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Complete Thai with Two Audio CDs: A Teach Yourself Guide 2nd Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071750493
ISBN-10: 0071750495
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Smyth spent many years teaching at universities in Thailand before taking up his current post as Senior Lecturer in Thai at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.
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Product Details

  • Series: Teach Yourself
  • Audio CD: 384 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 2 edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071750495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071750493
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Molley on July 11, 2012
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I am an Intermediate/advanced Thai speaker. I own (and have completed) Pimsleur, all of Benjawan Poomsan Becker's stuff, spoken word Thai, Peter Faller's book, several other no-name books, etc... and this book was my favorite. I found the dialogues most helpful, and there was a good blend between teaching you just enough formal Thai that you will probably use, and teaching you the more colloquial stuff that you will use daily. Put it this way- the book was so good that after using the library's free copy of the older version (I took it to Thailand with me) I decided to buy my own copy. I bought this updated version and was even more impressed. They moved a lot of content around to a more logical order, and added some content that was lacking in the other book. This is by far the best way to learn Thai. My only gripe would be that they don't use the same phoenetic system as Benjawan (which I found to be helpful), but their phonetic system is in 2nd place when compared with some of the other ridiculous ones.
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After having worked through the first two lessons, I must say that the organization of the text book is disjointed and confusing. Vocabulary lists, dialogues, grammar, phonetic transcriptions - it's all intermingled and the student is to make sense of the material by reorganizing it in his notebook. The Latin transcription makes me cringe - that is why the IPA exists! It seems as though the book caters to those who are advised by the author that learning the script is a good idea and who will ignore that advice - as opposed to, "If you don't learn the script, you won't get beyond Lesson 5!" Consequently, the horrible Latin transcriptions are not separated from the Thai script throughout the entire book, but right adjacent to the Thai. This does not at all help with training the eye and brain to recognize and decipher Thai characters. Again, the student is to copy all the phrases into a separate document for appropriate reading practice.

The audio is virtually useless. The English narration occupies so much recording time compared to the Thai speakers that an immersive effect is almost impossible to achieve. The student has to fire up his audio editing software and ruthlessly edit out much of the redundant English in order to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio.

I am disappointed because I am actually comparing this apples-to-apples(!) after experiencing "Complete Hindi: A Teach Yourself Guide (Teach Yourself Language)" of the same series.
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By RCB on November 29, 2011
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I have just received the Complete Thai course and by the first hour I am impressed. I purchased the RosettaStone for Thai and was very dissapointed. I have been going to Thailand for over 25 years and lived there for 4 years from 1971 to 1975. I understand enough Thai to know when something is junk or good. This is the best Thai learning program and book I have seen. Hopefully I will put in the time and finally learn proper Thai. Thank You David Smyth.
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An excellent introduction to the Thai language, well organized and packed with useful vocab. But, fair warning (particularly to Americans): it has a rather clunky and misleading romanization system. For instance, "u" is used for the short-a sound ("krup" for "khrap"). It also makes inappropriate use of the letter "r": e.g. the single-syllable word "koei" is written "ker-ee", and "or" and "air" represent sounds better written as "aw" and "ae". Thailand, expect to have thousands of American learners butchering your language with arrrrrrrs! Non-rhotic Brits will fare better with the spelling system.

Major positive point: all vocab, dialogues and sentences are accompanied by Thai script. To the learner: work hard to learn to read Thai script if you want to pronounce the language correctly. Listen to the CDs, which you must have.

My other peeve is that I wish it had more and longer dialogues.

Overall, a solid course, but one star is deducted for the confusing romanization system.
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It is worth the price, but be for warned. It is difficult to get into. I plug away at it, but it is too sterile, like reading a phone book. I wish there was a course that combined story with learning...
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Those of us seeking to learn Thai on our own inevitably find ourselves relying mainly on two authors: Benjawan Poomsan Becker and David Smyth. Although I personally have found Becker's books more valuable, both authors are indispensable, and I've appreciated Smyth's Complete Thai enough to purchase the book three times. And therein lies the rub... The binding on Complete Thai is flawed. Pages begin falling out almost immediately and by the time you finish a third of the book you'll feel the need for a fresh copy. I finished the book; hence my three purchases.
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This book and accompaniments offered me an excellent introduction to learning Thai. There are several things that I would change to make it a little easier for beginners but it was helpful in helping me learn overall. I would recommend this to any beginner that is looking for a launching point into their studies.
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Very limited on subject matter of mainly travel and food, a lot of the example conversations are more complex than you are lead to believe by the explanation given. Gives a reasonable explanation of sounds and how best to form some of them which was helpful. If you already have some Thai then it is too basic for most of the exercises, and if you have no thai then its only real value is in how to form the sounds etc, the rest would be too complex for most beginners. Having a partner that is Thai and using a mix of Thai and english at home I hoped this would take my Thai to the next level to allow me to be moderately fluent, sadly it is too focused on food and travel, so not much use for general conversation with Thai family and friends. A more accurate title would be " Intermediate Travelers Thai, Getting around, Food and Shopping"
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