Thai for Beginners (英語) ペーパーバック – 1995/4/1
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Designed for either self-study or classroom use. Teaches all four language skills speaking, listening (when used in conjunction with the cassette tapes), reading and writing . Offers clear, easy, step-by-step instruction, building on what has beenpreviously learned. Used by many Thai temples in America.
Benjawan Poomsan Becker was born in Bangkok and spent her childhood in Yasothon, a small town in Northeast Thailand. Her parents are ethic Laotians so she grew up speaking both Thai and Lao. She graduated from Khon Kaen University in Thailand in 1990, with an honored B.A. degree in English.
In April 1990, she received a scholarship from the Japanese government for a sociological research project on Thai people working in Japan. She received her M.A. in sociology from Kobe University in 1994. During that time, she worked as a volunteer interpreter and translator for Thai and Lao workers in distress.
Benjawan gained extensive experience teaching Thai to foreigners while working with the Japan-Thailand Trade Association and Berlitz Language School. She is proficient in four languages: Thai, Lao, Japanese and English.
Benjawan married Craig Becker in 1994. They reside in Berkeley, California where she continues to write books on the Thai and Lao languages. She also has a translation and interpretation business and owns a publishing company.
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While 'Thai for Beginners' certainly is not perfect, it will do to tide you over until you can find a live Thai class. Considering how parched for quality the selection of solo-learner Thai language books is, a class is probably your best bet.
I like the format of this book because each chapter is laid out with vocab, sample sentences and conversations based off the vocab, and quizzes to test your retention. It is ideal for classroom use or self study.
I didn't give this book five stars because there really isn't 260 pages of solid material here. For example, the Read Aloud exercises I did not find useful whatsoever and the alphabet tracing exercises take up altogether too much space. I think it's debatable whether or not a student of this level should even worry about how to draw each symbol in the alphabet.
All in all, this is a book that any beginner to intermediate student of the Thai language should have in their collection.
It needs to be made clear that you need to buy BOTH the book and tape as they are sold separately. It might not be obvious to everyone. A friend of mine made a mistake on this. Anyway, the audio CD version has just been released and it is 100 times easier to use. A good book has just been made better.
As a companion it is pretty decent but could be better. When i arrived I put each CD into my computers optical drive and all of the lessons were imported into iTunes which converted the files to MP4. (it will also import into Windows Media player but Amazon Music does not recognize the file type).
The audio tracks are useful while you are using the book so you can hear the pronunciation and tones from native Thai's. The Paiboon transliteration of Thai to English is better than most systems (pretty much one for every book or video on the Thai language) but are not a substitute for the real thing.
With book in hand you can follow the "Guide to Pronunciation" and each of the lessons 1-10 and get a good understanding of pronunciation for both male and female speakers although the Thai speaker is female. She uses both male and female articles in different phrases, however if you are not using this as a companion you would not understand the different articles used by male and female speakers, one of the reasons I stress this is a companion app, not a replacement.
I had hoped to be able to just play it in background to help me remember the words and grammar, playing it over and over while out on a run or in backgrounds at home. My playback is somewhat useful, but could be more so. For each of the words Vocabulary section of the audio CD the English word is pronounced then the Thai equivalent. However for the Conversations sections there is no translation so you need to already know what is being said. The same is true of the Guide to Pronunciation at the beginning of the CD. I think they left them out because of disk space but should have gone to an audio DVD instead and included the translations. I am sure it would have added at least another hours worth of audio but would have been more useful.
My one other quibble it that the music at the beginning of each lesson is loud grating and annoying and literally get's to be more so with each lesson. By Lesson 10 it puts my teeth on edge.
Having said that I still recommend this as a companion to the book.
Another very useful companion is the app for both IOS and Android which does have the translations for all lessons and the pronunciation guide so you can play them one word or phrase at a time. Curiously the conversations are missing altogether but not a huge loss. A great feature of these is that you can also do a "test" on each section for both Reading and Listening, and Reading Only. For Reading and Listening they show a word, phrase or sentence in Thai Script and use both male and female speakers to speak. Then you have a multiple choice selection to select the meaning. In Reading Only you still have the same multiple choice but just the script. I have found it very useful in learning to read. In the app you cannot play in background, only one at a time.
I later saw a copy in a store in Patong beach. The store owner reccomended it as the the best over more expensive courses.
Thai friends were so impressed by my skills that some of them even bought copies to help them with their English!
Amazon should note that the book is useless without the audio CD.
The book and CD s are a set, yet is offered seperately on Amazon.
Thai is a 'tonal language'. You will not succeed without audio help.
Its a great course.Load it onto your Ipod and go for it...
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