This updated version of Benjawan Poomsan Becker’s Thai-English dictionary (rewritten with the help of Thailand Fever author Chris Pirazzi) is an excellent update to the original version. Not necessarily a pocket dictionary – but certainly a bookbag dictionary – kun Becker’s new dictionary is an absolute MUST HAVE for the Thai language student.
Divided into three sections – English, Thai Script, and Thai Sound – you can very easily find the word you are looking for. There is also a comprehensive Introduction which gives a very nice overview of Thai consonants and vowels, basic pronunciation, and tone rules. The last section, looking up words by Thai Sound, is the major addition to the new dictionary. This section allows you to find the word you want by looking it up via its English romanization. Now, I must admit, I don’t use this new section very often as I am trying to concentrate on the Thai Script, but there are those moments when I just can’t find the word I want, and in those situations the Thai Sound section is excellent help.
Another great improvement to the dictionary is that the thai script is in a larger font than the first version. I’m not blind by any stretch, but the size of the thai script in the original version certainly caused me some crosseyed moments. More words were apparently added to the dictionary as well, which is always a good thing.
There is one thing I do not like about the dictionary, however, and so in the interest of full disclosure and fairness I feel the need to point it out. In the first edition there was a one-page consonant list with page numbers designating where each consonants listings started. This was the most important page in the whole dictionary for me, and I think it was a huge oversight in omitting it from the new edition. (I should note that I did send feedback to kun Becker and Chris to make the suggestion that they put it back in, and I did get a very quick and polite response.)
There is also mention of a desktop edition of the New Thai-English dictionary to be released sometime in late 2009, so hopefully they will include the consonant listing page then.
All in all I think this dictionary is fantastic, and I have it in my book-bag to go with me wherever I go. I also have several copies of the first edition, which you can see a picture of here: