Thai Language Phrase Books with a Twist

Even more Thai phrase books…

When I went on my Thai phrase book buying spree, several that were not quite right got caught up in the effort. And instead of ignoring their contribution, I decided to include them here.

Bua Luang Phrase HandBook

Bua Luang Phrase BookAuthor: Samorn Chaiyana
Publisher: Bua Luang Pub. Co.
Date: 2003 Third Edition
Pages: 397
Size: 7-1/2 x 5-1/8 x 1″
Sound files: No
Dictionary: No
Estimated phrases: 2000+

Overview:: This is a wonderful resource for getting your foot in the door, but it’s more of an introduction to the Thai language and culture than a traditional phrase book (hence Phrase Handbook included in the title). The design is old-fashioned but nicely laid out and the Thai script is legible.

Possible negatives: There is no dictionary, but as it is too big to carry in your pocket while shopping or sightseeing anyway, it’s no problem making sure that there is a dictionary nearby.

Table of contents:

  • Origins of the Thai language
  • Being polite
  • Some values of the Thai
  • The boring things
  • Basic Thai grammar and stuff
  • Questions and answers
  • Thai phrases
  • Getting to know each other
  • Numbers and counting
  • Thailand’s 76 provinces
  • Where do you come from?
  • What do you do?
  • Coming, going and staying
  • Yes, no, maybe
  • Males and females
  • Family and relatives
  • Weather and nature
  • Telephone
  • At the post office
  • Welcomt to Bua Luang Hotel
  • Clothes and laundry
  • Tuk-tuks and taxis
  • Directions and places
  • Driving a vehicle
  • Bus, train or plane
  • Time
  • Money
  • Shopping and bargaining
  • Eating and drinking
  • Sport, health and body
  • Making friends
  • Say goodbyes
  • Appendixes
  • Culture capsules
  • Special focus on Thai terms
  • Tests and quizzes
  • Thai proverbs

Instant Thai: How to express 1,000 different ideas with just 100 key words and phrases.

Instant ThaiAuthor: Stuart Robson, Prateep Changchit
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Date: July 15, 2007
Pages: 160
Size: 6 x 4 x 1/2″
Sound files: No
Dictionary: English-Thai 550+ word vocabulary
Estimated phrases: 1000+

Overview: Instant Thai deviates from your bog-standard Thai phrase book. It is possible to drag it around Thailand with you, but the emphasis is on learning phrases over grabbing phrases. With a clean layout having breathable white space and good font choices, it is a powerful little book that teaches basic Thai phrases by building from one word and phrase to another. A decent sized Thai script is included.

Possible negatives: It’s not standalone as there just aren’t enough words. An index showing where the 100 Thai words are located would increase the usefulness of this book, as would sound files to help with pronunciation. The dictionary is English-transliteration-Thai, so you cannot share this book with a Thai only speaker.

Table of contents:

  • Preface
  • About the Thai language
  • Spelling and pronunciation
  • Getting to know you
  • Asking questions and getting answers
  • Ordering a meal
  • Shopping and negotiating
  • Getting about
  • Family and friends
  • Entertainments
  • Telling and talking
  • Health and the body
  • Going to the temple
  • English-Thai wordlist
  • Telling the time
  • Thai kinship terms
  • Some Thai proverbs
  • Emergency expressions
  • Suggestions for further reading

Thai Fetch-a-Phrase

Thai Fetch-a-PhraseAuthor: Jonathan Smith
Publisher: Fetch-a-Phrase
Date: 2005
Pages: 1 folded sheet
Size: 8-1/4 x 4-1/2
Sound files: No
Dictionary: English-Transliteration 600+ word vocabulary
Estimated phrases: Difficult to tell

Overview: Over 30 sentences with a decent list of words separated into nouns, verbs, adjectives, time modifiers, etc. The idea is to mix and match with the appropriate sentence; quite clever really.

Possible negatives: The tall, folded laminated sheet is bulky. There is English and transliteration, but no Thai script.

Online resources…

WikiTravel Thai phrasebook

Not offered in Thai, but they could be…

Bottles in translation
More than 100 of the most commonly used words and phrases for a traveler’s most common queries.

Vocabulary Words Shower Curtain
Shower curtains with foreign words and phrases.

Next up: Pictures: When They Can’t Speak Thai….

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.