the overall arrangement and design layout, it is difficult to find phrases quickly. An index/dictionary combo wouldn’t go amiss, nor would subject titles across the top of each page or along the sides. Take your pick.

Table of contents:

  • Introduction to Thai
  • Understanding Thainglish
  • The bare minimum
  • More ambitious
  • Useful phrases
  • Colours
  • Times and dates
  • Thai social norms
  • Getting around
  • Festivals and public holidays
  • Sightseeing
  • English-Thai glossary
  • Emergency list
  • Thai-English glossary
  • Emergency list

The Rough Guide to Thai Dictionary Phrasebook

Rough GuideAuthor: Lexus, David Smyth, Somsong Smyth
Publisher: Rough Guides; Blg Upd edition
Date: 2006 (2nd edition)
Pages: 288
Size: 5-5/8 x 4-1/8 x 1/2″
Estimated phrases: 1000+
Transliteration: ก=g, จ=j
Dictionary: English-Transliteration-Thai 2000+ word vocabulary, Transliteration-English 2000+ word vocabulary

NOTE: To see a sample page click on the phrase book thumbnail.

Overview: The all-in-one English-Thai dictionary with sentences and dialogue has excellent and well defined sections (eating, signs, how the language works) and legible Thai script. The menu reader is Thai-Transliteration-English, as is the section for signs. Except for the white copy on blue in the front, I prefer this design over all but Collins.

Possible negatives: The scenarios section (16 pages worth) has white copy on light blue pages, making for difficult reading. Another disappointment: it does not include a Thai-English dictionary, instead it has a Transliteration-English dictionary. This means that while you should be able to look up a word after hearing it, you can’t get help from Thais. In my opinion, with the few available phrases being buried in the dictionary, it is a mini-dictionary, not a phrase book.

Table of contents:

  • Basic phrases
  • Scenarios
  • English-Thai
  • Thai-English
  • Thai-English signs and notices
  • Menu reader
  • How the language works

If you have any comments on the individual guides, please add them below or contact me.

Next up: Thai Phrase Books with a Twist.

Reviewing Thai phrase books, the series…

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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.

14 Comments

  1. Wow. This is extremely handy. Thank you Catherine, I am going to go through your reviews and pick one (I already have 1 in your list that I can see, but need a some new inspiration).

  2. Hi Ben. I was tempted to choose a top range in a later post. A range, because no one phrase book has everything.

    So maybe it’s time to design a phrase book? Hmmm… I certainly have one heck of a design brief rumbling around in my head…

  3. Right, it’s about time I subscribed to WLT (check).

    What a mammoth entry! Not surprised you took off to an island to prepare.

    A little off-topic, but for some reason, your RSS feed shows the header image twice (it’s obviously find on-site). Also, the ‘subscribe to comments’ plugin would be great. ;)

  4. Hey David. Welcome :-)

    I asked my programmer about the double headers in the RSS feeds but she doesn’t have a solution (or is busy?) Seems to think it’s a plugin problem.

    Great suggestion about the subscribe to comments plugin. For some reason, I thought I had one for this blog (as you know, I have it for the others).

  5. 10 out of 10 for quick implementation!

  6. And thanks megga for reminding me. I even followed my typical check list (look at plugins in the others, then drag them over) and somehow it didn’t make it on.

    The header problem will take more time. I googled but didn’t come up with anything. It has something to do with lightbox (I believe).

  7. Excellent post cat, lot of work behind such a compilation.

    So which one is your personal favorite?

  8. Obviously, everyone is going to need something different… but so far I’ve been heading out with Colins because it is small, designed for skimming, has a Thai-English dictionary and Thai-English sections to share with Thais, and comes with sound (I need sound). I don’t often use it, but it’s there for when I do need the odd word or phrase.

    And I can see myself grabbing the others too.

    Practical Thai 15th Edition does not have sound, but is full of phrases. Becker’s does have sound, and although it is thin on the phrase end and you can’t share it with a Thai, the phrases are solid. I just found Easy Thai and while it doesn’t have everything I need, I’m fond of it too. And then there is…

    Some raised my eyebrows a notch or three (at one point I had to email Rikker), but that was all part of the fun.

  9. Hi Catherine, an excellent, very informative review… Now you know the criteria I’m looking forward to your addition to the phrasebook market. :) Incidentally I notice this post gets a mention over at New Mandala; http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2009/04/24/review-of-thai-language-phrasebooks/

  10. 5tash, I’ve definitely thought a lot about what would make a decent book.

    The perfect Thai phrase book would also take into account the conversation.

    And that’s why so many people get frustrated. You dig out your phrase, they say something (what, you don’t know)… and then?

    I saw the hit come in from New Mandala but had to rush out. Nice.

  11. Hi Catherine:
    Thanks for your review of Thai Phrase Book With Tones. You might also take a look at Thai Language Course, 4th Edition, Tiger Press. When I first started my publishing adventure, both books were hand made and had lots of errors. Now they are getting pretty good. The Thai Language Course has a new chapter on learing to write in Thai. Both books have lots of stuff about Thailand, including lady boys and eating insects! Is there anything more Thai than that?

  12. Hi Aaron, Will to. Actually, I was thinking about it just this week, when I was at Paragon picking up a few more from Becker.

    ‘ lady boys and eating insects’ Hah! You are right, you can’t get any more Thai than that :-)

  13. may i know where to buy these books?really want to learn thai language…

  14. Hi Joel. Most of the books can be purchased at amazon.com/.co.uk. If you are in Bangkok, some can be found at Kinokuniya Bookstore in Paragon.

    The Lonely Planet and Rough Guide phrase books have since updated (I have those as well – they are pretty much the same with different covers).

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